Create a Frog-Friendly Backyard Pond

Frogs can be incredible allies for your backyard or garden, and by adding a pond to attract them, you can provide an excellent and natural way to eliminate crop-eating bugs and rodents. My parents installed a pond in their yard a few years ago and it naturally attracted frogs! Besides being very useful from a pest control standpoint, frogs can add a lot to your backyard experience with their distinctive calls and lively personalities.

Generally, a frog-friendly backyard pond requires clean water, plants, shade, hiding spaces, few predators, and the presence of bugs for frogs to eat. If the pond is large enough, frogs may also spawn there during mating season, providing a lively environment for them to thrive.

Building the optimal pond for frogs is not as simple as just providing fresh water. Keep reading to learn more about the requirements for a frog-friendly habitat, and what you can do to create a backyard pond that can be a paradise for frogs.

Creating a Frog-Friendly Pond

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Watch the video above to learn what the ideal frog habitat looks like. We do not recommend keeping frogs as indoor pets on this site and really believe that creating an outdoor environment is a great way to allow frogs to thrive in their natural habitat and to enjoy their presence.

Let’s start by finding the ideal location for a frog pond in your backyard.

Choosing an Ideal Location For Your Frog Pond

Frogs are particular creatures, so you should choose the spot in your yard that best reflects your local frog’s natural habitats. Frogs often need a combination of environmental requirements to be happy. We are going to focus on aquatic frogs since these are the types of frogs that you can attract with a backyard pond.

Choose a Location on Flat Clear Ground

Frogs will prefer a pond that is on a fairly level and cleared surface. Building a pond on flat ground will allow frogs to enter the water with ease and also prevent runoff or other debris from entering the pond.

Photo of my parent’s pond that naturally attracted frogs

Additionally, choosing an area that is relatively free of debris will make it easier to dig your pond. Clear the area of rocks, roots, weeds or tall grass to make it easier to build the pond. Although an area doesn’t have to be perfectly flat or clear to create a frog pond, investing a little time in choosing the spot will result in a higher-quality frog habitat and more chances of frogs naturally migrating to your pond.

Chose a Place With Very Few Predators

The worst place you could install a frog pond is near garbage cans, close to your pet’s food bowls, next to the neighbor’s garbage bags, close to a fox hole, skunk, or raccoon habitat. Please do not do that. Consider that frogs have many predators and in order to keep them safe, you should install the pond in a location that will not attract animals that eat frogs.

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Watch the video above to learn about frog predators and consider how you can reduce the risk of your frogs being eaten by not attracting other animals. Here are a few quick tips:

  • Do not install the pond near garbage cans
  • Keep garbage cans and bags in an area where predators cannot get to them
  • Ensure your cat or dog does cannot come in contact with the pond (or fall into it)

Chose a Place For Your Frog Pond That Has Shade

Although your pond should be exposed to both sun and shade, the pond should be shady for the majority of the day. Frogs will not survive in a pond that is overheated by the sun since the water would get too hot for their bodies to stand. A great location to place a frog pond in your yard is generally facing North or East.

In addition to providing shade, trees are often correlated with sheltering insects, an important part of frogs’ diets. If there are trees nearby, it is more likely that there will be steady meals for your backyard frogs.

Frogs lay their eggs in the shade as tadpoles will not thrive in direct sunlight. If you are hoping to have a tadpole-friendly pond, you will need to make sure that there are ample shady sections. You can use plants to do so as well, which we will discuss later on in the article.

Consider The Noise Frogs May Make

Before choosing the ideal location to install your frog pond, consider that frogs can be noisy creatures that are generally active at night. You should think about their potential to create disturbances for yourself, and for neighbours. My parents have a small pond so it only attracted three frogs and they are not very loud. But if you install a large pond, you may end up with evening symphonies!

Frogs in my parent’s pond

When choosing the location of your pond, consider how close your bedroom window will be to it, and how your sleep could be affected by the sounds of frogs make at nighttime, especially if you plan on installing a large pond. Additionally, if you have neighbours nearby, try to situate the frog pond in a portion of your yard that is far enough from their house to keep it from becoming a nuisance.

