When you're trying to fit in a small area of water and cram it in wherever you can find space - knowing that later you'll probably change your mind - thick polythene suffices. Particularly when you come across it at work about to be thrown in the bin. The pond created in August 2001 was soon occupied by frogs, who didn't seem to mind that this pond was so tiny.

I read up on what I should do, and then wondered how I could combine a 2ft depth with gently sloping sides in such a small area. I settled for "as deep as I can be bothered to dig" by "as wide as I can be bothered to dig", and this left me with a very small pond, though I did manage to incorporate a ledge as a shallower area.

The depth recommended is, I believe, to ensure the lower parts don't freeze, to protect any wildlife in there. Having seen incredibly cold temperatures in Yorkshire on at least one night this winter, I was relieved to see that only the surface froze.

It's also recommended not to site ponds near trees. If you have a small garden, with trees in it, you don't have a lot of choice.

When I made the tiny pond, I thought that maybe the frogs from next door's garden would appreciate it, if they happened to wander through under the fence. My pond then became more inviting after the next-door neighbours had to remove their pond, as they have small children. My tiny pond was enough, it seemed, for the frogs that needed a new home. By the following summer, I realised I had more than one frog in the garden, so made a new pond, slightly larger - and lined it properly this time.

Yet my first effort, as tiny as it was, had provided what the frogs needed, it seemed. There was enough water for them to jump into when they needed to, ledges at the sides for them to climb out again, and thick planting and bits of rock around the perimeter to offer hiding places. When I made the new pond, I realised that the size of my garden meant the new one couldn't be much bigger than the previous one, but I made sure that it incorporated shallow areas and plenty of vegetation.

More information on the wildlife pond, frogs and froglets, and frogspawn and tadpoles

Mini-pond, 2001

Above: Even mini-ponds can be useful to frogs.
Top left: Frog in the mini-pond.