When we’re lucky enough to see the sun, there’s nothing better than sitting back and relaxing in the garden with a good book or a cool drink in hand.
Creating an area of your garden where you can relax and unwind is really important for your well-being. It’s easy enough to put a lounger on the grass or deck when the weather’s fine, but for the ultimate relaxing space, it’s a good idea to factor in some shelter from the wind. A gentle breeze is perfect but no one wants their book or drink taking flight in a sudden gust of wind.
How to create shelter in a windy garden
There are many ways that you can create a sheltered spot away from the wind in your garden. From installing screens and pergolas to planting dense shrubs, you can create a functional windbreak that blends in perfectly with your surroundings.
Garden windbreak ideas
Whether you prefer a living structure or a stylish screen to provide shelter from the wind, we’ve put together some functional and attractive garden windbreak ideas so that you can relax and enjoy your garden, wind chill free.
1. Willow fence panels
One of the most beautiful and natural ways to create shelter in your garden is by installing or making your own willow screens.
Environmentally friendly willow fencing can last for up to 10 years, it’ll blend in with any setting and the best thing is, it’s completely biodegradable so it won’t be clogging up landfills when it reaches the end of its life.
2. Arbour seating
Arbours offer the perfect blend of comfort and shelter and take up minimal space in a garden. You can choose from solid side panels, like this Winchester arbour from Original Organics, or choose one with more open, trellised sides which you can grow climbing plants up.
3. Extending Fence Panel
Now it may not be the most beautiful panel out there, but this ingenious extending fence screen is perfect for creating shelter in your garden at a moment’s notice. Simply pull the screen out, fix the post into the anchor and your screen is good to go. At 3 metres wide, it’s a good size and will provide plenty of shelter from the wind whether you’re planning an outdoor party or just a relaxing afternoon in the garden.
4. DIY Wooden log windbreak
If you’re partial to a bit of DIY and fancy creating your own shelter from the wind, take inspiration from this rustic, wooden log windbreak. The beauty of making your own windbreak is that you can make it whatever size you like.
This attractive garden wall will look great for years to come, you can dress it up with strings of outdoor lights and use it to anchor a sail shade in place on hot days. It’ll also provide valuable shelter for insects in the cooler months, giant-bug-hotel style!
5. Decorative screen panels
One of the easiest and most attractive ways to provide shelter from the wind is to install screen panels and posts. You can use screens to create secluded sections in your garden and they’ll look great edging the lawn, placed along the side of decking or affixed to the sides of a garden gazebo or pergola.
These beautiful screens from Harrod Horticultural are made from powder-coated aluminium and you can choose from 3 laser cut designs. The screens come with matching posts so fixing them together is a breeze.
6. Pergola with panels
Adding panels to an existing garden structure is an effective way to create shelter from the wind. You can easily attach slatted fence panels to the posts of a wooden pergola or gazebo, creating a protected retreat to enjoy on those breezier days.
7. Slatted wooden screen
Minimal and stylish, tall, slatted fence panels will provide an effective windbreak and they look fantastic too.
This corner screen set from You Garden can be fixed to the side of a house or shed to create a great-looking, sheltered sun trap, perfect for eating al-fresco or relaxing in a lounger chair.
You can easily add your own twist by painting or staining the panels. The set includes 3 wooden planters so you can add climbing roses, honeysuckle, a passionflower or clematis to grow up the screens.
8. Hedge windbreak
If your garden is particularly open to the elements but you don’t want to build a large structure or install any screens, you can consider strategically planting a row of shrubs to act as a natural windbreak.
You’ll want to choose dense shrubs for the best hedging effect. Buxus, beech, hawthorn, holly and yew are all excellent choices.
9. Living willow ‘fedge’
A cross between a fence and a hedge, bare willow stems can be inserted into the ground in a criss-cross pattern and woven together for stability. The amazing thing about willow is that it will grow just about anywhere and soon your twiggy fedge will be a mass of glorious green leaves. You can also create a beautiful living fedge with dogwood.
You might need to stabilise your young fedge whilst it grows. Hay bales, tyres and anything heavy that you can get your hands on will help with support until the new plants are established.
What are the best trees for windy areas?
If you’re choosing plants with the idea of creating a barrier from the wind, the RHS recommend alternating evergreen and deciduous plants. This helps to prevent any issues with wind turbulence that could occur with a solid line of trees. Pine and fir trees are great choices, along with Norway spruce and cedar.
If you’re looking for trees that will tolerate windy areas, picking shorter plants, or those that will bend easily in the wind are good options. Consider planting hazel, oak and cedar.
What are some plants and shrubs for windy gardens?
Roses, ornamental grasses, magnolias, holly, hardy geraniums, sea holly and palms are all great choices in exposed gardens.
How to build a windbreak fence
You can build a natural windbreak fence using willow or dogwood sticks. Insert the twigs into the ground in a criss-cross pattern and weave them together for strength. You may need to support the twigs while they become established.
You can also create woven willow fence panels, there’s a great tutorial that shows you how to do this here.
You can also get creative with found objects, try using logs, old roofing batons or corrugated iron sheets, the only limit is your imagination!