Attract Dragonflies and Damselflies to Your Own Backyard

Creating Backyard Ponds: How to Get Started

In the Backyard Pond Habitat Guide you will find:

  1. Information on the ecological importance of dragonflies and damselflies;
  2. Natural history of dragonflies and damselflies;
  3. Information on the benefits of ponds to dragonflies and damselflies, and other wildlife;
  4. Steps to create pond habitat in your own backyard to attract dragonflies and damselflies;
  5. Pond maintenance suggestions to keep the wildlife you attract happy and healthy!

Key Aspects of Pond Creation

  • Designate a minimum viable area of 43 ft² (smaller may also be feasible)
  • Consider sinuous, natural-appearing outlines
  • Provide habitat with a variety of water depths
  • CALL BEFORE YOU DIG. Call local utilities to avoid buried lines
  • Deepest depth to consider (2.5–6.5 ft [0.8–2 m]) will depend on pond size and should avoid freezing in deeper parts in winter
  • Use a pond liner in well-drained soils
  • Install a diversity of plant species and a variety of vegetation types (submerged, floating, emergent, plus shrubs and other upland plants)

Dragonflies and Damselflies Have Four Basic Needs

Either flowing or standing, depending on species.
Odonates are generalist predators that will benefit from other insects attracted to backyard habitat.
Emergent, submerged, and floating aquatic plants for perching, roosting, and laying eggs; upland vegetation for adult refuge and shelter.
for laying eggs, such as mud, vegetation, or rotting wood.

Vegetation is Key!

Emergent vegetation
Provides sites for adult emergence.

Floating vegetation
Provides egg-laying and perching sites.

Submerged vegetation
Provides substrate and refuge for nymphs.

Marginal vegetation
Near pond edges for adult perching.

Trees & Shrubs
Upland habitat for adult roosting.


  1. Biggs, K. 2012. Build a Pond for Wildlife. Azalea Creek Publishing, 32 pp. E-book available at
  2. Biggs, K. 2013. Welcome to the Biggs’ Wildlife Pond. Blog at
  3. British Dragonfly Society. 2010. Dig a Pond for Dragonflies. British Dragonfly Society, Dragonfly Conservation Group, 14 pp. Available at
  4. Natural Resource Conservation Service. 2007. Backyard conservation: bringing conservation from the countryside to your backyard. NRCS Publication PA-1621, USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service, National Association of Conservation Districts, Wildlife Habitat Council, and National Audubon Society. 28 pp. Available at
  5. National Wildlife Federation. Backyard ponds. Gardening Tip Sheet, 2 pp. Available at


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Field Guide for Migratory Dragonflies

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