Pond Netting - Do I Need It?

Pond Netting is great at keeping out leaves, twigs and other debris - whilst also providing a layer of protection from predators. For me, the positives certainly outweigh the negatives which I discuss in this article.

Article photo showing Koi carp in a garden pond covered with pond netting.
Learn the reasons why Pond Netting is a good idea for the protection of your fish (and plants!)

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Picture this: It's a sunny morning, and you're out in your garden, gazing lovingly at your beautifully designed pond. The reflection of the sky on the water, the colourful koi swimming gracefully, and the scent of blooming water lilies set the mood.

And then you see it. A pile of leaves, a curious heron, or even your next doors  cat trying to play with your precious fish. Suddenly, the thought strikes – "Do I need pond netting?"

What Is Pond Netting?

At its core, pond netting is a protective mesh placed over your garden pond. It acts as a shield against various external elements – from falling leaves in autumn to curious critters and birds that might see your fish as a quick snack. But the question remains, do you really need it? As someone with years of pond ownership under my belt, I'd say the answer depends on several factors.

Why you should have netting over your Pond

I've listed some of the most popular reasons as to why you should consider putting some net over your pond.

Leaves, Leaves, Leaves.. Did I mention Leaves?

Brown Autumn Leaves fallen into a pond
I'd like an order of leaves, with a side of leaves... do you have any leaves?

Especially during the autumn pond preparations, a pond net helps in keeping out falling leaves, twigs, and other debris. This not only maintains the aesthetic of your pond but also prevents potential water quality issues. Rotting leaves can alter the chemistry of your pond water, making it toxic for aquatic life.

Prevent Pond Pests / Fish Predators

Ever wondered, "why is my pond fish sticking to a corner?" It's possibly due to a lurking predator. From herons, cats, to foxes - a pond can be an open invitation for many creatures. Netting is a simple solution to keep them at bay.

My very own pond is like a Drive-thru for local wildlife including:

  • Foxes
  • Herons
  • Cats

I also want to add my Dog too, but I think she's more scared of the fish than they are of her 😂

Pond Maintenance made easier!

Less debris means less cleaning! With netting, you'll spend less time cleaning your filter box , or scooping out fallen pine needles.  It's so much easier to prevent leaves/twigs etc from falling into your pond than it is to be constantly removing them from the water.

Just a few leaves falling into your pond can cause extra strain on your ponds filtration system.

Why Pond Netting may not be suitable

While pond netting can be an excellent solution for many pond enthusiasts, it might not be the ideal choice for everyone. Here are some reasons to reconsider using pond netting:

There's a net... over my pond

For many, the charm of a pond lies in its unobstructed view. Netting can potentially disrupt this natural appearance, making it feel less like a part of the landscape and more like a guarded enclosure.

I can't stroke my fish!

Photo of a gold and black koi carp with a speech bubble reading 'please stroke me'
Stroking your Pond Fish is a magical moment, the more you do it, the more they will want it.

One of the joys of having a pond is the interaction with your beloved Koi (or Sturgeon in my case).

Whether it’s feeding the fish, tending to the plants, or merely placing your hand in the water, a net will prevent this.

Net Maintenance and Cleaning - Yes.

While pond netting does reduce debris (leaves/twigs etc), it also requires its own  maintenance.

Over time, algae and other growth can cling to the pond netting, which then requires cleaning. And if not maintained, it can become a visual eyesore.

If possible, try and ensure your pond netting does not touch the water - this will prevent algae from growing over the weave. This does mean that any heavy debris "will" need to be removed on a regular basis.

Plants and Pond Netting

Water Lilies covered with pond netting
Pond Netting can hinder the growth of pond plants

For ponds with plants that grow on or near the surface, like water lilies, netting might hinder their natural growth.  Reed plants will not grow if you cover your entire pond with netting.

Pond Netting and Wildlife

Pond netting covering your pond can be a double edged sword.  In one sense, yes it will protect your pond from pests such as herons, cats and foxes - however, it can also cause problems for other wildlife such as smaller birds.

Small animals may become tangled in the netting leaving some very nasty surprises when you go out to check your pond the following morning.

If you're wanting to grow your Frog community in and around your pond netting the entire area will not help.

Pond Netting Costs

I wanted to add this into the list of negative aspects of pond netting.  Yes, it's not going to be free, and once you start looking at the different pond netting you'll soon realise that that the cheap £6 netting is nowhere near as good as the £25 netting (speaking from experience here).

If your pond is raised like mine, then it also adds another element of "How do I attach pond netting to a raised pond?".

I can't get to my pump / filter!

If you've read any of my other articles, you will know how much I am an advocate for ensuring your pump is checked for blockages, filters are nice and clean etc etc etc.

Adding pond netting makes checking some of these items a little more difficult and time consuming, so totally worth mentioning as a negative.

What are the alternatives to Pond Netting?

If netting is something you're considering, but have been 'put off' by my negative aspects, there are other alternatives:

If your net was to reduce filter blockages:

Regular Cleaning: Create a routine to remove leaves from your pond and check on your pond pump to ensure optimal flow.

If your net was to provide predator prevention:

  1. Natural Barriers: Planting shrubs or trees strategically can deter some predators while enhancing the natural beauty of your pond environment.
  2. Decoys: Devices like fake herons can sometimes deter real ones from viewing your pond as a buffet.

To Net or Not To Net?

It boils down to individual preference and specific challenges you face in your garden environment. While netting offers protection and reduces maintenance, the aesthetics and accessibility might be a concern.

Personally for my own raised pond (pictures to follow soon I promise), the reason I decided to net was:

  1. My pond is directly below a couple of hefty Pine Trees - which means my water is constantly inundated with pine cones and needles - especially in the Autumn months.  I've discussed this in greater detail in the following article.
  2. Foxes - We're lucky enough to have foxes running round our garden, and although they are cute - I don't want my fish to become a snack.
  3. Cats - More recently we've seen more cats hovering over the pond, so prevention is better than waking up to a missing fish.

It's worth noting that although my pond "is" netted, it's not completely netted.

I decided to leave a slither of 6"-10" close to the edge of the pond where my waterfall is.  This allows me easy access to my filter pipe (I drag the pump out like the Hulk), whilst also allowing Frogs and other small animals an area where they can escape if needed.