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How to build a frog hotel & lily pond

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How to build a frog hotel & lily pond

I am currently creating a sanctuary garden in my backyard under a massive magnolia tree. When I first bought my home the yard was pretty bland, and under the tree was a big dirt patch where only weeds grow. I have always wanted a Frog Hotel & Mini Lilly Pond and I thought this would be the perfect place for it since I hear frogs around the property quite regularly. The Frog Hotel & Mini Lilly Pond is only a small part of what i'm doing but was a project in itself, it was a about half a days worth of work. 

Check out the steps below to see how I created it and watch this space for future updates. 


Hessian Garden Bag 110L (Bunnings)

Ezy Storage 9L Round Plastic Basin (Bunnings)

Ezy Storage 16L Round Plastic Basin (Bunnings)

Rocket Medium Sanding Sponge (Bunnings)

Tarzans Grip (Bunnings)

Black Square Hanging Basket Hook (Bunnings)

Tuscan Path 5kg Natural Mixed Pebbles (Bunnings)

Frog Plant (Bunnings)

Assorted plants including 3 x Tiny Tots (Bunnings)

Native Violet (Local Landcare Nursery) 

Bromeliad (The Dirty Gardener) 

Water Lilly (Wallis Creek Watergarden)

River rock (Blue Gum Landscaping Center) 

PVC Pipe of various widths (My Garage)



RYOBI 18V ONE+ Reciprocating Saw

RYOBI 18V ONE+ Drill Driver

RYOBI Tape Measure





Step 1

Find the spot in your garden you wish to add this feature, a few things to take into consideration are: 

Is it protected? 

Does it get enough sun for your Water Lilly? 


The purpose of building a frog hotel is to give tree frogs somewhere to remain safe from predators. So a good place is under a tree with filtered light, think about how the frogs will get to the hotel or pond safely. I placed mine under some low hanging branches and as you will see towards the end I added a laneway to the hotel as well. 


Step 2

Take both round basins and decide on the layout. I placed the small one at the back and the large one at the front. 

Turn them upside down and make a indent in the dirt to give you a guide where to dig. Dig both holes to preference. I placed the large one completely level to the ground and the small one at the back was only half way into the ground. 


You don't have to use plastic basins, you can use more decorative pots but I was trying to cut costs and I wanted to use other items to make it look more natural as you will see. 


Step 3

Start to place some of you river rock around the basins to hold them in place and make sure you are happy with positioning. Be mindful to make sure both basins are completely level to avoid water spilling out one side. 


Step 4

Optional: Laneway


Measure and cut one long piece of PVC pipe that can hang from close to the tree branches down to just above the plants surrounding the frog hotel.  This piece will require a hole drilled into it for the hanging basket hook.

Step 5

Take the remaining your PVC Pipes and Measure then to the length you like, I had mine all at different lengths and was somewhat restricted because I was using PVC pipes I found in the garage. Once measured cut with the Reciprocating Saw and sand down the edges. 


Optional: I was told to Drill a hole 15-20cm from one end of each pipe to stop it holding too much water. But I found this wasn't very necessary as I didn't seal the bottom of the pipes. 


Step 6

Take your hessian garden bag and cut the stitching so you have one big piece. Then measure against your PVC pipes. You will find that where the bag was stitched together there is a hem I wrapped this around the visible end of the pipe. 

Glue the hessian to the pipe, you can use a hot glue gun but I thought I'd try my luck with some Tarzans Grip and so far so good.


Step 7

Place the pipes in the back (smaller) basin and start to add river rocks & natural mixed pebbles to hold them in place being mindful not to over fill it. 


You can secure the pipes with silicon or a hot glue gun but I decided not to. 


Step 8

Start to add plants I had a few water plants and a few plants to add amongst the rocks I took my time deciding where to put everything but your bottom basin should be perfect for a mini Water Lilly. (Be mindful when shopping not to buy one too big for this space.)


Tip: Try to add rain water to the basins if possible as frogs don't like tap water. 


Step 9

If you decided to follow step 4 and add a lane way hang it in your desired location. As you can see it was perfect to hang from my colourbond fence. 

I added a plant to this as well but I am not sure if it will last, I'll be keeping an eye on it to see if i need to make changes. 


Step 10

Final step, add any final river rocks & natural mixed pebbles. Add any decorative items, I added some branches I found and a cute stone frog in hope it will confuse the frogs predators. 




Retired Team Member
Retired Team Member

Re: How to Build Frog Hotel & Mini Lilly Pond

Congratulations on a terrific project, @Herrenovacation! Your frog hotel and lily pond looks amazing. Love your creativity.


You mentioned this is part of a bigger project - what else are you planning on doing in this area?


Thanks for sharing and congratulations once again. 




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Re: How to Build Frog Hotel & Mini Lilly Pond

Thank you @Akanksha 


Some of my future projects in that space include:

  • Progressively planting tropical type plants
  • Making stepping stones that will meander through the garden. 
  • Building a daybed swing out of recycled timber to hang from the tree. 
  • Adding a river rock water feature, and maybe another small lilly pond. 
  • Making kokedama's and buying windchimes to hang from the tree branches.
  • I'm also looking in to irrigation & solar lighting along the tree branches. 

That's all that is on my list for shorter term goals, I have a few big dreams like a pool and deck leading off the space but they are well in the future. 

Having an Impact

Re: How to build a frog hotel & lilly pond

Thank you again for your advice the other week. @EricL@Dave-1 & @Remarka6le 

I have finally finished my frog hotel, would love to know what you think. 

Kind of a Big Deal

Re: How to build a frog hotel & lilly pond

@Herrenovacation Absolutely love this !! Can’t wait to see your frogs moving in 💚🐸

Having an Impact

Re: How to build a frog hotel & lily pond

Just over a month and I haven't seen any frogs, but I think I have frog eggs so they must be around. What do you think? 



Re: How to build a frog hotel & lily pond

Hi @Herrenovacation 


It definitely looks like frog eggs; You should be getting tadpoles very soon.  




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Having an Impact

Re: How to build a frog hotel & lily pond

Slowly watching these little tadpoles grow. So so many tadpoles. 


These photos were taken a few weeks apart. 


Building this frog hotel & pond has been a wonderful project, continuing to bring joy daily. 

Re: How to build a frog hotel & lily pond

That's lovely to see @Herrenovacation. Every one of those tadpoles that survives makes such a wonderful difference to the ecosystem.




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Finding My Feet

Re: How to build a frog hotel & lily pond

Any frog update @Herrenovacation 🐸 

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