In our unpredictable climate, protecting your garden against wind is essential. Blustery weather can damage tender plants, scatter seeds and hurl objects into your property. But don’t worry, with just a few simple tips you can learn how to windproof your garden in preparation for the next unexpected gusts.
Ways to windproof your garden
The only way to provide protection from the breezes is with windbreaks. A windbreak can be any sort of barrier, provided it is securely held down and around 50% permeable. This allows enough air to flow through, rather than sending the wind over the top in even stronger eddies. Here are some ideas for making your own windbreaks:
Hedges and fedges
A windbreak just needs to divide up your garden against the blustery air, so a natural barrier is fine. Hedge screening such as beech or hornbeam are particularly wind-resistant. For an alternative look, you could also grow your own living fence – a fedge, using hedging plants. Simply plant a row of willow and weave the strands together.
Remember that solid fences will actually make wind problems worse as they will force the air over, or risk bringing the fence down. Permeable fencing like willow and hazel hurdles make great windbreaks though, filtering just enough air through. This kind of fencing is also ideal for sheltering hedging while it grows to size.
Putting up a barrier of garden screening is a thorough solution for creating a windbreak. Netted privacy screening is effective either on its own, on in combination with other screens. This option is ideal if you need a fast, complete result, if not always as attractive as more natural dividers.
Growing a windbreak is one of the most flexible methods of protection. You can adapt the borders to the areas of your garden that are most exposed or that you want to shelter. As well as the hedges mentioned above, plants such as lavender and box hedge make reliable barriers for low-growing areas.
There are all kinds of other ways to break up your garden into less wind-exposed patches. Retractable windbreak awnings provide reliable protection for your patio. Pick and choose from trellises, canopies and pergolas, sail shades and even fruit trees to add more shelter elsewhere – and a bit of a feature!
Greenhouse wind protection
Of all the things in your garden, the greenhouse is often most vulnerable to wind damage. Strong gusts can fling debris into the windows and shatter the glass. They particularly suffer when the wind can get inside and blow out panels, so the best protection is to try to prevent any air gaps. Fix up any damaged or lost panels as soon as you spot them. Tape up any cracks and board up missing pieces until you’re able to replace the panel. Finally, when you notice it getting windy make sure to keep the greenhouse door firmly shut.
Emergency wind protection
If it suddenly starts blowing a gale outside, you need to act fast to limit any potential damage. Make sure all garden buildings like sheds and greenhouses are locked up. Bring inside any light objects that are likely to blow away and cause damage to windows and other structures. These include plastic pots, ornaments and – ironically – windchimes.
In the UK at least, we’re unlikely to get too many disastrous wind storms a year, so it’s best to keep your garden prepared for the regular blustery spells. Use dividers and clever planting to create borders and shelter the most exposed areas. Keep an eye on your greenhouse to make sure it’s sealed against the wind. Bring inside or tie down anything that might take off if a gale really picks up. And if your garden only gets a gentle breeze, embrace it with a wind chime or hanging decoration. After all – you can’t fight the wind, only prepare for it.