How to Attract Toads to Your Garden

I bet you are asking yourself why in the world you want to attract toads to your garden, right? If you love growing your own food, you really need to keep reading to find out! We have a TON of toads in the garden and I am thrilled that they call my back yard home.

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Attracting Toads to your back yard garden

Hate Garden Pests?  Encourage TOADS in the Garden!

Toads eat garden pests like the dreaded hornworm caterpillar and squash beetles that like to attack my garden. Learn how to attract toads and you will have significantly fewer garden pests! But, can you just stick out a toad house with a for rent sign and hope they show up? Not really! 

I am going to share a few ways to encourage toads to visit your yard.  So that garden pests are less of a problem!  Remember, once you get them there, they are more likely to breed and your toad population will take off.  And while this article focuses on toads, you can attract frogs in much the same way.  They are also fabulous garden helpers when it comes to eating bugs. 

How to Attract Toads to the Garden and Why You Want them there!

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Garden Toads Everywhere!

I remember a day not too long ago that my teenage son was mowing the back lawn. I listened to the sound of the mower running for a few minutes, then it would stop. A few minutes it would start again and run for a bit and then stop again.

I wondered if maybe he was having lawn mower trouble and went outside to check on him. Turns out, every few feet he had to stop and rescue a baby toad as it tried to hop away from the mower.

My poor kid spent an hour mowing a small patch of grass and probably rescued a dozen toads as he worked. I’m glad he was so diligent since I worked hard to attract toads to the garden and would hate for them to get mowed over!

More Outdoor Living Tips

How to Attract Toads to Your Yard
Where do toads live?

Wondering where toads live around the world?  Just about everywhere!  Well, there are a few places where they are not native.   Greenland, Australia, New Guinea, New Zealand, Madagascar, and the polar regions are not native toad habitats. 

But, in the rest of the world, you will find an abundance of toad species. The warmer and wetter the region, the more abundant they seem to be, however, they can live farther from water than frogs can.  

If you are trying to find toads, they can usually be seen at night, or occasionally in the daytime after a good rain, from March to October. Look in wooded areas of your yard and damps spaces in the garden. Also in parks, fields, ditches, lakes and shallow slow-moving rivers. While a fancy toad house is fun and makes good garden decor, they will often find more rustic accommodations!

A garden toad on a tree stump with text

Are toads beneficial to a garden?

So, first off, let’s answer the question of WHY you want to attract frogs and toads to the garden. Are toads beneficial to a garden? Basically, YES! Because what do garden toads eat? BUGS! Bugs are a gardener’s worst nightmare and toads like to eat them. So, the more toads you have in your yard, the fewer garden pests you will have to deal with. Sounds like a great plan to me!

Attracting toads is very beneficial because they eat slugs and snails, too. Slugs and snails are NEVER good for a garden! I spend a lot of time getting rid of snails and making homemade earwig traps so I am happy for the toads to eat them. So, how do you attract toads to the garden? Here are a few simple tips.

How to Attract Toads to the Garden and Why You Want them there!


How to Attract Toads to the Garden

Attracting toads means you really need to provide the perfect habitat or they will just head right over to your neighbor’s yard instead. A toad house with a welcome sign won’t help much if you don’t follow a few of these basic tips as well.  Here is what you need to do:

Provide toad houses for them to live in:

Lay out the welcome mat for your garden frog and toad population. Lots of things like to eat toads and they are naturally very cautious creatures. Provide plenty of foliage for them to hide under to stay out of sight. A rock wall that is loosely stacked allows them nice places to hide.
You can also check out these toad houses on Pinterest and make one yourself! Not crafty? Buy a toad house or two if you aren’t crafty and get started attracting toads to your backyard right away!
Attracting Toads to Your Yard

Keep things moist for happy garden toads:

Toads are amphibians and need to stay moist. After they become adults, they don’t need pools of water to live in until they want to reproduce. We have an outdoor pond that they LOVE and we see plenty of tadpoles in there. Toads make their homes under boards, porches, loose rocks, and roots of trees.
To encourage future generations, however, consider adding a backyard pond. As long as the babies are happy and healthy, they should stick close to home when they grow up. That means, in a few years, you will have TONS of garden toads in your yard!

