Storm safety

How to Lock Down a Landscaping Site for Storms

By Evelyn Long

Landscaping jobs don’t always go as planned. Weather patterns are frequently unpredictable and may cause damage without any warning.

Although no one can predict the future, teams can learn how to lock down a landscaping site for storms to protect a client’s property. The right safety tips and last-minute fixes will make any site more weather-resistant.

1. Check surrounding trees

Storms often have strong or dangerous winds. Clients might not worry about trees falling if they haven’t experienced it before, but crashing pines and oaks don’t present the only problems. There may be dying branches that easily break off in a storm or loose limbs tangled in higher branches.

Dislodging these presents a danger to the property below, so inspect any surrounding trees if your team gets advance warning of a powerful storm system. It could prevent roof damage or destruction that leads to long-term problems for clients. They’ll appreciate the thoughtfulness, and will remember it the next time they need landscaping work done.

2. Remove decorative items

Decorative landscaping items become projectiles during storms. Talk with each client about removing anything that could fly, such as trash cans, bird feeders or grills. Sheltering them in a shed or garage is much safer for the property. The client won’t find any windows or walls smashed after the storm passes, and nothing will tear through their updated landscaping work.

3. Install drainage pipes

Homeowners and property owners should consider ways to protect their property, but it’s up to landscaping professionals to think beyond birdhouses and lawn ornaments. You may find some properties need drainage pipes to mitigate runoff during and after storms.

Drainage pipes save landscaping during every season. When snowbanks melt or spring rainstorms tear through the area and increase the chance of flash flooding, the drainage pipes channel excess water away from the property. Otherwise, the water might carve into yards, trigger landslides, or flood the client’s home.

4. Secure heavy decorations

 Large potted plants likely won’t fly around in powerful winds, but it’s better for clients if they’re part of how you lock down a landscaping site for storms. Secure them by tying them to stakes in the ground or pushing them under shelter. If anything, you’ll save them from damage caused by flying debris such as pinecones or decorations from another yard.

5. Turn off sprinklers

Sprinkler systems work on a schedule, so they don’t care if there’s an ongoing storm or not. Save your clients a bit on their water bill by reminding them to turn off their sprinklers if you can’t do it for them. They’ll also avoid overwatering any fresh landscaping additions that might kill the plants before they begin to thrive.

6. Prevent rainwater erosion

Many people aren’t aware of how erosion presents an ongoing environmental problem. While the planet knows how to replenish itself, erosion destroyed half of the earth’s topsoil in the last 150 years alone. Not taking steps to prevent it before storms only ruins whatever nutrients a property’s soil already contains.

There are a few ways landscaping teams can fight erosion before it ever begins. Consult clients about installing rock gardens in vulnerable areas, such as hillsides made with sand and clay. Fast-growing ground cover plants can form root systems that hold the ground together and work with their landscaping goals.

Even removing dead shrubs that could tear the yard apart in a rush of water will make a significant difference in storm-prone areas.

7. Cover any gardens

Outdoor gardens need changing weather systems to help them grow, but storms may destroy a client’s hard work or planned layout. Waves of rain and powerful winds can tear flowers apart and rip vegetables from their stems before they’re ripe.

Cover any gardens with tarps or plastic sheeting and hold it in place with stakes, bricks, or cement blocks. Landscaping crews might also place sandbags around gardens with newly planted seeds to keep them from washing away in rainwater or minor flooding.

This guide taught you how to lock down a landscaping site for storms, but it’s up to professional teams and their leaders to take action. Check weather reports during storm seasons, move quickly when gusts approach, and communicate with each client about how they can protect their property long-term. You’ll find the best ways to mitigate and prevent damage even during the most unpredictable weather events.

Evelyn Long is a writer and editor focused on home building and construction. She is the co-founder of Renovated, a web magazine for the home industry.