Construct Your Frog Pond with Care

Photo of my parent’s pond that naturally attracted local frogs

Installing a frog pond is fairly easy. The heavy lifting consists in digging a hole. You can use pre-made pond kits or dig a hole and add a liner, rocks, and mulch to create your backyard pond. Building a frog-friendly habitat requires considering the following factors:

  • Plastic Liners: if you choose to use a plastic liner, make sure you rinse it thoroughly before placing it in your pond to avoid the risk of contamination.
  • Slope the Edges: gently sloping sides will allow frogs to enter and exit your pond with more ease.
  • Designate a Shallow Area: frogs prefer to lay their eggs in shallow areas with heavier vegetation.
  • Water Should Have Little Movement: waterfalls are beautiful, but frogs prefer calm water. Avoid installing an aeration system in your pond as this can deter frogs and kill tadpoles. Simply add a small solar fountain to create light movement.

The video above contains a good tutorial on how to build a frog-friendly pond. You can skip the parts about transferring tadpoles (relocating tadpoles or frogs is not recommend and may be illegal in some places). If you live in an area that naturally has frogs, you may not have to add frogs or tadpoles yourself as the frogs can naturally come to your pond.

A small frog pond that is about 1 m² or about 10 ft² can attract two or three frogs. The larger the pond the more frogs it could attract. The pond should be at least 2 m or 6.5 ft deep to be able to accommodate frogs all year round, especially in places where they hibernate.

Frogs Need Clean Water With Some Movement

Generally aquatic frogs need unpolluted freshwater with some movement in order to thrive in a man-made pond. Initially fill the pond with filtered water, or water from a hose that has naturally dechlorinated by evaporation for at least 48h. Add a small fountain to create some movement.

Initially filling the pond with filtered water may seem like a daunting task, but tap water may contain residues that can keep the frogs away. Frogs breathe through their skin in water so their bodies can stay hydrated and oxygenated. Frogs are very sensitive to pollution and chemicals.

My parents used a small floating solar fountain to create some movement

You could also fill the pond with tap water from a hose, but wait a at least 48h for the chlorine to evaporate before adding frogs. Rainwater will continue to top off the pond so you should not have to refill it too often.

Also, be sure to add some movement but not too much. An aggressive waterfall would create too much movement that would keep the frogs away. Just use a simple, small solar fountain like the ones my parents used in the photo above. I really like the fountain they chose because it floats around, is solar, and provides a resting place for the frogs.

Keep in mind that it’s natural for algae to eventually form in the pond like you may notice in theirs. The water is not dirty – it is its own ecosystem. Maintain the environment but also let it thrive on its own.

Add Local Plants to Your Frog Pond

Now that your pond is built, you can make it even more frog-friendly through the addition of some local plants. Frogs thrive in environmentally diverse habitats, so it is a good idea to provide them with plants both inside and outside of the water.

Vegetation Inside the Frog Pond

Frogs enjoy plants that provide coverage and shade. Aquatic frogs sit in water most of the day hiding from predators under thick vegetation.

You can add some of the following plants to your frog pond:

  • Water lilies
  • Pond Weed
  • Water celery
  • Duckweed
  • Cattails
  • Local native reeds

These plants will most often thrive in the shallower areas of the pond, but plants can be added at all depth levels if they are native to your area.

Algae, boiled spinach, or lettuce can also be great additions as these provide food for tadpoles. Resist the urge to eliminate algae blooms and let them grow. Although the water might seem gross at first, the levels will normalize, create it’s own ecosystem, and make your habitat tadpole and frog-friendly.

Vegetation Outside of the Frog Pond

Place plants outside of your pond to provide shade and variety for frogs. You can use whichever native local plants you would like, but consider planting a variety of different species and also taking into consideration what will grow best near the water.

Above shot of my parent’s pond and the vegetation around it

You may also want to add rocks and logs around the pond to provide further diversity and give frogs places to hide from predators. Create small caves with sticks, rocks, and mud. These can be great places for frogs to take shelter and find food.

Avoid Adding Fish to The Frog Pond

It is not a good idea to add fish to your frog pond as they can prey on tadpole eggs and frogs themselves. The coexistence between fish and frogs in the wild is a delicate balance and can be hard to replicate in your backyard pond.

“Having both frogs and fish successfully in the same pond is probably unlikely. I would suggest picking one or the other.”

