storm
Angela Slater
Daughter of a farmer and market gardener so have always had a connection with the outdoors, whether it was keeping animals or producing fruit, vegetables and cut flowers. Along with my work at Hayes Garden World I also have a smallholding, mainly breeding rare breed pigs. I gained an HND and BSc in Conservation and Environmental Land Management, as a result I am an ardent environmentalist and have a keen interest in environmentally friendly gardening. In my time at Hayes I worked for several years in the Outdoor Plant and Houseplant areas

How to prepare your garden for a storm

A few minutes preparation could save you pounds  

Climate change appears to result in more extreme weather events and damage caused by storms either sends our insurance premiums skyrocketing or hits our already overstretched finances. Anything we can do to minimize the damage is a step in the right direction even if it’s just preventing a set of garden furniture from flying through a window. It goes without saying that you should remove any children’s toys, especially the trampoline as these can fly considerable distances in a high wind.

Garden furniture

If you don’t have a garage or shed available to stow the furniture place the chairs under the table and tie the whole lot together with strong rope. Take down the parasol and place indoors or underneath the table and chairs.

If you just have a single chair, lounger or small bistro set again bring them indoors or tie them together and then secure to something sturdy, not the drainpipe as you don’t want that pulled loose.

Remove loose cushions and stow indoors.

Take down a gazebo, if it is secured to the ground and can’t be removed take down the curtain sides.

Containers and garden ornaments

If you have small containers of plants gather them all together and place in a sheltered area. If you have any garden ornaments which are quite light, such as a small resin water features or statues bring them inside or move them to a sheltered area.   

Plants

Older established plants should be able to cope with a storm however if you’ve just recently planted a tree make sure it is securely staked and tied with a rubber tree tie not string or wire as the stem will just get chaffed in a storm.

If you haven’t already staked perennials which have put on some growth now is the time, place three or four canes around the plant then wind string around the canes, insert sturdy twigs around the plant or use the dedicated metal plant supports.

If the storm includes snow be ready with a brush to knock it off your shrubs as a heavy blanket of snow can cause the plant to splay out.

If you have plants growing up a trellis make sure it is secured well so if the wind does get behind it will remain attached to the wall. If it’s time to plant out young vegetables holt off until the storm has passed.

If you do have mature trees in your garden check for any diseased or dead branches and get them removed beforehand.

Garden structures

Flying fence panels can be enormously destructive so make sure yours are well secured, if not and you don’t have time to remedy this take them down. Avoid the solid larch-lap or ship-lap fencing as these produce a barrier to the wind whereas the lattice fencing filters the wind and slows it down making it less destructive to the rest of your garden, not only the fence itself. If you are putting up a new fence either concrete the uprights into the ground or use the metal shoes which you can bolt securely to a concrete base, don’t just push the post into the soil as it can easily lift out in a sudden gust. Consider planting a mixed hedge containing plenty of berries and fruit instead as this will not only slow the wind but also provide a refuge and food source for wildlife.

Securely close any gates as if they are left swinging and continually banging they can loosen the gate stoop.

Make sure all the glass is secure in the greenhouse and any missing panes are replaced and that the door closes securely. If the greenhouse starts to sustain damage don’t go outside to clear it away until the storm has passed.

If you have a conservatory don’t use it during a storm as they are most susceptible to damage and remember to remove any precious plants or ornaments.

Try and weigh down any small poly or fleece tunnels and if snow is forecast be ready to sweep it off the tunnels, if they become flattened then the chances are high that the plants underneath will be damaged.

General

Make sure gutters and drains are cleaned out and free from leaves and debris to allow the water to drain away and not flood.

It goes without saying that you should remove any children’s toys, especially the trampoline as these can fly considerable distances in a high wind.