Encouraging native plant and animal species into your garden is a great way to help keep habitats in place. You can do quite a lot by simply planting trees and shrubs that provide food or shelter for songbirds while also reducing the effects of climate change, but there are a lot of smaller, less picturesque species that could use a helping hand too.
Frogs and toads are highly vulnerable to environmental change, pollution, and predation by cats and dogs.
As suburbs expand, swamps and ponds are drained and streams are culverted or covered over. As many as one third of all frog species are on the endangered list and every pond lost is one less place they can live. You can help turn this around by creating a frog-friendly haven in your garden. Not only will this attract amphibians, it’ll also provide ornamental value. Small birds will love it too.
How to plan your frog pond
The first thing to consider when building a frog pond is where it’s going to go. This might seem like a very simple choice — a nice sheltered spot with a little shade but not too much (you could even incorporate it in a rain garden) — but when I built my first frog pond I made a major mistake and put it right under my bedroom window.
Not that the frogs were unhappy…far from it. They were so happy that their calls kept me awake at all hours and I had to invest in a set of industrial earplugs to block out the ribbiting. Site your pond well away from the house, somewhere that no one will be disturbed by a little croaking and calling in the night.
Most frogs needs to swim and almost all need a good water supply to reproduce but they also need to be able to get out of the water, or they will drown. Bathing and drinking birds can also be caught out by poorly designed ponds. The last thing you want to do is build a wildlife trap rather than a sanctuary so make sure at least part of the pond has a nice gradual slope for easy exit.
How to build your frog pond
You can buy ready-made ponds from garden centers or make your own. If you want to get your DIY hat on, dig a nice deep hole about a yard long and about 18 inches deep. At least one side should be gently shelving. Make the hole little bigger than you’d like the pond to be and then line it with heavy-duty plastic sheeting. Coating this with concrete will ensure a watertight, durable pond base.
Add a rocky border and plenty of plant life around the edge. Small amphibians need places to hide and a nice loose pile of football-sized rocks will make the perfect habitat, secure against predators but spacious enough for frogs to find a home. Choose plants with big leaves set close to the ground for optimum frog-friendliness. An old log will help, especially if it’s half in and half out of the water, and so will a couple of pots of aquatic plants in the deepest part. Waterlilies and water irises are attractive flowering plants that will help make frogs safe and welcome in your pond.
There is no need to introduce frogs into your pond from elsewhere (if a native animal is happy where it is, it’s always best to leave it alone). Fish can eat frog spawn, so they won’t help unless you want a fish pond rather than a frog pond. Don’t worry if nothing seems to happen after you first fill the pond. It’ll take a while for it to settle in and the more you leave it alone, the quicker local frogs will take to this new piece of amphibian real estate.
Author Info: Jess Spate now lives in South Wales, far from the very loud Banjo Frogs of her first pond in Australia, but still makes her garden as friendly to local plants and animals as possible. She works as a sustainable business consultant for companies like fountainspirit.com and appoutdoors.com. Distribution Info: The distribution of this content was provided by Christine Cooney, who publishes online house plans & online floor plans.
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