Jason O’Brien, Oregon State University

In the future when your frog population has stabilized you may wish to try adding some fish that do not eat frogs like Koi if the pond is large enough. However, in the beginning, you should keep the wildlife in your pond to just frogs.

Think Beyond Creating The Frog Pond

Building your pond is the first step, but it is equally important to have a plan for how you will go about maintaining your pond to keep it an ideal habitat for frogs:

  • Avoid Adding Chemicals: Adding chemicals or other purifying agents can harm your frogs and the ecosystem. If you use chlorinated water from a tap, let it stand a few days before adding it to the pond. Do not chemically treat your yard to avoid pond contamination from runoff.
  • Let Nature Top Off The Pond: Ideally, rainwater will top off your pond, but you may occasionally need to add a little filtered water.
  • Expect Mosquitoes at First: Because of the stagnant water, you may see an increase in mosquitoes in your yard. Avoid using pesticides or any other repellents near the pond, as eventually, the frog population will grow and naturally reduce the number of mosquitos.

Keeping these steps in mind will help your frog oasis stay hospitable and safe for future years and generations of frogs to come.

Add Local Frogs & Plants Only

If you are in an area with frogs, they may naturally come to the pond so there may be no need to buy frogs. It took about a year for frogs to naturally come to the pond my parents built. There are a few forests and marshes near by and three frogs migrated to their small pond to call it home. I think they would have had more frogs if the pond was larger.

It is important to note that if you do purchase plants and/or frogs for your pond, you should only purchase local native plants. Importing and placing non-native specie in your yard can have drastic environmental consequences and may be illegal.

The frogs naturally came to my parents pond and so they are local species.

If you import frogs or plants from habitats outside of your area and release them, they could become an invasive species with a detrimental impact on the world around you.

“Invasive species have become one of the greatest environmental challenges of the twenty-first century in economic, environmental, and human health costs.”

Fort Collins Science Center

Encountering wildlife is one of the joys of having a backyard. Frogs are especially great neighbors because of their contributions as pest killers and their nightly songs. Choose the location of your pond with both the frogs and humans in mind. This will allow everyone to coexist. Having a well-constructed frog pond is a scenic way to attract these intriguing critters to your outdoor space.

Frog Pond Costs

The return on investment in the form of friendly visits from frogs is worth the cost of installing a frog pond in my opinion. The most important thing to keep in mind is that costs will vary depending on the size of the pond you install. The easiest way to avoid surprises is to set a fixed budget before getting started as well as how much work you want to put in yourself.

Here are some costs associated with installing a frog pond if you landscape it yourself:

Frog PondSmallLarge
Kit$100-$300$1,000-$3,000+
Plants$50-$200$500-$2,000
Accessories$50-$100$100-$500
Cost$200-$600$1,600-$5,500

The above table considers if you buy a pre-made pond kit, but you could also create the pond yourself and avoid some of those costs by using an adapted pond liner.

My parents chose a pond kit, installed it themselves, and purchased local plants and accessories (ex. the floating fountain, rocks, mulch…). This do-it-yourself approach considerably reduced their costs to only about $300 in total. However, someone who wants to hire a landscaping company and have a large pond kit installed would certainly have to budget for much higher costs in the $3,000-$10,000+ range (CTNF).

More About Attracting Wild Frogs

Be sure to check out our guides on how to attract frogs to specific locations:

Frog Pond Related Questions

How Deep Should a Frog Pond Be? A frog pond should be at least 2 m or 6.5 ft deep and have a slope t ground-level so frogs can easily exit the pond. A small frog pond that is about 1 m² or about 10 ft² can attract two or three frogs. The larger the pond the more frogs it could attract.

Does a Frog Pond Need a Pump? A frog pond does not require a pump if it is smaller than 2 m² or about 20 ft² and has abundant vegetation. Frogs do not like intense movement in water and will avoid ponds with waterfalls or currents. Large ponds may require a pump but create a protected area if you would like to attract frogs.

What do Frogs Need in a Pond? Frogs require fresh water, food and shelter in a pond. Use de-chlorinated water when creating the pond or fill it with a hose and wait 48h for the chlorine to evaporate before attracting frogs. Add abundant vegetation to create shelter frogs and naturally attract bugs that they can eat.