If you follow this blog regularly, you know that we at Castle have a lot of experience helping our customers protect their homes from severe weather. Though our area of expertise is in windows, we care about helping you protect your home as a whole, inside and out.
Let’s talk about your yard. Even if the house itself has been well-prepared, a lot of damage can still be done if the yard is not prepared as well. Below, you’ll find some tips for protecting your home against storm damage from the outside in.
Pay Attention to Your Trees
Too often one the biggest causes of damage during a storm is fallen trees. It’s no surprise then that the trees in your yard need to be given careful consideration. Are there any planted close enough to your house that, if they fell, would cause damage? Are there any hollow or decaying trees that could fall in strong winds? Though you may be reluctant to cut trees, with a little thought and consideration, they can be replaced, perhaps with a stronger, more deeply rooting variety in a place where they are not likely to cause damage if they were to fall.
It’s also important to regularly prune trees. Though this is good for the health of the tree, it also prevents potential storm damage. Be sure to remove dead or damaged branches as soon as you spot them; in strong winds, these branches are most likely to fall first.
Please note that if you have trees that need to be removed, it’s best to call a professional tree removal company. Safety first! Don’t injure yourself, or damage your property, by attempting to cut a tree down on your own. If you’re unsure whether or not a tree needs to be removed, contact a certified arborist.
Given Florida’s beautiful nature, outdoor furniture is a must. However, it’s important to think ahead. Hurricane force winds can easily turn your patio chairs into projectiles. And though a pergola is lovely during the cooler months, it may become a hazard in hurricane season. Before purchasing any furniture or decor for your yard, ask yourself first—Do you have a place to store it when a hurricane is on the way? Anything that isn’t bolted to the ground (any even some things that are) will need to be put indoors. Can a pergola or shade canopy be easily and quickly disassembled and stored away? Choose lawn furniture and accessories that are easy to move and compact to store.
For many Florida residents the yard is a secondary living space. Figurines, potted plants, and children’s toys decorate the outside as much as the inside of many homes. Don’t let these details go unnoticed. Carefully consider your yard and ask yourself—If hurricane force winds blew through, what might they pick up? Are your garden beds lined with gravel? This can easily be tossed up by strong winds, turning them into dangerous, albeit tiny, projectiles. Consider switching to mulch or sand. Do you have garden gnomes or planters? Though these may be heavy to carry, they can be thrown around by strong enough winds. How about bird houses or feeders? It’s safest to put them away as well, but if you’re concerned about an active nest or birds having food during the aftermath, do what you can to secure the bird house or feeder with wire, rope, or duct tape (just be sure to remove this after the storm has passed).
As with all hurricane preparation, plan ahead. Rather than scrambling to clear your yard when a storm is on the way, it may be wise to simply keep it cleared, or keep furniture and decor to a minimum, for the duration of hurricane season. Though it may not be quite as attractive, it may mean less stress and hazard for you when a hurricane is blowing in. As always, think ahead and stay safe!