If there is one thing that can transform your garden from just being a mundane, run-of-the-mill garden, into a slice of nature’s paradise, it’s a well-designed pond.
More importantly, you can take part in preserving a variety of frog species which are under constant assault from pollution, loss of natural habitat due to encroaching expansion of suburbia, incompatible invasive species, and even parasitic fungus like the amphibian chytrid.
In this short guide you will find out all the tips you will need to create a beautiful garden pond, which will also serve as a frog refuge.
Choose the Location
Even when considering the placement of a small pond, not all locations are equally valid. If possible, follow these criteria for the placement of a mini pond for your future frog friends:
Not too close to large trees, so the falling leaves don’t completely cover the pond in the Fall.
Use your terrain configuration to your advantage. For example, if it is sloped, place the pond into a depression. This will also facilitate pond’s natural water collection.
Consider the shade requirements for frogs. Leafy bushes, logs, larger stones, and various garden debris can serve as an excellent shelter from the scorching sun while at the same time adding that touch of elegance to your garden. A rhubarb patch would fit in perfectly around the edges and perform the necessary shade function.
If you happen to be engaging in outdoor composting, make sure it is as far from the pond as possible. Compost heaps tend to produce ammonia that can be deadly to amphibian species like frogs.
Once you have selected your perfect pond location, it’s time to line up the dimensions and shape of it, and then dig right in:
The dimensions will largely depend on the size of the pond liner you choose to buy, so do that first. It’s better to buy a slightly larger liner than you think you will need, so it can account for the depth, and you can always cover excess liner that spills out with dirt and stones, which is what is needed anyway for it to remain fixed and stable.
All of the pond liners you will find online are well suited for the purpose, but make sure it is made out of highly resistant polyvinyl chloride (PVC), both to puncturing and direct sunlight.
The pond depth should be at a minimum 20 inches or more if you intend to include fish.
Besides commercial pond liners, you can use alternatives like waterproof plastic containers, sinks, old bathtubs, or anything else that would serve as a container that prevents seepage of water into the ground. Still, a dedicated pond liner is still your best option, due to its flexibility and longevity.
Level it out! Don’t just dig up one big hole but make a mini depression around the edges for the placement of rocks that are half submerged so they can serve as an exit ramp for the tadpoles. Having three levels of depth for your pond will also provide a necessary temperature variation for the body of water.
Use a leveler tool to make sure that the one side of the pond is not lower than the other, in order to prevent water from spilling out.
When your digging is complete – properly leveled and multi-leveled – spread the liner and stretch it out so it has as few wrinkles as possible.
Water and Aquatic Plants
Tap water is not the same as your natural rainwater, as it has undergone a series of treatments for human consumption. Most water treatment plants also add chemical additive as well.
Therefore, when you fill the pond with your tap water via the garden hose, let it rest for at least 5 days before adding any fish or tadpoles. That will be ample time for chlorine to evaporate, and it might even rain so the tap water becomes further diluted.
In the meantime, decorate the edges of your new pond with differently shaped and sized rocks, plant the surrounding area with leafy plants and bushes for shade, place hollowed out logs, and anything else you think it might look good in your garden. Don’t be shy to look online for inspirations, as people nowadays tend to share everything.
As for the aquatic plants, they serve several important roles:
- They provide cover from direct sunlight.
- Some attract moths which then attract bats.
- They keep algae proliferation under tight control.
In short, you have a high variety of aquatic plants to choose from, it all depends on your aesthetic preference, budget, and if you want to place them as self-sustaining floaters, or plant them in aquatic baskets.
After those 5 days have gone by, with all the hard work behind you, it is finally time to place tadpoles into their new home.
As you know, frogs are amphibians and unlike mammals, they undergo a larval stage of their life known as – tadpoles.
Choose the type of frog you like the most and think it would fit best in your pond garden, and then visit the nearest pet shop.
Tadpoles will congregate in groups and feed on dead insects, bloodworms, and even thinly chopped and boiled lettuce. However, if you want to make sure they thrive in a consistent manner, opt to buy them a specialized food.
For their full transformation into frogs, you will have to wait for approximately 6-12 weeks, depending on the species, and the development stage of the tadpole at the time you bought them. Barring those two factors, the temperature will also affect their growth time as well – if there are frequent bouts of cold weather it might take longer, but after 12 weeks you should definitely see their emerging frog shapes with stubby tails, as the last remnants of their larval tadpole stage.
And lastly, as we have mentioned previously, make sure they have the means of exiting the pond. After all, frogs are amphibians, not fish. Half-submerged stones, multi-leveled pond, and flat aquatic plants will do the job.