How to create shelter in a windy garden

I am currently designing a couple of gardens where the views out across East Lothian and the coast are to die for. The downside is that the garden owners are rarely able to enjoy them from the garden as it is usually too windy to sit out and relax. Here are a few tips if you are creating shelter in a windy garden.Trees and hedges create shelter at Fairlight End

1.         Create a microclimate for sitting out in a windy garden

See if you can find parts of garden, such as in the lee of the house or summer house or behind a hedge that already have a warmer ‘microclimate’. These will be sheltered from the prevailing winds. If everywhere is exposed to the full force of the wind, then create a sheltered area in your garden. Place a garden bench here so you can sit out and enjoy a leisurely morning coffee.


2.         Filter the wind

Filter the wind without completely obscuring the view using trees, hedges, planting or open slatted fencing. When wind has to change direction, wind speed slows down and you reduce the amount of wind reaching an area. But beware – solid walls will funnel the wind and create eddies and this can make the problem worse.

In the most exposed locations, you can erect temporary windbreak fencing to help hedges get established. You may need to think about planting extra-tough trees and hedging such as hawthorn and pine trees in a windy garden.



3.         Divide your garden into ‘rooms’

You can use hedging and screens to divide a windy garden into separate  ‘garden rooms’. Create shelter for different seating areas around the garden depending on which direction the wind is blowing from.

railway sleeper sunken garden Mien Ruys


4.         Create a sunken garden

You can also design a more secluded and intimate space by digging down and creating a sunken garden. Mien Ruys created this sunken garden in the Netherlands.

Ornamental grasses create movement in the garden

5.         Bring your garden to life with plants that sway in the wind

Wind damages plants physically or causes moisture loss, so be sure to choose plants that are adapted to windy conditions. You may need to give your plants a bit of extra watering in. A good layer of mulch also helps to get them established. Ornamental grasses such as Nasella tenuissima and Stipa gigantea sway in the wind. This can your garden to life and add a bit of drama and excitement, which plays to the strengths of a windy garden. The garden above at Hauser and Wirth in Somerset beautifully illustrates this.