How to Build a Frog Pond in the Backyard

Amphibian habitat is quickly disappearing as urban sprawl eats up more wetlands, and pollution is poisoning many of the habitats that remain.

Frogs are an important part of the ecosystem.Frogs are an important part of the ecosystem.
You can do your part to help frog and toad populations by building a frog pond in your backyard. Frogs help control insects, including mosquitoes, and many people enjoy the sound of frogs chirping at night.

Learn about the frogs that are native to your region. Before you build your frog pond, you should know what kinds of frogs and toads you are likely to attract. You will need to study what they eat and what sorts of plants grow in their natural habitat. Also, the leaves of certain trees are poisonous to some frogs and toads. If you have these trees growing in your yard, you'll want to position your frog pond far away from them. Contact a local naturalist or your county extension office for a list of resources or to gets answers to any questions you have.

If you are using any pesticides, herbicides or artificial fertilizers, stop all use at least one year before installing your frog pond. Amphibian skin is extremely porous and sensitive, and frogs and toads can easily die from contact with chemicals.

Choose a location for your frog pond. The ideal spot is in the dappled shade of trees and other vegetation. Sun will promote the growth of algae, which is an important food for tadpoles, but too much algae can choke a pond. You will also want to consider the topography of your yard. If there is a low spot that routinely collects water in the spring, this is the perfect location for a frog pond.

If you are using a store-bought pond liner, dig a hole slightly bigger and deeper than the liner. Otherwise, you'll want a hole at least 20 inches deep and 4 feet in diameter. A larger pond will attract more frogs. Vary the depth so that there are shallow parts and deep parts.

Remove any sharp objects from the hole, such as sticks, roots or stones, and line the hole with a thin layer of sand to further protect your pond liner or plastic.

Insert your pond liner or lay down thick black plastic over the hole. Cut the plastic to about 6 inches past the edge of the pond, and weigh it down with stones.

Line the pond with soil, fill with water and plant some native wetland or swamp plants in the shallowest part of the pond. You can also plant things like water lilies in the deeper parts, but be sure to leave at least half the pond as open water.

Create frog-friendly habitat. Frogs will need places to hide from predators, and this can be accomplished by arranging stones, fallen logs or a brush pile near your frog pond. You'll also want plenty of native vegetation such as wildflowers and grasses near your frog pond. Vegetation provides habitat for frogs and also attracts insects for frogs to eat. Frogs also need brush and mud to hibernate in during the winter.

Wait for frogs to move in. Do not capture frogs from the wild to transport into your garden. Doing so could kill or harm the frogs and may also be against the law.

Things You Will Need

  • Shovel
  • Pond liner or thick black plastic
  • Sand
  • Stones
  • Native aquatic plants
  • Fallen logs, branches or brush

Tip

  • Ponds are very attractive to other forms of wildlife too, and your frog pond will likely attract song birds and dragonflies. Don't be alarmed if you see hawks, skunks, raccoons or snakes hunting your frogs or tadpoles. This is part of the natural order of things. A single female frog can lay 750 or more eggs in a year, so once your frog pond has attracted a few frogs, the population should balance itself. Do not intervene unless predation gets out of control.

About the Author

Heidi Almond worked in the natural foods industry for more than seven years before becoming a full-time freelancer in 2010. She has been published in "Mother Earth News," "Legacy" magazine and in several local publications in Duluth, Minn. In 2002 Almond graduated cum laude from an environmental liberal arts college with a concentration in writing.