How To Install Bird Netting Over A Garden

You've prepared a beautiful swath of land for your garden. You’re ready to plant your seeds and garden-ready transplants. The only thing you have to worry about now is the critters living in your yard. Birds can mistake your newly-planted seeds for food if you don’t take measures to keep them out of your garden. Bird netting can limit birds’ access to your new plants. How, though, do you install bird netting over a garden?

If you want to install bird netting over a garden, you need to:

  1. Measure the perimeter of your garden.
  2. Invest in suspension aids, if necessary.
  3. Find your best netting for your garden.
  4. Install your bird netting.
  5. Maintain your bird netting.

Properly installed bird netting can keep more than birds away from your plants. As long as you stay on top of your garden and netting maintenance, your net can prevent squirrels from disrupting your harvest as well. Read on to learn more about how best to install your bird netting, what netting suits you best, and how else you can protect your garden from unwanted critters.

How To Install Bird Netting Over A Garden

robin sitting on a gray watering can

Bird netting serves as one of the best physical barriers you can put between local critters and your burgeoning garden. Installing bird netting over your garden takes careful consideration, though. If you’re thinking about installing bird netting before this year’s growing season, make sure that you:

1. Measure the Perimeter of Your Garden

Rows of grape vines protected with bird netting with beautiful countryside, How To Install Bird Netting Over A Garden

You need to know how large your garden is before you go out and buy bird netting for your garden. Specifically, you need to calculate the area of your garden while also accounting for the height at which you intend to install your netting.

To calculate the area of your garden, all you need to do is multiply the length of your plot by the width. You can then purchase enough netting to cover that area, though you may have to get creative with the distribution of your netting.

If your netting, like fabric, only comes in 44-inch rolls, you can double your rolls up to accommodate a broader garden.

You should also make sure that you have enough netting to give yourself a “seam allowance,” or maneuverable room between overlapping pieces of netting. This seam allowance enables you to secure any combined pieces of netting you have on hand and more effectively protect your garden from hungry birds.

2. Invest in Suspension Aids, If Necessary

There are a few different ways you can establish bird netting over your garden. If your garden is particularly close to one side of your home, you can use your eaves to elevate your netting. You can then drape your netting over the length of your garden without having to invest in suspension aids. 

That said, make sure you have the means to safely secure your netting to your eaves. Similarly, make sure there aren’t any gaps between the netting and the side of your home that birds might take advantage of.

If your garden is farther away from your home and otherwise set apart from any suspension aids, you may have to invest in independent supports to then install around your garden.

For example, shepherd’s hooks can give your netting the air it needs to accommodate your vegetables’ growth over the course of a growing season.

3. Find the Best Netting For Your Garden

Once you’ve determined how you’re going to elevate your netting, it’s time to determine which of the available nettings best suits your purposes. There are three common types of bird netting that home gardeners use to keep birds out of their vegetables. These include:

  • Extruded netting
  • Knitted netting
  • Knotted netting

The make and structure of these nettings differ considerably. Extruded netting, for example, is most often made of plastic, while knotted netting can be made out of heavy-duty twine.

The knotted netting may be better for the environment, but its flexibility may let more squirrels and larger birds through to your garden than you’re comfortable with.

You can consult a representative at your local hardware store to determine which of these nettings is available to you and which might best keep birds out of your garden.

Learn more about how to grow a successful vegetable garden: Is Morning Or Afternoon Sun Better For Vegetable Garden?

4. Install Your Bird Netting

A black protective mesh covering blueberries from animals and birds

Finally, the time’s come to install your bird netting. The installation process will vary depending on the type of netting you’ve purchased and the means through which you intend to elevate said netting.

You can install your netting on your own or with the help of landscaping professionals, depending on the size of your garden and the complexity of the installation.

5. Maintain Your Bird Netting

Unfortunately, you can’t set and forget your garden bird netting. You need to keep an eye on this new addition to your garden if you want it to keep doing its job.

Weather, animals, and even your own plants can all do damage to your bird netting over time. If you can stay ahead of the damage, though, you can ensure that your netting continues to do its job throughout the growing season.

How Large Can the Holes in Your Netting Be?

Ideally, you want the holes in your netting to be no larger than an inch by an inch. Birds of all sizes may try to flock to your garden after you plant your first vegetables of the year. Smaller holes will prevent both larger birds, like mourning doves, and smaller birds, like sparrows, from making a meal out of your seeds.

Can You Attach Bird Netting to Housing Eaves?

Japanese White-eye and Cherry blossoms

You can attach bird netting to your house’s eaves if you want to hang your netting without additional supports. However, the eave connection only works when your garden is relatively close to your house.

If you have a free-standing garden in the middle of your yard, you should consider investing in independent netting supports.

To connect your bird netting to your house’s eaves, make sure you have roofing nails, a ladder, and a hammer on hand. You can drive your roofing nails through the secure branches of your netting to ensure that it stays in place.

You can alternatively use a staple gun to secure your netting to your eaves. Make sure you have a spotter near your ladder and that you take additional precautions to protect your eaves and personal health, alike.

How Long Does Bird Netting Last?

Unfortunately, bird netting isn’t particularly long-lasting. In most cases, your bird netting will keep unwanted critters out of your garden for a single year’s growing season.

If you’re lucky, you could stretch your netting’s lifespan to two years, but birds may have an easier time slipping through the gaps during the netting’s second year of use.

This means that it is in your best interest to invest in new bird netting on an annual basis. Fortunately, this means that you can make your netting installation part of your spring gardening routine.

However, you may want to explore what alternative means of discouraging local bird activity might help you protect your garden from hungry scavengers.

What Other Tools Can Keep Unwanted Pests Out of Your Garden?

A city rat attracted by the flowered garden, full of berries and fruits

While a bird net may deter unwanted visitors from your garden for a while, there are other steps you can take to protect your harvest and flowers as they take root.

Note that you should determine what tools might best suit your efforts best by determining what kind of critters you have in your area. For example, you don’t need to invest in deer prevention if there aren’t deer nearby.

That said, you can often use any of the following strategies to limit animals’ impact on the health of your garden:

  • Invest in shorter, dense fencing to discourage rabbits and other small creatures.
  • Consider underground fencing to ward off burrowing creatures.
  • Sprinkle cayenne pepper around the border of your garden, as the smell and capucine may discourage curious critters.
  • Place motion-sensing lights and/or reflective decorations around the border of your garden.

When paired with effective bird netting, these solutions can ensure that your vegetables and flowers take root before curious critters can otherwise disrupt your garden.

If you want to attract critters to your garden instead of repel them, consider reading: Does Portulaca Attract Hummingbirds?

In Closing

Rows of grape vines protected with bird netting with beautiful countryside

Keeping your garden safe from birds—not to mention other critters like squirrels, chipmunks, moles, and raccoons—is no easy feat. Just because it’s difficult doesn’t mean that it’s impossible, though. You can carefully install bird netting over your garden to minimize the impact birds in particular have on your coming harvest.

You can also work with local professionals to explore what humane means there may be for protecting your crops from other animals or more effectively sharing your space with local wildlife. Once you’ve found the combination of solutions that works best for you, you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the fruits of your hard labor—and the vegetables, too!

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