How to storm-proof your garden – from plants to fencing

Storm Barra: Flooding across Europe as storm arrives

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Storms have been bracing Britain for the past two months with storm Arwen and Barra most recently tearing through gardens across the nation. As we edge further into winter, more storms are forecast to arrive in the new year – but how can you protect your garden from high winds and extreme rainfall? Express.co.uk spoke to gardening and landscaping specialists at Fantastic Services to find out.

How to protect fencing from high winds

High winds can batter wooden fence panels, leaving them loose or, even worse, broken.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, gardening and landscaping specialist Gena Lorainne said: “A great way of protecting your fence during a storm, especially if it’s a wooden one, is to either make some sort of drainage or elevate it using pressure treated timber gravel boards or concrete gravel boards.

“Both methods will ensure that your fence stays dry and won’t begin to rot after the storm passes.”

Start by resolving any existing issues with your fencing like loose posts or wood-rot on the panels.

Keep low-hanging branches or overgrown trees well-trimmed to avoid flying branches damaging your fencing in periods of high winds.

How to storm-proof your garden shed

Timber garden sheds are perfect for storage and are great all the time the weather is dry.

But when winter arrives in the UK, it can spell bad news for your shed, says Gena, adding: “The most susceptible part of your shed during a storm is the roof.

“Strong winds can put a lot of pressure on your shed’s roof and quickly damage it if it isn’t properly secured, so it’s essential that you inspect the roof inside and out every time before a huge storm.”

Common culprits of shed damage during the winter include:

  • Black mould
  • Light penetration
  • Rusting nails
  • Roof sag
  • Dark spots
  • Moisture ingress

Gena said: “If you notice any of these it’s best to get in touch with a roofing specialist to come as soon as possible to repair your roof, unless of course, you’re savvy enough to do it yourself.”

Remember to inspect the shed’s windows and doors both inside and out and insulate any gaps with a foam weather stripping to prevent damage.

How to protect plants from frost and windbreak

While some plants are in season, others are working hard to establish roots before the spring.

When faced with extreme weather, garden plants can bear the brunt of high winds and frost, so it is important to take extra care of your winter pots and bedding plants during the storm season.

How to protect small plants in winter

Gena explained: “The best way to protect small plants is through the use of cloches.

“A cloche is a temporary solution for protecting young plants during storms and cold weather. In the past, they were all made of glass but nowadays most of them are plastic. “

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You can make cloches yourself using an empty plastic bottle (five-litre size is best), and a sharp knife.

Gena said: “Use the knife to carefully cut the bottom quarter of the bottle, then simply cover the plant with the top part of the bottle (bury part of the bottle in the ground so that it doesn’t fly off when the storm comes around).

“This homemade cloche will act as a mini-greenhouse and will protect your seedlings from strong winds, cold weather and pests(as long as there aren’t already pests on the plant) as well.”

How to protect established plants from wind and frost

Cloches can’t be used for larger, established plants because they are often too small.

Gena explained: “Your best bet with such plants is to support them using stakes or tall poles.

“Simply drive a stake deep into the ground, next to the plant and use twine to tie it to the stake.”
A good rule of thumb is to tie the plant stem to the stake every eight inches of height.

How to protect garden furniture from storms

Light furniture like plastic garden chairs, can be easily stacked up and stored indoors during the winter months.

For heavier patio furniture where this isn’t an option, there are a few simple measures that can be taken to secure your items against blustering winds.

Gena told Express.co.uk: “Start off by figuring out where the wind is coming from and which way it usually blows.

“This will move your furniture to spots it’s less likely to fly away from. Next, pick your weights or fittings.”

Patio furniture sandbags are a simple and affordable option, says Gena, but deck down anchors could be more suitable for people who do not plan to move their patio furniture in the future.
Sofa fasteners also work well for rattan garden seating and dining sets.

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