Other gardening tips you might like:


Use only natural lawn and garden products:

Amphibians are incredibly sensitive to chemicals. Want to know how to get toads in your garden? Don’t kill them with pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Choose natural fertilizers and homemade compost for garden feeding.
Hand pick bugs or use diatomaceous earth if you have to use something to kill garden pests. But remember, you want to attract insects to give the garden frogs and toads something to eat. 
Check out my post on how to use diatomaceous earth in the garden for tips on using it properly. Check out my post on cheap organic gardening solutions for a few ideas.

Get rid of invasive species

Invasive amphibian species will often eat native species and compete with them for food. Try to keep them out of your habitat. Learn more about invasive species in your state. You can also check out my post about invasive plant species and how to keep them under control in your area.
How to Attract Toads to the Garden and Why You Want Them There!

Learn how to catch a toad!

If you can’t attract toads to the garden by following these steps, go catch toads somewhere else, bring them home,  and hope they stay! Head out to your nearest stream and/or woodsy area with a bucket and a kid. Bring a few home with you and provide them just the right habitat so they stick around for a while.

Don’t buy toads for your garden!

There are lots of places for you to buy toads online, however, you will not be getting the right species for your area. You may also introduce toad diseases to your local population. Unless you are putting toads in tanks, don’t buy toads online. Garden toads are fairly easy to find if you look hard for them.

Learn More About Toad Activism!

It isn’t hard to attract toads to the garden if you provide them just the right habitat. Just like humans, they want a safe place to live and raise their young that has plenty of food and water available to them. Unfortunately, amphibians are struggling in today’s world and numbers are declining rapidly.
You can help, though! Participate in a scientific monitoring project like Frogwatch USA  and let scientists know where these little guys are living! The data becomes part of the pool of information being used to understand why amphibians are disappearing and how we can save them! This is a great way to get kids excited about nature!  Is attracting toads on your garden to do list?

48 thoughts on “How to Attract Toads to Your Garden”

  1. Your son sounds like good people. I did that very same thing last year. I would mow and stop , mow and stop. I remember catching them one by one and putting them in a tall bucket. After I was finished mowing the grass, I emptied the bucket under the trees. I felt so good that I had saved 8 or 10 frogs.

    • We have raised garden boxes. Would toads still be beneficial? If yes, do I put the toad house on top of the raised garden or perhaps in the hostas along my fence line?

      • I would think the house should be in a slightly more protected area. I wouldn’t put them right IN the garden? But you never, know til you try!

    • Ms. Christian, off with the snails with a mason jar of Beer . Fill the mason jar 1/4 from the top with beer and place it down into the soil just far enough for the top ridges to be above the soil and wala the slugs and snails fall into the jar .

      Hope this helps


  2. I don’t have a garden, but my friend does. I think she would find this very informative and helpful! Never realized how useful toads can be. I guess it’s good that my friend has a pond in her back yard. It’ll help with attracting toads.

  3. I’m in a land-locked desert state, so we don’t get toads too often, but I am super jealous that you get that. I do believe what you’ve said, though. Toads are a natural bug deterrent, and frankly, who wouldn’t want that natural white noise croaking out of their back yard?

      • I like listening to them too, Except for the little green tree frogs we have here in coastal alabama. They climb the walls of my house and almost have a very loud barking sound Lol.

        • We have those occasionally on the house here in GA but not often. Which is good because they freak my husband out completely 🙂

  4. Love toads and frogs. Have a lot here. Just a funny story to share. Before we moved in the bathroom had to be rebuilt. That included the plumbing. I went to use the toilet and got kissed by a toad on the backside. Evidently the toad had got in the pipe and trying to get to dry area he came up through the toilet. Needless to say I screamed like the girl I am. But mustard the rescuer in me and picked him up with paper towel and released him outside. LOL

    • depending on the type of snake, that might be a good thing 🙂 But, it definitely doesn’t help the toad population to be eaten!

    • We have had to take our dog out on leash for 2 weeks due to a busted fence and every night I go out back there is a GIANT toad in the yard that the dog keeps finding!

  5. First of all, It says a lot as a mother that you have raised a son that respects the life of a “lowly” frog. That’s awesome. I have a toad family next to my chicken’s watering trough. Any other ideas on deterring slugs? I have 4 dogs who would be far too interested in a shallow dish of beer.

