Pond cover: the best ways to protect your pond
Don't let your pond suffer through the winter months. A little pond cover will keep it pristine, cut down on routine maintenance, and keep your fish alive and well throughout the chill
In winter your garden pond goes into hibernation, becoming less of garden focal point and a magnet for birds and insect life and more of a draw for leaves, twigs and all manner of garden debris. Covering your pond in winter months is therefore a good idea, and will keep it fresh and ready for the advent of spring and stop it being a cold and icy hazard to pets and small children during the darker days.
Pond covers come in a multitude of sizes and forms, each addressing a specific need, from providing a quick way to keeping your surface leaf free to systems to stop water from freezing over. There’s something for everyone.
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The best pond covers for your garden
Qlouni Clear Tarpaulin Sheet with Eyelets
- Buy now from Amazon (£19.99)
A real all-rounder, perfect for keeping anything in your garden dry and debris free while allowing light to pass through. Place over your pond – being careful not to allow it to sit on the surface as cutting off air supply to your water is never a good idea – and it forms a strong barrier preventing ingress from autumn and winter dirt and debris while allowing light to pass through to plants or fish below. It’s strong eyelets built into the sheet’s edge allow it to be securely fixed in place with pegs or ropes. Use across your pond in winter, an insulating curtain within your greenhouse or as protection for your fruit bearing trees and bushes come summer.
- Buy now from Amazon (£19.99)
Hozelock Cyprio Pond Cover Net
Rather than make do with some left over spare garden netting, why not get something that’s tailor made for the job in hand? Hozelock Pond Cover Net comes in a range of sizes, is lightweight and easy to unpack and position and even includes four basic pegs allowing you to fasten it down at four corners. It can easily be cut to size but is strong enough to prevent twigs and leaves from reaching the surface of your pond and contaminating it throughout winter. And when you're done, simply roll it up, small and compact ready for re-use next year.
Pukkr Floating Guard Pond Protectors
These simple interlocking floating shapes are a breeze to install in your pond. Simply place them on the surface of your pond and keep adding until the pond is full. They float side by side, finding their own space and interlocking to create a complete cover across the entire surface of your pond. Allow them to float free – discouraging icing over – or fix them with the supplied clips to give a static, more resilient surface able to support any debris that might head your pond’s way.
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Blagdon Affinity Ice Vent Pond Heater
Not so much a pond cover as a clever device to STOP your pond from being covered… with ice. It’s a highly efficient floating heater, drawing a tiny amount of power to remain just warm enough to heat the water around it and discourage the formation of ice. Maintaining an ice hole is essential to support fish and aquatic life in the pond throughout the winter, while allowing oxygen and toxic gasses in the water to escape. One unit is able to keep ponds of up to 5000 litres with sufficient airflow. Or just add more units if you have a larger pond.
Pontec PondoPolar Ice Remover
- Buy now from Amazon (£4.99)
What could be simpler? This simple float is enough to keep the ice from closing up on small ponds allowing gas exchange to continue through the coldest winter months. Remove the lid and weigh with your own ballast – sand, gravel or suchlike – and then carefully place it in your pond, bobbing low in the water line and leave it alone to do it’s magic. Weighty enough to prevent being flipped out of the water by the wind, but sturdy enough to stay in place once set, the natural movement of the water and its central vent will prevent ice from forming. No fuel, electricity or maintenance required.
- Buy now from Amazon (£4.99)
Agriframes Universal Pond Cover
- Buy now from Agriframes (£147)
If fussing around pegging down netting sounds like too much of a chore, then a simple collapsible, foldable pond cover across a frame is for you. Quickly unfolded and assembled, simply adjust the six telescopic legs to suit and place it over your pond. As each leg can be adjusted independently you can configure it to any shape of pond. And when the fine weather returns, remove it and fold it flat for storage in spring. And there’s a range of sizes covering any shape of pond form 2.8m to 4.9m.
Harrod Horticultural Flat Steel Pond Cover
- Buy now from Harrod Horticultural (£99)
This simple, solid-framed option is a breeze to use and – provided you’ve the space to store it when not in use – represents the fastest and easiest way to keep your pond covered. No more messing around with wet netting or hammering in pegs to keep your net taught. This simple all-in-one option is a one-time-only self assembly then it can be used and positioned and lifted into storage when the season ends, or disassembled for smaller storage.
Made from strong polyester powder-coated galvanized steel it comes complete with 19mm mesh knotted netting and is available in a range of sizes from 1.5m square, up to 3.5m square.
Raised Aluminium Pond Cover
- Buy now from Harrod Horticultural (£143)
If your pond features tall grasses or other surrounding planting that might cause a problem for a net or fixed netting panel then a raised pond cover is the one for you, effectively being a box that you can place over your pond and planting and forget about all winter long.
Giving a ground clearance of 400mm, the tubing used in the frame is a sturdy 25mm in diameter with a 1.6mm wall thickness and is held together with rigid nylon connectors. The larger sizes (over 3.5m square) also feature a tensioning wire brace secured with tensioners to keep the entire structure sturdy. And – thanks to being made from lightweight aluminium – it’s easy to place and move around and comes in extra large sizes up to 7m square.
It comes complete with 20mm diamond, heavy-duty, anti-bird netting secured with releasable cable ties that’s strong enough to deter both debris and pond invaders such as herons.
Raised Steel Pond Cover
- Buy now from Harrod Horticultural (£204)
This elegant all-black option is made from galvanized steel for strength with polyester powder coating for rust-free lifespan. There’s a range of sizes up to 3.5m square and the strong 19mm knotted mesh netting is strong enough to keep out invaders and debris. Plus, while this raised option has a low profile look, designed to melt away into your garden, it maintains that 40cm clearance height and shares a framework construction system with Harrod’s highly respected steel fruit cages. Finally it comes with a full 10 year guarantee.
Daniel Griffiths is a veteran journalist who has worked on some of the biggest home and entertainment brands in the world. He is a serial house-renovator and home improvement expert, taking on everything from interior design and DIY to landscape gardening and garden design.