10 Hurricane-Resistant Landscaping Ideas for Myrtle Beach

Large tree fallen on a house after a hurricane

Living in Myrtle Beach has its pearls not even Blackbeard could resist –– Broadway at the Beach, waterfront dining at Murrells Inlet, and pirate-themed mini-golf. But with these sparkling treasures comes the threat of dangerous hurricanes. Argh!

How will your South Carolina home stand up against the next storm? You can’t make your home 100% hurricane-proof, but these 10 hurricane-resistant landscaping ideas for Myrtle Beach can help minimize the damage. 

1. Choose salt-tolerant plants

If your Myrtle Beach home is close to the waterfront, you’ll want to be mindful of your landscaping. An angry hurricane can shower your landscape with tiny droplets of salt water from the crashing waves. 

If your plants aren’t salt-tolerant, large amounts of salt will dry them out, prevent the roots from absorbing water, and hinder nutrient absorption. 

Don’t know which salt-tolerant plants will thrive in your Myrtle Beach landscape? The Clemson Cooperative Extension recommends the following salt-tolerant plants for the South Carolina Coast: 

  • American holly (Ilex opaca)
  • Southern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana var. silicicola)
  • Palmetto or cabbage palm (Sabal palmetto)
  • Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora)
  • Live oak (Quercus virginiana)
  • Beach evening primrose (Oenothera drummondii)
  • Dune sunflower (Helianthus debilis)
  • Seaside goldenrod (Solidago sempervirens)
  • Southern wax myrtle (Morella cerifera)

Cost: Planting a tree can cost anywhere between $22 and $3,300, depending on the tree’s size. Professional flower bed installation typically costs between $585 and $3,300

2. Plant wind-resistant trees

Winds of a category 5 hurricane can reach up to 157 mph or more. And they can uproot the largest and healthiest of trees as if they were carrots in your garden. 

Give your landscape a fighting chance by planting wind-resistant trees that can withstand high winds. There’s no guarantee that a wind-resistant tree will survive the storm, but it can give you the peace of mind that a poor wind-resistant tree can’t. 

According to research by University of Florida scientists, sand live oaks are the most wind-resistant trees. 

Other wind-resistant tree species include: 

  • Bald cypress
  • Crape myrtle
  • Live oak
  • Sabal palm
  • Southern magnolia

Trees to avoid include:

  • Chinese elm
  • Laurel oak
  • Sand pine
  • Water oak

Cost: Planting a tree can cost anywhere between $22 and $3,300, depending on its size. A large mature tree will cost more than a sapling or small tree. 

3. Place trees away from house and power lines

When planting trees (or palms) in your landscape, the best way to protect your home is to plant them away from the house and power lines. Otherwise, you may be left with severe property damage after an angry hurricane uproots your trees. 

Plant trees away from the house and power lines regardless of their wind-resistant levels. Even a tree with exceptional wind resistance can succumb to a hurricane’s fury. 

Cost: Creating distance between your home and trees is unlikely to cost you extra. But placing your trees too close to the house, power lines, or other structures could lead to expensive damages in the future. 

If you need to move an existing tree, transplanting a tree can cost between $158 and $880, depending on its size. Tree removal typically costs between $347 and $1,177 per tree. Remember to hire a certified arborist for professional tree services.

4. Plant trees in groups

If you have your heart set on growing multiple trees in your Myrtle Beach landscape, consider planting them in groups rather than spread out. Why? Because growing trees close together creates a windbreak and enhances wind resistance. 

Cost: Buying multiple trees or saplings in one shopping trip may cost you less than buying individual trees over several visits to the garden center. 

5. Prune and trim 

Unhealthy, overgrown branches hanging from a hedge, bush, or tree can easily snap off and damage your home or vehicle during a tropical storm. Remember to prune and trim your plants to ensure they’re at their healthiest and strongest before a hurricane. 

Cost: Hedge trimming costs around $57 per hour. Professional bush trimming usually costs $9 per bush, and tree trimming costs about $428 per tree

6. Install hurricane-resistant fencing

Fences can be a great addition to the yard. They increase privacy and security and create a safe boundary for pets and small children playing outside. 

