What’s the difference between a relaxing breeze and a gust of wind? One allows you to relax on your patio and enjoy the morning paper. The other forces you to chase the sports section across the lawn! While I enjoy the fresh air of the great outdoors, it got a little tiresome having to cling to my Captain’s hat to keep it from flying off. So I dug in and came up with a few clever answers on how to block wind on your patio.
There are simple solutions to calm the wind into your friend. You can make a few minor functional (and stylish!) adjustments to your patio area to help keep the wind at bay. That way, you feel more like you’re reclining, and less like you’re hang gliding. The answer is simple, but essential: Add some windbreaks and block the unwanted wind from your patio.
To put it simply, windbreaks are barriers that help take the blunt force of the wind and stop it from impacting your patio. They are the offensive linemen that keep you from being tackled by mother nature. The type of windbreak you’ll choose depends on the extremity of the wind you experience. Some are effective at only a slight breeze, while others could hold their own against a hurricane. You want to figure out what works best for your unique patio. First, let’s lay out the options.
- Living Screens
- Bamboo Screens
Read on and we’ll go through their differences so you can make an informed decision about how to block wind on your patio.
Windbreak Comparison Table
I went ahead and compiled all of the information below into a handy, easy to reference table. I recommend reading on. However, if you’re in a rush, here is the compiled information.
|Living Screens – Shrubs||Cost effective, beautiful, natural||Ineffective against high winds, moderate upkeep|
|Living Screens – Trees||Cost effective, beautiful, natural, highly effective long-term solution||Long time to establish, high upkeep in fall|
|Trellises||Easy to install, decorative, no upkeep||Only adequate against light winds, expensive|
|Bamboo Screens||Effective solution, very versatile||Moderately expensive, difficult to install|
Living Screens – Shrubs
Shrubs are a fantastic option. They’re an effective buffer for mild winds, while still maintaining a natural outdoorsy feel for your patio. Rather than stop the wind completely, they mainly redirect it away from hitting your patio. However, shrubs still provide an unobtrusive aesthetic that typically makes most patios look cleaner and better-intentioned. Because I spend most of my time on the patio during the warmer months (sweet-tea season!), I prefer spring/summer blooming shrubs like evergreen fuschias. Depending on your usage, you might prefer fall/winter blooms like Camellias to add color to their patio during the more dreary seasons.
Shrubs are adequate, cost-effective windbreaks that help redirect mildly intrusive winds. They will also help liven up and beautify your patio.
Shrubs are living windbreaks, so upkeep is a requirement. They will need to be watered regularly (this can largely vary depending on the type of plant). If you’re the type of person that can’t seem to keep a cactus alive, you might want to go a different route.
Living Screens – Trees
Trees are the most effective natural windbreak available, and can certainly do a number on strong winds that might disrupt your outdoor experience. If you have ample land available, you can plant a row of conifers, like thick pines or spruces. They’ll act as sturdy barriers and shield you from incoming gusts of wind. Not only are they functional, but who doesn’t love trees? They’ll decorate your yard for years to come, inviting a whole host of flora and fauna as well.
Planting trees is a perfect long-term windbreak solution. They do an amazing job blocking and redirecting wind patterns, forcing your outdoor space to be a little calmer and more relaxing. They also provide shade and beautify your yard. Additionally, they make a perfect visual barrier to the outside world (I know exactly how important that is, I wrote an article about making your patio quieter here). Additionally, fully grown trees don’t require as much maintenance as shrubs.
There are so many positive aspects to planting trees in your yard, but you have to consider a few of the less desirable factors. For example, trees are a perfect option for me because I have a lot of free time to work on my yard, I own my home, and don’t plan on moving anytime soon. I was looking for a long-term solution, and trees fit the bill. However, they take years to grow. If you aren’t in it for the long-haul at your current home, or simply don’t want to wait, you might want to think about some more practical options. Additionally, you have to remember what trees like to do during Autumn: shed their leaves. If you don’t have the time or patience to take care of that each year, choosing trees as a windbreak will be a regretful choice.
If you don’t have much of a green thumb, or simply lack the time to upkeep additional plants, consider lining your patio with trellises. Trellises can act as a humble blockade against winds, while also providing the feeling of being in a nice outdoor garden area. For added effect, I recommend letting some ivy grow and weave itself through the crosshatch of the trellis. Ivy is very minimal upkeep, which is perfect if you lack the time to upkeep other plants.
Trellises are easy to install. You also don’t have to worry about them dying on you, and you only have to water them if you decide to pair them with ivy.
They’re not super cost-effective, usually ranging between $100-$200 per 33” x 84” trellis. You’ll likely need many of these to completely dampen the wind from a single direction. They work great as mild buffers to block wind, but they aren’t the best windbreaks out there. Trellises are perfect for smaller patio areas with mild winds, but I recommend other options if you have stronger winds in your area.
I’m a big fan of bamboo screens for a couple of reasons. For one thing, they do a fantastic job as a windbreak. They also completely shift the dynamic of your patio area. Creating a fence row of bamboo screens around your patio or yard can help ensure incoming winds never reach your patio. Bamboo screens can also be purchased as standalone units and placed strategically around your yard to redirect windflow.
Fencing your yard with bamboo screens is a great way to quickly solve the problem. They also turn your patio area into an enclosure, which is great if you are looking for privacy. The bamboo also works as decoration for your backyard. To top it all off, Bamboo screens are surprisingly affordable! A high quality 6’ x 8’ panel only costs around $100, which is pretty cheap for a long-term fix.
Installation can be a pain. While bamboo screens require little upkeep after they have already been installed, building a fence row of bamboo screens requires a lot of effort and hard work. If you don’t have a lot of experience, you might need to hire someone to install the screens for you.
What Can Cause A Windy Patio?
At this point, you’ve probably asked yourself why your patio is so windy in the first place. I’ve never been a weatherman, but I am a captain after all. When there is a difference of pressure in the air, it moves. Simple, right? Not really.
Different factors cause different amounts or pressure to the air, which is why some patios are more windy than others. Geographical location, temperature, landscape, etc. can all directly impact just how windy your patio is. That’s why your buddy’s patio might have the stillest air you’ve ever experienced, and you might feel like you’re living in a wind-tunnel. It’s also why spring might have a gentle breeze, but once summer hits your wig might fly off your head!
There is no way to directly stop the air from being under pressure, but you can help shield your patio with these windbreak solutions. When deciding on how to block wind on your patio, I encourage you to weigh the pros and the cons, and then choose the solution that works best for you.