Marianne CannonAll about frog ponds

Today I’m talking with ecologist Katie Oxenham about frogs, how to make a frog pond and why we need frogs and ponds in our gardens. Frogs control lots of insects pests like mosquitos but also a range of other insects including cockroaches. People often worry that stagnant water in a pond will encourage too many mosquitos but if you keep the water occasionally circulating with a small pump, you shouldn’t have more mozzies than the frogs can handle.

Striped brown marsh frog or Peron's marsh frog, Limnodynastes peronii Photo Jean-Marc Hero

Striped brown marsh frog or Peron’s marsh frog, Limnodynastes peronii Photo Jean-Marc Hero

You’ll need a pond for at least part of the frogs’ life cycle. You could dig a pond into the ground but even a pre-made above ground pond or water-filled pot on a deck or paving will attract them to your garden.

Arcadia garden NSWThe best place to put the pond is out in a sunny spot, and not under trees that can drop leaves into it, particularly ones with toxic leaves like oleander or camphor laurel. Frogs can be noisy at night, so you might also want to keep it away from bedroom windows – especially your neighbours!

A larger pond is better but you have to watch its depth as deeper than 30cm (1ft) might mean you’ll need to fence it off. Create a deeper and shallow end so that the smaller frogs can get out easily but you can also put large rocks or a timber bridge in for those frogs that aren’t such good climbers, like most of the ground-dwelling frogs, such as the striped brown marsh frog.

Pond at Ellerslie Flower Show

Pond at Ellerslie Flower Show

A small pond will only attract the smaller frogs but in a larger pond, say over 1m (3ft) diameter, you may well end up with a wider range of frogs in your pond such tree frogs, as many frogs will quite happily cohabit with other species.

Include plants in your pond to give them shelter from predatory birds like kookaburras. They often like to sit up out of the water on water reeds to catch a little sun. But make sure that the plants don’t spread too far and cover too much surface area, especially plants like water lilies.

Frog pond Design Phillip Johnson

Frog pond Design Phillip Johnson



Frogs should find your pond without you having to do anything and DON’T ever take frog spawn from another place as you could be spreading harmful fungal diseases.

You can find more information at the Frog and Tadpole Study Group and Frogs of Australia for loads of information about Australian frog species and calls.


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Marianne Cannon

About Marianne Cannon

Marianne Cannon has been broadcasting as Real World Gardener on radio 2RRR 88.5fm in Sydney, since September 2009, and the program is now syndicated to radio stations around Australia. It's about growing your own, the abc of plants, and how to create sustainable gardens to fit into today's environment. Not just a show about plants; it has a strong green and ecological bent, with co-presenters addressing issues such as native animals and plants, water conservation, composting, reducing waste, protecting native species and more.

8 thoughts on “All about frog ponds

  1. Tired of patching a plastic lining on an existing pond, we removed the plastic and lined it with clay. It still leaked so we poured in kaolin to seal it. Not only did it still leak just as badly, we have not raised a single tadpole since, where we used to have zillions. It is also dangerously slippery to people and pets. Not to be recommended.

  2. Hello,
    I am wondering if there is anyway to keep the Toads out of a frog pond? I am in the planning stages of my frog pond and found this article very useful however I am concerned about the toads getting in and destroying the pond.
    Kind regards

    • Hello Kerry,
      yes there are a few ways to keep toads out.
      1-erect a mesh fence, 50cm high and 20cm below ground around your pond. Disguise it with shrubs.
      2-plant impenetrable strappy leaved plants like Lomandra.
      3-go out each night and collect the toads and toad eggs.
      Toad eggs are very different to frogs eggs. Frogs eggs look like foam. Toads’ eggs look like a string of black pearls surround by jelly. Pick them up with a stick and leave to dry in the sun.
      If you see tadpoles. the ones that belong to cane toads, are very dark, have short tails compared to their bodies and cluster together. Net them and place them in the freezer.
      Dispose of your big toads humanely, by putting them in a plastic bag with air holes and then placing them in the freezer.
      First make sure it’s a toad and not just an ugly frog!

      all the best with your frog pond.

  3. Yes, Qld cane toads are a pest that take over the frog life in ponds here …. they are a plague and climb into every container with water I have about the place with cuttings being kept for later planting. We have a water fountain with a pump and they seem to stay away from that, but probably because it’s quite high off the ground.

    • Hello Jill,

      too much flowing water can put off some frogs using your pond, but some species will tolerate a gently flowing waterfall or stream operated by a circulating pump. A low voltage system would be best.


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