It’s always windy

Windy Gardens – and what to do about it.

miscanthus sinensis close up
Grasses look their best if allowed to jiggle in a breeze!

A soft summer breeze is lovely, but not all wind is as soothing.

Smaller gardens generally suffer from two types of wind, a tunneling effect as it speeds up between narrow spaces.

Secondly, turbulence;  the wind is deflected up and over walls and structures which can in turn create areas where even moderate wind speeds can cause problems.

Here’s the  meteorological bit, but the basic principle is this; when wind hits a solid object it goes up and over, but it doesn’t get slowed down much. Secondly if it passes through a narrow gap it gets squashed and flows faster thus creating a wind tunnel.

Windbreaks are not designed to stop the flow of the wind, but to slow the winddown and disrupt it. So if you live in an exposed place, you really need to consider windbreaks and shelter belts, to break up the wind flow. Dealing with wind in a small garden this is harder as you don’t have the space for a proper shelter belt.

The fastest wind is shown red, the ‘broken wind’ green.

2014-12-12 17_37_55


The bottom diagram represents a normal fence or wall, so the wind goes up and over and is only ‘calmed’ near the base of the fence, so most of the plants get a bit of a battering.

The top image shows a fence that has open horizontal slats on either side of a post, these allow the wind to pass through, more slowly, leaving the faster wind level above the fence line.


Trees alway diffuse the wind speed, but you need more than 1

The top diagram here shows a more traditional shelter belt, the wind is deflected up but is also allowed to pass through the windbreak, dramatically reducing the speed of the air. In the lower diagram, the windbreak effect of a large tree is shown, airflow is reduced, but noticeably not at the base where the trunk is.

A typical garden fence

tall fence windbreak

This is more the normal scenario for most homes though, a fence with  a shrub behind it, as you can see, some of the wind is slowed, but not much, it is merely deflected. So how to remedy this problem, well two solutions really, firstly  a windbreak that allows air to flow through and secondly a taller structure to catch the wind flowing over the fence.

Here the tree and the split open fencing, break the speed of the air, leaving you a calmer garden.  You can also add trellis above the fence line to again reduce the  wind speed.

windbreak with split fence
So fast flow is now slow flow – and your plants will love you for it.


Horizontal slats are by far the best, not only do they offer good privacy, but they also look nice. However you do need to ensure they are built sturdily and able to withstand the wind.


Fencing can be dual purpose, attractive and an useful wind break
Here the slats break up the speed of the wind as well as providing much needed privacy.
Contact us today to see how we can help you


See also:

Creating a Low Maintenance Garden…

Part 1

Part 2





How to Design a Garden if:….

It’s all weeds

It’s a city garden

The garden is really narrow

Small! – you couldn’t even ‘swing a cat’

I still have no idea where to begin

I would like the garden to be less boring!

Mini Makeovers

More Design Tips

Selling your Home? – make sure the garden helps

BEE Friendly Gardening


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