How to Prepare Your Backyard for a Storm
The weather is reaching new levels of unpredictability. The day might start out with clear skies, full of nothing but blue and sunshine, and then just as you leave the house dressed in t-shirt and shorts clouds can culminate and surprise you with an epic storm. Extreme weather events have been responsible for a lot of damage to property – we’ve all seen the news reports of cars with windscreens ruined by hail storms, or loose roof tiles flying off and hurting people.
To avoid damage and potential lawsuits, read on for a handy checklist of what you should to to get your backyard ready for a storm – you never know when the next one may be!
- Batten down the hatches
Gale force winds can pick up anything lying around in your backyard and make it a projectile. This is both dangerous for those in the vicinity and costly for you in terms of property damage. Have a look around your yard and take note of what needs to be secured in the event of strong winds. This could be items such as potted plants, hanging baskets, lawn ornaments, swing sets, pool and outdoor furniture, wind chimes, barbecues, rubbish bins, doghouses, tools, trampolines and lawnmowers. You should be especially vigilant with any chemicals such as cleaning agents, petrol or pesticides, as these can be particularly dangerous if they get swept away by the wind.Once you have a little checklist of your yard items that could be hazardous, come up with a plan about how to secure them. This could involve moving them inside the house or garage. If you don’t have the space indoors, or if something is too heavy, or you could secure items to the ground with stakes and rope.If you’re going away on holiday, it is worth securing your items before you set off. This could also save you from potential thefts as well as keep your property safe.
- Can your trees withstand a heavy storm?
A tree may look healthy and strong, but a storm may reveal that this is not the case. You should be aware of the health of your trees, as those with rotted roots or overly large branches could present a problem in a storm by causing serious damage to your home. Chat to a qualified arborist or tree surgeon to get expert advice.To ensure your trees don’t do any damage in a storm, get any branches of large and overhanging trees lopped by a professional. It’s a good idea to check with your local council about any guidelines or required consent applications about the placement of your trees.Young trees are very vulnerable to getting uprooted during storms. If you have a lot of saplings, you should stake them to be extra certain that they will stay put during strong winds.
- Storm-proof your roof
The roof is one of the most critical parts of the house to secure during a storm. Cracked, loose or broken tiles can become missiles during strong winds. You should check your roof once a year for signs of damage, or after extreme weather events, to make sure it is in good nick. If you are inside your roof space and can see light shining through, chances are there is damage to the roof or waterproof insulation. While checking tiles tends to be everyone’s major concern when it comes to getting their roof ready to withstand a big storm, you should also be aware that build-up of dirt can block the drainage channels on the underside of the tiles. Loose TV satellite dishes and antennae are another common hazard that can be found on the roof – make sure yours are secured.
- Get your gutters ready for a storm
Having gutters and downpipes clear can save you a lot of damage during a storm. Clogged gutters can cause the water to overflow under the eaves of your roof and into your home. To avoid this, clear all leaves from your roof and gutters, and make sure your drains are clear to prevent pooling. Often people place potted plants on drains in courtyards and backyards, but these should be moved to allow the water from a torrential rainstorm to drain away freely.
- Protect your car
If you have a garage, it’s a good idea to put your car inside if a storm is forecast. If you don’t have a garage or any kind of structure for covering your car, park it far away from any trees or low lying areas that may pool with water, as your car could drift away or suffer water damage. After finding a safe park, protect the windscreen and windows with tarpaulins or a custom car cover.
- Ensure you have insurance
You may already have insurance, but are you certain that you will be covered for the damages that may occur in a storm? Make sure that your policy will protect you in all kinds of events specific to where you live, such as any damage to property caused by trees, hail or flooding water.