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Science for Landscapers


Living and working with a scientist who’s always looking for teaching opportunities can shift your paradigm a little bit. I’ve experienced this over the last year or so since Michael and I got married. I’m a language-focused, creative-minded writer by nature and trade, so one of the biggest changes is that I’m better able to “find science” just about anywhere. Including my own backyard.


It needed some real work.

This isn’t a home decor or landscaping blog, so I won’t get in to the details, but I spent a good part of last weekend working in our yard. Our grass has been overrun by crickets lately (separate problem) so it wasn’t a big surprise when I found not one but two amphibian friends living in the soon-to-be flower bed.


I found this toad first.


He peed on my gloves.


This little guy showed up later. So tiny!

Just manhandling the toads was a lot of science for me for one day, but there’s an experiment-in-progress happening with this landscaping project. I pulled out a big chunk of the grass (that the crickets just love so much) and replaced it with a little harsher environment, a mulched flower bed. I may have also laid down some pretty heavy-duty pesticide, because I don’t love having crickets in/on/around my house. They didn’t like it much and ran for the hills (AKA the side of the house and the middle of the yard.)



Gross. Get off.

So the question now is… will we continue to see the toads? A little research tells me they love to eat the crickets. I’m hoping the crickets will stay away, but I’d be sad to see the toads go. It’s an anthropogenic disruption experiment, right in your own backyard!

By the way, here’s the (mostly) final product. I’m showing it off just about anywhere I can.


It took all summer, but it’s done!


We’ll keep you posted!


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