PICTURES: The Making of a Frog Pond

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — I like frogs. I like water. I like them so much that I created a frog pond in my back yard.

I have the grubby nails, bruises and scrapes to prove it. It was hard — but fun. And I’m having a great time adding the finishing touches. I’ve added a number of plants, and if I don’t kill them, they will inevitably keep me busy throughout the summer.

Related: Frog Pond Nears Completion in Time for Save the Frogs Day

Now that I’m skilled in frog-pond construction, I thought I’d share the Top 5 things I learned.

5.) Level ground is essential. You’ll want ensure your shoreline is level, otherwise when you fill your pond with water, one end will be full while the other will be shallow, leaving your liner to show — and you don’t want much of your liner to show.

4.) Sand is essential. Padding the ground with sand before you put your liner in is a great way to protect the bottom from sharp rocks and prickly tree roots. ***You can literally buy a ton of sand for $20 to $30 bucks at rock quarries. Just call ahead and make sure you take a vehicle that can withstand that weight. I literally drove home with flashers on at 25 MPH because I had minimal tire clearance after I shoveled a ton of sand into various household containers. (Laugh, it’s okay.)

3.) Don’t fill your pond with water until you’re absolutely sure you are pleased with its shape and depth. I spent an afternoon bucketing water out in order to reshape one end of my pond. It was disheartening and frustrating, but necessary. For frogs, you really don’t need a deep pond. Larry Rizzo with the Missouri Department of Conservation said frogs actually prefer shallow water, so if 12 inches is all you can do — no worries! Your frogs won’t mind one bit.

2.) It doesn’t take long for “wildlife” to find your pond. I’ve seen a number of butterflies, birds and weird insects in and around my pond already. I can only imagine what will come once my plants have established themselves. I’m told frogs will come too — more specifically, the American Toad since they are common in our region of Missouri. You’re also likely to see raccoons, possums and other critters trekking through, hunting, drinking and enjoying themselves on the banks of your pond.

1.) Fear not the mosquito. Dragonflies are attracted to bodies of water and like to munch on mosquitoes. If you have a stagnant body of water, a small solar-powered water fountain, paired with dragonflies will help in keeping the mosquitoes at bay. Larry Rizzo with the Missouri Department of Conservation says mosquitoes are more likely to lay their eggs in small pools of water like tree stumps, gutters, flowering pots, pet bowls, etc. Mosquitoes like tiny bodies of water for the same reason frogs like ponds without fish: they won’t get eaten.

Do you have a water garden or backyard pond that’s with or without frogs? Submit your picture to my online photo gallery and share your oasis with the rest of Kansas City.

Also, Kansas City will have its annual water garden tour July 7 and 8. For more information, visit kcwatergardens.com.

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