How to Make a Toad House

Attract Bug-Eating Toads to Your Garden

toadhouse in garden
Photo © Erin Huffstetler

Make your garden a welcome place for toads to set up housekeeping. You can invite them to move to your garden by making a toad house for them to live in, and they will repay you tenfold with the free form of pest control they provide. It's easy to build a toad house, and it takes just 30 minutes or less.

Toads and the Garden

A single toad eats thousands of bugs a year. If you want to avoid using pesticides but still keep bugs under control, attracting friendly toads to live in your garden is a natural alternative.

Not only do they eat bugs, 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. They are only interested in eating bugs, worms, and other moving critters that share the same space and wreak havoc with your plants.

You shouldn't transplant toads or tadpoles to your garden. Instead, make the garden a welcome place for them to move to naturally. Toads can live for years, and once they discover they house you've made for them, they'll become a permanent part of the family menagerie.

What You Need 

  • Flowerpot or coffee can. This is a good use for any broken flower pots that you have on hand since they work just as well as undamaged pots.
  • Shovel
  • Handful of leaves
  • Paint to decorate the pot or can (optional)

How to Make a Toad House

  1. Embellish the outside of your flower pot or coffee can, if desired. Painting it with a toad design or simply adding the words "Toad House" can make it more attractive to put in your garden. This will also reduce the likelihood that some uninformed visitor or family member will disturb it or throw it away.
  1. Pick out 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.
  2. Drop the container into the hole and bury the bottom half. Toads like to burrow, so it's important to create a dirt floor. It is even better if you are using a broken pot with the gap located on the floor of the toad house.
  1. Stick a handful of leaves inside the container to serve as bedding material to finish your toad house.
  2. Make sure there's a 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 two to make sure there is some water in it.
  3. If you have pets, keep your toad house out of areas that they frequent.
  4. Add a toad light to the garden to attract insects. Set it no higher than three feet off the ground in the vicinity of the toad house.