Attract Toads and Frogs to the Garden

Toad sitting in wood sorrel
Having a garden is about so much more than cultivating homegrown vegetables; it also provides the experience of sharing the space with various creatures that call it their home. Among the cherished visitors and residents of my garden, toads and frogs hold a special place. Over time, these fascinating amphibians have become an integral part of my garden, so much so that I named it Toad and Sage Garden in their honor.
 
These fascinating creatures not only bring joy and wonder to our gardens but also provide valuable ecological services. By attracting toads and frogs to your garden, you can establish a natural pest control system and create a thriving ecosystem. In this article, I share how I attract toads and frogs to my landscape and the benefits of having these amphibians in your garden.
Toad in a seed pot
I discover toads and frogs in all kinds of places in and around the garden. This one had made itself comfy in a tray of abandoned seedling pots this spring.

The Benefits of Toads and Frogs in Your Garden

Indicator Species: Guardians of Environmental Health

Toads and frogs are often referred to as “indicator species” due to their sensitivity to changes in the environment. These amphibians have permeable skin, making them highly susceptible to pollutants and toxins. Consequently, their presence or absence can reflect the overall health of their ecosystem. By monitoring the behavior and population of toads and frogs, scientists can gain valuable insights into environmental conditions, such as pollution levels and habitat degradation.
Tree frog on a spinach leaf
Tree frogs are always a welcome sight in the garden for their adorableness and pest control services.

Natural Pest Control Experts

One of the most significant advantages of having toads and frogs in the garden is their exceptional pest control abilities. These amphibians are voracious insect eaters and can consume a large number of pests that can damage beloved plants. 

For example, the American toad, a commonly found species in Eastern gardens, can devour up to 100 insects in a single night.  By welcoming these and other natural predators in the garden, pest numbers are reduced without the use of harmful chemicals. Some of the insects that toads and frogs dine on include grasshoppers, beetles, slugs, caterpillars, cutworms and grubs all of which wreak havoc on my edible crops.

Leopard frog on leaves
Leopard frogs love to hang out in our little garden pond, but often leave the water for awhile to hunt insects in nearby garden beds.

Creating an Amphibian-Friendly Garden

Providing a Water Source

Water is essential for the breeding and survival of amphibians and a sure fire way to attract frogs. Creating a water source in your garden will not only attract toads and frogs but also provide them with a vital habitat. Consider installing a small pond, even a simple one, at the edge of your garden.
 
Add submerged and floating plants to provide cover and shade. Surround the pond with grasses, shrubs, and rocks to create hiding places and perches for the amphibians. Ensure that there are easy entry and exit points for the animals. If space is limited, you can place pots or bowls with water around the garden to serve as alternative water sources.
bullfrog in a small pond
Installing a small garden pond a few years ago attracted other frog varieties like this bullfrog.

Offering Ample Shelter

Toads and frogs require shelter to hide and seek refuge from predators and extreme weather conditions. The effects of climate change can contribute to a loss of important habitat and breeding sites. To help provide habitat for toads in my garden, I provides plenty of hiding spots and damp areas.
 
I try to think like a toad and also observe the behavior of all the toads in my garden. I have found them underneath shrubs, rock piles, in bricks, under grow bags and under and around elevated pots. These are ideal places for amphibians to seek shelter.
 
Make your garden a welcoming haven by incorporating various microhabitats that mimic their natural environment. By offering abundant shelter options, you can encourage toads and frogs to make your garden their home.
A toad on a pile of bricks
Toads love hiding in dark places, even inside of and under bricks and rock piles.

Embrace Ecological Gardening Practices

To attract and support toads and frogs, it is crucial to adopt ecological gardening practices. Avoid using synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers that can harm amphibians and disrupt the delicate balance of your garden’s ecosystem.
 
Instead, opt for organic pest control methods, such as companion planting, crop rotation, manual removal of pests, and encouraging predatory insects. By promoting a healthy and chemical-free environment, you will create a safe haven for toads and frogs and preserve the overall biodiversity of your garden.
A toad burrowed into leaf mulch
Once we eliminated chemical inputs in the lawn and garden, we began to find more and more toads. They especially like burrowing into loose soil and leaf mulch.

My Personal Journey: A Garden Transformed by Toads and Frogs

Like many gardeners, my journey with toads and frogs began with a desire to create a beautiful and thriving garden. When I first built my home, the backyard was devoid of insects and wildlife. All I had was a lawn full of turf grass and a few hedges. I wasn’t really thinking about attracting toads or frogs or snakes to the garden. I just wanted to grow plants.
 
However, as I started adding more plants and decreasing lawn chemicals, something remarkable happened. Toads and tree frogs began to appear in large numbers, especially toads.
 
To encourage their presence, I took deliberate steps to provide a suitable habitat. I installed a small pond on one corner of my garden, filled it with aquatic plants, and surrounded it with grasses and shrubs. The pond became a hub of activity, attracting various species of frogs and toads. 
A young frog on a leaf
A tiny baby frog in our little garden frog pond.

I also created numerous hiding places by incorporating rock piles, upturned pots, and dense shrubbery. I also noticed that toads liked to burrow into loose damp soil in raised beds and under containers.

So we began slightly elevating all of our grow bags and containers. Since we water those regularly, the soil stays damp and cool and toads congregate under them. All of these sheltered areas have become favorite spots for the amphibians to seek refuge.

By adopting these ecological gardening practices, my garden became a safe haven for toads and frogs. The absence of harmful pesticides and herbicides allowed these beautiful creatures to thrive, contributing to a balanced ecosystem. The toads and frogs became regular visitors.
Colorful garden toad in grass
This is one of the more beautiful toads that has lived in the garden. This one had burrowed into loose soil near a raised bed.

The Joy of Toads and Frogs in Your Garden

Toads and frogs are valuable allies in the garden, offering natural pest control and serving as indicators of environmental health. By creating a welcoming habitat with water sources, ample shelter, and ecological gardening practices, you can attract toads and frogs to your garden and reap the benefits of a balanced ecosystem. 
 
By welcoming these amphibians into your garden, you are not only enhancing your own space but also contributing to the conservation of an important creature that may be impacted by human activity and climate disruption.
 
What’s your favorite garden wildlife visitor?
Small toad on a rock

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Cultivating Nature's Wisdom

I’m a nature photographer and gardener sharing how I created an ecological garden in a small suburban backyard. I also share a few tips for growing and using herbs to craft your own homegrown spice blends.

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