If you decide to install a fence around your landscape, consider hiring a fence builder specializing in hurricane-resistant fences. A hurricane can easily wipe out a fence that’s poorly constructed or made of feeble materials. 

Here are some easy tips to remember when planning your new fence: 

Say goodbye to wood fencing and hello to metal or chain-link fencing: Wood fencing might bring a natural texture to the landscape, but a falling tree or flying object could crush it in an instant. Opt for a strong fencing material such as metal or chain-link fencing. 

Choose slatted fencing over solid fencing: High hurricane winds pass through slatted fences with ease, but they’ll quickly topple down a solid fence. Solid fencing is a great way to bring privacy to the yard, but it’s not a hurricane-resistant option.

Cost: Most homeowners pay $7 to $51 per linear foot to build a fence, depending on the fencing materials. Chain-link fences (often called hurricane or cyclone fences) cost between $6 and $36 per linear foot

7. Apply soft mulch

Hard mulches like river rock and pea gravel can bring texture and beauty to a landscape, but they aren’t an ideal mulch for Myrtle Beach homes. A hurricane will scatter small, hard pieces of mulch across the yard, damaging your windows, siding, and cars. 

You can help avoid dented cars and shattered glass by using soft mulch instead. Soft mulches include shredded bark, wood chips, shredded leaves, or pine needles

Cost: Mulch prices vary significantly depending on the mulch and where you buy it. Wood chips cost around $70 per cubic yard and bark mulch costs around $65 per cubic yard. You can find several mulch types in your backyard, including grass clippings, newspaper, or fallen pine needles. 

8. Remove storm hazards

The garden bench beneath your shade tree is a charming focal point in your landscape, but it won’t be there for long once the storm rolls in. Before the hurricane comes, clear your landscape of any storm hazards to minimize damage. Otherwise, the bench might crash through your car window. 

Cost: Storing the storm hazards in the garage or garden shed typically won’t have a financial expense unless you pay someone to do the heavy-lifting for you. 

9. Build a seawall

If your home is right on the waterfront, your landscape may benefit from a seawall. Crashing waves will eventually erode your landscape, especially during a hurricane. Building a seawall can help block the incoming waves and also help prevent flooding on your property. Seawall materials include wood, steel, vinyl, concrete, and riprap (rocks)

Cost: The average residential seawall project ranges between $113 and $770 per linear foot, depending on the project’s complexity. 

10. Clear storm drain paths

Nearby storm drains help prevent your property from flooding. If landscape features block the water’s path to the storm drain, you may be in for an unpleasant surprise. 

Not only should you clear storm drain paths, but you should also clean up the yard promptly. Yard waste, such as leaves and other debris, can quickly clog the drains and encourage flooding. 

Cost: Are leaves and yard waste cluttering your lawn? Hire professional yard cleanup to remove the debris for you. Yard cleanup prices range between $154 and $411

Protect your Myrtle Beach home before a hurricane strikes

Your Myrtle Beach home isn’t immune to a hurricane’s fury. According to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, 43 tropical cyclones have made landfall along South Carolina’s coastline from 1851 to 2020. And four of these 43 storms have made landfall as category 3 and 4 hurricanes. 

There’s a 79.7% chance a tropical system will impact South Carolina each year. You never know when one may strike. Prepare your home and landscape for hurricane season now before the damage is done. 

Hire a pro to batten down the hatches

You don’t want sticks and branches flying into your windows during a hurricane. Hire a professional yard-cleanup crew to remove these storm hazards from your landscape. 

And if you want your hurricane-resistant landscape to have an extra dose of curb appeal, hire a Myrtle Beach lawn care professional for tasks such as mowing, fertilization, and relieving compact soil.

All this hurricane talk can be stressful. Once you’ve finished planning your landscape design (or hired someone to perform landscaping services for you), enjoy a relaxing dinner at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville. There you’ll find a different kind of hurricane that pours margaritas into a giant blender. Blimey!

Main Photo Credit: emmagonzalez | Pixabay

Jane Purnell

Jane Purnell is an artist, writer, and nature lover. She enjoys teaching readers about the importance of eco-friendly lawn care, integrated pest management, biodiversity, and sustainable landscaping.