Defend Your Garden Against Harsh Weather

Wind, rain and frost can each cause individual damage to your garden if you don’t put in certain protective measures. Here are just a few tricks for weatherproofing your garden against the harshest elements.


Choose hardy plants


If your live in an area that’s regularly exposed to extreme weather, you may want to think hard about the type of plants you grow.


Many plants are easily uprooted or ripped apart by strong winds. If your garden is in a windy location, you may want to consider certain types of plants that are able to stand their ground. Plants with flexible stems are often able to take the swaying action – these could include crepe myrtles or palms. Many hardy trees like Japanese maple and willow are wind-resistant and could even act as windbreaks, allowing you to plant a few shrubs that are less durable.

When it comes to flood areas and areas of high rainfall, there are plenty of plants to choose from. The likes of iris and daylily are able to survive in very boggy soil. Ferns and cattail can even survive when partially submerged in water.


As for areas that get harsh frosts, the likes of Aster and Chrysanthemum are two hardy plants that thrive even in the most Arctic of weather. As for edible plants, cabbages are great for frost-prone areas – a few light frosts can even improve the taste of cabbage.


Support plants with stakes


Supporting plants with stakes is a common strategy for protecting plants against the wind. This can be useful for plants with more flimsy stems that are likely to get damaged by the wind. You can even stake up trees.


Staking can also help in areas with wet soil, preventing plants from sinking. This may not help much in very boggy soil however.



Consider raised beds


Raising your beds above ground level has several advantages in areas of harsh weather. When it comes to the rain, it allows the soil some drainage, preventing it from getting waterlogged. This could be useful if you live in an area with high levels of annual rainfall.

Raised beds can also help to fight off frosts. Because frost tends to collect in the lowest parts, you could find that your raised beds remain relatively frost free due to warm air rising up.


Shelter plants


It’s also possible to physically shelter plants from harsh weather. In the case of wind, as already mentioned, other hardy plants such as trees can be used as windbreaks. Alternatively, you can set up an extra fence or wall to act as a windbreak.


It’s also possible to use various canopies that can fend of heavy rain or prevent frost. For individual plants, you may be able to use a burlap sack of bell jar on days/nights when the weather is bad. Another option meanwhile could be to set up permanent shelter such as a gazebo. There are fine mesh gauzes that you can buy that let in the light whilst fending off the bulk of rain and trapping enough heat to prevent frost.


Greenhouses of course are another option, shielding plants from all the elements. Some plants may be too big for a greenhouse, but when it comes to many edible plants and rare flowers, a greenhouse is always a best option as it makes growing these plants a much lower maintenance task.  


Cover soil in mulch

Mulch can be a great way of preventing waterlogging, soaking up the rain so that the soil gets less soggy. As the summer ends, you may be able to simply use fallen leaves and twigs as mulch. Alternatively, you can always buy wood chips or straw (some people also use shredded newspaper and grass clippings – a free option, but not always good at soaking up rain).


Unfortunately, mulch also keeps the soil cool, so you may not want to add mulch soil in the height of winter as it could promote frost. Mulch can be great during a rainy spell in summer as it will help prevent the soil getting soggy whilst keeping it cool.


Water plants the night before a frost


If a frost is forecasted the next morning, it could be worth watering your plants the night before. Whilst watering plants before a frost doesn’t seem like a good idea, it can actually help to warm up the soil and prevent frost from sinking in.



Choose the right materials for furniture/fencing


On top of your plants, you may also want to take steps to weather-proof your garden furniture and fencing. Certain materials can be ill-suited to the wind, rain and frost and may degrade. Adding finishes can sometimes protect these materials but may not always be wholly effective.


The best garden furniture to use depends on the type of harsh weathers you most regularly receive. In extremely windy gardens, cast iron can be a reliable choice as its weight keeps it planted to the ground, although it can be prone to rust in the rain meaning that you’ll need to regularly paint it over. Galvanised steel and synthetic fibre can be better for withstanding the frost and rain.


When looking for the best garden fencing to use, you probably want to avoid wood. Whilst traditional and natural, wooden fencing is most prone to damage to the elements. PVC is more weather resistant and can pass for wood at a distance. Alternatively, if you’re prepared to pay a little more, there are more modern options out there such as Zincalume steel which can be coloured and are resistant against all weather.


Lock away loose garden objects


In very windy areas, you should always lock away any loose items that you think could be carried away by strong gusts. Such items could cause damage is thrown into a plant or a greenhouse. Such items include garden tools, chairs and grills. You’re best storing these in a secure shed with a concrete base.

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