They’re fascinating, they control pests and they’re under threat – what more reason do you need to attract frogs to your garden?

From adding a pond to avoiding pesticides, turning your garden into a paradise for amphibians is a great way to help all kinds of wildlife, as well as boost your own wellbeing. Read on to find out how to attract frogs to your garden.

1. Build a pond

The best way to encourage frogs to visit your garden is by building a pond. Ponds are a vital frog habitat and important for other amphibians too, as they’re where they reproduce. Ponds are also vital hydration spots for frogs as they don’t drink through their mouths – they absorb moisture through their skin instead.

Frogs rely on a network of ponds and other water sources so they can move safely between habitats, so the more ponds in your neighbourhood, the better. Here are some key things to remember when building a pond in your garden.

  • Build your pond in autumn or late winter so it establishes more quickly.
  • Place your pond in a warm, sunny area with part in the shade, to prevent algae; and part in full sun, to help it warm up quickly in spring.
  • Make your wildlife pond around 60cm deep, as this suits most pond plants and animals.
  • Ensure at least one side of the pond has a shallow slope so that wildlife can enter and get back out safely. If this isn’t possible, create a man-made ramp using rocks and stones.
  • Add cover around the edge of your pond with plants, rocks and vegetation which will all double up as habitats for wildlife.
  • Avoid introducing fish to your pond as they eat frog spawn and tadpoles. They can also raise nutrient levels in a pond, which encourages algae to take over.
  • Add a mixture of pond plants, including underwater plants (as hiding places for tadpoles), plants with tall stems (for emerging dragonflies and damselflies) and floating plants (for wildlife to rest on).
  • Don’t worry if you don’t have space for a full-sized pond – mini ponds made from sinks or other large containers work well too.
  • Let frogs come to your pond naturally. Don’t attempt to bring frogs or frog spawn from another site to your pond as this can spread disease or introduce invasive species.

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2. Provide shelter

Frogs like shady, damp spots where they can hide away during the day. Give them places to shelter by creating messy areas full of leaves, log piles and vegetation, or get creative! An upturned terracotta plant pot propped open with a stone makes a great frog hideaway, or you could place a pot on its side and partially bury it in the soil.

If you have space, you could also create a winter frog habitat called a hibernaculum, where they can hibernate until spring. Simply lay some old logs or rubble onto an area of well-drained soil and pack the spaces loosely with wood chip. Next, cover the whole thing with excavated soil to keep the warmth in and encourage grasses and plants to grow over the top.

3. Avoid using chemicals

Chemicals are a big no-no if you want to attract frogs to your garden. This is because frogs breathe and drink through their skin, so they are particularly sensitive to toxic chemicals. What’s more, pesticides kill off their food sources too.

As frogs eat the majority of garden pests anyway – including slugs – there is no need for pesticides in a frog-friendly garden.

4. Keep predators away

If you have cats or dogs, it’s a good idea to try and deter them from going near your wildlife pond, particularly if your dog is partial to a paddle! Try fencing off the pond or using a pond cover with enough space for frogs to get through.

5. Learn to love a longer lawn

Letting some areas of your grass grow long provides both shelter and food for garden frogs and supports lots of other wildlife. Encouraging or planting a variety of wild flowers will attract bees and butterflies; birds like goldfinches may drop in to feed on the spent seedheads in winter; and hedgehogs may even arrive to forage in the long grass.

Why attract frogs?

While frogs might seem quite common in the UK, it’s thought their numbers are declining due to loss of habitat, increasing development and the spread of disease. Many ponds are filled in or neglected – even in the countryside – with around a third of ponds thought to have disappeared in the last 50 years. By building a pond in your garden and making lots of other frog-friendly changes, you can help boost their numbers.

Another benefit of attracting frogs to your garden is that they are excellent pest eaters. Frogs, toads and newts are all brilliant at gobbling up slugs, snails and other invertebrates, so you can count on them to keep your garden pest-free.

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