    • The slugs on my rhubarb I get rid of with a salt shaker after about 10 PM. My husband thinks I am insane but it works if you don’t have a lot. And my kids are HUGELY protective of animals. We have a house full of them and they are such softies!

  6. I enjoyed this post and thought I would add to it.

    I walk my dog at night and frequently see dozens of toads in the street after a rain. Since so many Flattened by cars, I have taken to carrying an extra bag or putting them in my pocket To rescue them from the street. As a result, I have dozens in my yard.

    I have noticed one thing in particular that has helped keep them around…. Shallow dishes of water. I leave shallow, dark colored dishes of water out for my dog to drink from after walking. At night, I see toads setting in them on a regular basis (during the day, birds bath in them… My dog prefers the flavor). The big females (3-4 inches) will stake out a small area and remain there if they have all they need (food, water, cover). We see the same toads night after night for weeks or months!

    • We rescue turtles regularly in our street! We have a pond in the back yard which has become a breeding ground for many generations of toads. I love listening to them!

  7. We often have a toad in our swimming pool – I use the scooper to get them out and back on dry land! I was reading a previous post about snakes….we have several garter snakes that hang out by the garden. Now I’m wondering if they’re eating the toads/frogs?

      • Love my toads. I have named them as I see them when they come out on my patio nightly to feed. I sit and watch them for hours. They are territorial. Each one hunts in his own area. And yes the snakes are allowed too as they keep a natural balance in my yard. All living things have a niche. Thank you for encouraging others to be more nature minded.

  8. Hi, we live in Arizona and don’t have ponds to look for toads is there some place we can buy a few? We have had a couple of toads enjoy the yard but we have not seen them this last year. We have a garden area where it is damp and cool in the summer months and we did see them in this area during the daytime, but not this year. Would love to get a few. Thank you.

    • Im not sure I have ever seen toads for sale online? I guess you could transport them from a nearby area but if there are predators in the area or not the right environment for them they wouldn’t survive 🙁

  9. I just wanted to give you a heads up that the “invasive species” connection is no longer working.
    Thanks so much for this interesting article. I’m a new gardener and this is really helpful!

  10. We live in Miami, Florida in our garden we have a beautiful pond with koys that we enjoy a lot. Because of the pond it attracts a few big
    toads which I forgot the name of them, I believe they came from Mexico or another country, all I know is that they produce poison and had kill two of our dogs, the third one survive after paying the vet. $3000 dollars. I don’t recommend to keep frogs in your yard at all..

    • It is definitely important to know if there are any poisonous species of toads in the area. For most people, I think, toads are more friend than foe in the backyard garden. I am sorry about your pups, though. I worry about my dog and the copperhead snakes that call our neighborhood home.

  11. I am so glad to know the usefulness of toad. Before I used to kill them a lot since it is believed that they are poisonous, looks hideous ,they used to eat away my honeybees and above all I really hated the creature. But now I I have changed my mind I have to conserve it ….

    • Im glad you had a change of heart. There are some poisonous ones but around here in Georgia they are pretty helpful!

  12. when I was a child we would make frog houses. we would build them packing dirt from the. garden over our feet using a little water to form them. when we built enough we would gather frogs and place them in their new homes. Grandma would stand with her hands on her hips and a big smile tell us how good they looked. we spent hours and hours taking care of our frogs repairing houses and gathering bugs for them. I have a few here at my new home in missouri . It warms my heart to see them and brings back the memories of 6 little girls taking care their frogs.

  13. I’m an animal scientist and I love that you mentioned that frogs, being amphibians, are sensitive to pesticides that are used to eliminate insects. Many people don’t realize that amphibians are often used as indicator species because of how sensitive they are to changes in the environment. So if you’re seeing toads in your garden, it’s in a healthy state!

    • I’m not sure? Ours is about 3 feet around and a couple feet deep but we have koi in it so I don’t know if tadpoles would actually survive even if they hatched in there!

  14. I have plenty of toads around my raised beds. The problem is I plan to clear in between the beds and add landscape fabric and mulch. I find the toads borrow up against and under the beds. How do I do this without getting rid of them?

    • Hmmm. You might want to consider doing this maintenance in fall when they have already left to hibernate?


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