Rid Your Yard of Bugs, Build a Toad House With These Simple Steps

Attract Bug-Eating Toads to Your Garden

Toad sitting in Grass

Martin Deja / Getty Images

It may sound surprising, but if you make your garden a welcome place for toads, you can have a bug-free yard. Simply invite toads to take up residence in your garden, and they will pay you back in spades. It's quick and easy to build a toad house—you can get the job done in just 30 minutes or less. The best part is, it's a free form of pest control.

Toads Are Good for Your Garden

A little-known fact is that a single toad consumes thousands of bugs a year. If you want to avoid using pesticides (for health or environmental reasons), then the natural alternative is a garden full of toads. Not only do they eat bugs, but they also eat those slugs that chomp on your vegetable plants and flowers. Another advantage is that the toads themselves do not eat your plants. Toads only have an interest in eating bugs, worms, and other moving critters that share the space they live in. The best part is, toads can live for years, and once they discover the house you've built, they will become a permanent part of your outdoor family menagerie.

What You'll Need 

  • Flowerpot or coffee can. If you have any broken flower pots lying around you can use them because they work just as well as new pots.
  • Shovel
  • Handful of leaves
  • Paint to decorate (optional, of course) 

Steps for Making Your Toad House

  1. If you want to get creative you can embellish the outside of your flower pot or a coffee can with your favorite graphic image or go freestyle. Or, use paint to make it official by painting the words "Toad House" on your container. This will also reduce the likelihood that some uninformed visitor or family member will disturb it or throw it away. Alternatively, you can paint your new garden home green so it blends in.
  2. Find a shady spot in your garden and dig a hole that is large enough to accommodate your container when it is lying on its side.
  3. Drop the container into the hole and bury the bottom half in the dirt. Toads like to burrow, so it's important to create a solid, straight dirt floor. It is even better if you are using a broken pot with the gap located on the floor of the toad house. Just be sure to leave enough space for the toads to enter.
  4. Grab a handful of leaves and stick them inside the container. The leaves serve as bedding material and their addition completes the toad house building process.
  5. Next, you have to make sure there's a sufficient water source near your toad house. Even a saucer of water will do the trick, and a small pond is even better. If you use a saucer, check it every day or so to make sure the container has some water in it.
  6. If you have pets, keep your toad house out of areas that your pets frequent.
  7. If you want to get super fancy—and take being bug-free one step further—you can add a toad light to the garden to attract insects.