I thought we had a couple of frogs in our garden but it turns out that I was wrong. We've got more than that. I'm not entirely sure how many but they keep on cropping up from hiding places like long grass, mulch under the shrubs and between piles of spare bricks and slabs.
Since the frogs are already in residence here, I thought that I should start working on making our garden a bit more suitable for them to enjoy. I'd already put some shallow containers out with water in so that was one thing ticked off the list.
My main focus initially was to investigate the type of things that these common frogs like in an outside space and try to develop a specific area for them that they can thrive in. We have turned an underused corner of our small town plot into an area better suited to these amphibians.
Starting to Create a Frog Habitat
We picked out a corner of the garden for the frogs because it is an area that was not used very much. This section is right at the back of our backyard plot, away from the house. It is also the shadiest part of our land, only getting the sun in the morning and the complete shade from the afternoon onwards. It seemed the best place that we had available to make a habitat for frogs and perhaps other amphibians too.
After working out a rough size and area for this space to inhabit, we dug up the patchy grass in the corner. A lot of time went into digging over the ground and removing all the weeds by the roots to discourage any more growing up. We used a lawn edger to mark out the boundary and a shovel to remove the top layer of grass. A fork broke the soil down and helped to dig up the weeds and pick out large stones.
The next step was to create a boundary around the habitat by using up the spare rocks and stones that we already had available. The rocks will help to create useful nooks and crannies for insects that the frogs may like to feast on. They will also make a natural barrier to help hold in and contain the mulch.
We added natural bark chippings over the bare soil. This creates a mulch that these amphibians can use for a number of things: to keep themselves warm in during cold weather, to shield themselves from the hot sun and a place to hide from predators.
We had some leftover log roll edging which we placed out flat on top of the mulch. This gives us somewhere safe to tread across this section of the garden. That way we can easily see any frogs without worrying about accidentally stepping on any.
Using Ceramic Pots as Frog Homes
Making your own frog and toad homes isn't all that hard. You need some large and heavy ceramic pots or containers. Place each one over the top of a couple of bricks. The bricks need to be spaced out so there is both a front and back entrance that these creatures can pass through easily. This allows the amphibians to escape from any predators and not get trapped into a corner or dead-end while doing so.
Using this simple, DIY method we made three quick and simple frog houses and shelters. You can buy purpose-made frog homes but I'm not convinced that they are better than what I've created with the pots and bricks. They can make good gifts though.
The ceramic homes give them a quiet and safe place to rest during the daytime hours and take cover in from the hot sun. For other hiding places, because they really like having plenty of these available, I added in some lengths of curved plastic piping as well.
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Adding in Some Water
We do not have a pond in the garden and it is a common misconception that frogs need one to survive. They need a body of water to reproduce and they like to keep their skin moist which is why damp areas are essential. However, they spend a lot of time out of water as well. To encourage amphibians, having a pond with a shallow section or a water container of some description is vital.
In our case, we added water in with two large shallow bowls set at ground level so that they are easy for amphibians to climb into. I placed a few rocks up the sides of the containers so it is also easy to grip on these to get out again. A plastic washing up bowl can make a good little pool set into the ground. However, make sure that you add in plenty of stones around the sides so that frogs, toads and other wildlife can climb out easily and not drown.
This project took a while, the biggest amount of time was in preparing the soil and getting rid of the weeds before mulch went down. Everything else was quick and simple. I finished it up one evening and the very next morning, saw an adult frog coming out of one of the homes and heading straight for the water to relax in.
I spotted another adult wandering from one ceramic house off to another and a younger and much smaller frog basking in the water container. So in next to no time at all, at least 3 frogs had moved themselves in to the area. I guess they must approve.
A Fun Outdoor Project That's Great for Wildlife
Making this habitat is still a work in progress. I've got some hollyhock plants that I'm growing in here for now. I also need some more grasses and leafy plants in this area to create some shady areas out of the bright morning sun. These will also make more natural cover for hiding and staying out of the sight of predators. Since some plants are poisonous to amphibians, I need time to pick carefully. At some point, I might even think about adding in a small pond too.
As well as being great for the amphibians, we also get many insects in this area due to the natural hiding places in the rocks and under the log roll as well as from growing the grass longer. The insects offer a natural food source for the amphibians and for our visiting birds too.
Image Credits: The introductory image belongs to the author, Marie Williams Johnstone. All other images (unless watermarked with the author’s name) are product photos from Amazon.