How To Make A Mini Frog Pond

Mini pond

I got a text from my mum yesterday informing me that her pond was full of wrestling frogs. I think I can safely assume that “wrestling” was my mum’s euphemism for “having sex”. It’s that time of year when all sorts of creatures are busy making babies. The blue tits in my garden are frantically nesting, male blackbirds are squabbling noisily over territory, and I assume rabbits in the fields are enthusiastically doing what rabbits do. Garden ponds will soon be chock full of frogspawn, floating balls of jelly with little, black dots at the centre that will turn into tiny tadpoles and then froglets.

Mum’s wrestling frogs got me thinking. I don’t have a proper wildlife pond, just a tub pond that is home to some nice pond plants (marsh marigold, flag irises, equisetum), and a couple of goldfish. But we do have lots of frogs in the garden. I often come across them when I’m working on the borders. It’s fun to watch them hop about, and they are great predators of garden pests such as slugs and snails. There must be a pond in a nearby garden that they use, but I’d like to encourage them to stay in my garden and produce baby frogs.

In fact, after reading mum’s text, I immediately decided to build a mini frog pond. Within minutes, I had hightailed it outside, after grabbing an old washing up bowl from under the sink, to make a mini pond. The kids helped and it took us about 30 minutes. In fact, it was ridiculously easy to do. If you’d like to make one too, here’s what you’ll need:

  • An old washing up bowl (well rinsed out)
  • Gravel
  • A large rock or roof tile
  • Some logs, bark and sticks
  • Oxygenating pond weed

First dig out a space in one of your borders and sit the washing up bowl in it. The top edge of the bowl should be flush with the soil level. Next position some logs or bark pieces around the bowl to help it merge into the border. Pour some gravel into the base. It’s important to create an escape route for small mammals and amphibians that may use the pond, so that they do not drown. So place a large rock in one corner or lean a roof tile against the side to make a sloping exit. Finally, fill the washing up bowl with rain water and chuck in the pond weed. A pile of sticks and logs nearby will offer cover for wildlife. You can see in the photo below that we’ve also used a broken terracotta pot to provide shelter (a toad abode?) next to the pond. And I’m going to add few more plants to this part of the border, as I hate bare soil.

Now we’re just waiting for the frogs to find it. The kids are on daily frogspawn watch. I’ll let you know if we find any. Even if the frogs don’t use the mini pond for spawning, I’m sure the birds and a few minibeasts will use it. I’d love to hear if you’re doing anything to help wildlife in your garden this spring.

There are lots of other ways to help frogs and toads in your garden on the RSPB website. And of course it goes without saying that you’ll need to think carefully about safety if you have water and small children in your garden (obviously, use your own judgement here).

Mini frog pond

Tub pond & potting area

  6 comments for “How To Make A Mini Frog Pond

  1. Betty Shah
    March 25, 2016 at 10:03 pm

    You can translocation some spawn from someone else’s pond for this year. I believe frogs go back to the pond in which they were spawned each year to produce their own spawn.

    • March 26, 2016 at 9:57 am

      What a good idea! The kids would love to see the tadpoles develop.

  2. vicky
    March 31, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    There are loads of ‘wrestling’ frogs in Heigham park pond. I told the kids they were having ‘special cuddles’!

    • April 4, 2016 at 1:40 pm

      Haha! ‘Special cuddles’ 🙂

  3. Gary
    August 6, 2016 at 11:51 pm

    We have a smallish back garden (5 metres wide x 15 metres long) approx, covered in bark, our kids play equipment and a tonnes of rockery and conifers and other bushy plants at the top and tail ends of the garden. We found a few frogs when we first bought the place, in a small pond in one corner. By using medium sized planters (45cm diameter, around 30cm deep), I have managed to create another 8 or 9 ponds dotted around the rockery areas. We have several large frogs now, and see breeding each year in several of the smaller ponds. It’s addictive adding more tiny ponds into any “dead space” around the edges. Gives us more excuses for more rocks and bushes.

    All our rocks and logs are scavenged from local woods, much cheaper!! The kids love their frogs!!


    • August 19, 2016 at 10:48 am

      You’ve got me thinking about adding more tiny ponds in the borders now, Gary! I love that there’s usually a frog or two in our little pond whenever the kids and I go and take a peak. And with the pond weed in there, the water seems to be staying relatively clear. I’ll be interested to see what happens over winter though, and I might put a net over it in autumn, as it’s under a few trees.

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