8 Hurricane-Resistant Landscaping Ideas for Richmond

pathway lined with tall trees

Hurricane Hazel, Isabel, Gaston –– the thought of another hurricane hitting River City is unnerving. But with these eight hurricane-resistant landscaping ideas for Richmond, you can help minimize your home’s cuts and bruises during a storm. 

  1. Grow wind-tolerant trees
  2. Grow your trees in groups
  3. Prioritize tree location
  4. Prune bushes and trim trees
  5. Avoid hard mulches
  6. Install hurricane-resistant fencing
  7. Remove storm hazards
  8. Clear storm drain paths

We’ve also included each landscaping idea’s approximate costs. But in many cases, these hurricane landscaping ideas will save you money in the long run. Less property damage means less damage to your wallet. 

1. Grow wind-tolerant trees

looking up into the yellow leaves and branches of an American beech tree
Katja Schulz | Flickr | CC BY 2.0

A hurricane’s high winds often have no trouble uprooting large trees. Help avoid this landscape nightmare by growing wind-tolerant trees. Make sure to give them plenty of room to grow their anchoring root systems. 

Several wind-tolerant tree species grow well here in Central Virginia, including: 

  • Southern live oak (Quercus virginiana)
  • American beech (Fagus grandifolia)
  • Bald cypress (Taxodium distichum)
  • Crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica)
  • Eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana)
  • Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora)

Cost: Planting a tree can cost anywhere between $22 and $3,300, depending on the tree’s size. Planting a baby sapling or small tree will cost you much less than a large mature tree.  

2. Grow your trees in groups

Your trees will fare better against the storm if grown close together rather than standing alone. 

According to the University of Florida’s IFAS Extension, growing trees in groups creates a windbreak and enhances wind resistance.

Cost: Planting more than one tree? You might get a good deal at a local nursery if you buy multiple trees at once. Buying in bulk is often a great way to save money. 

3. Prioritize tree location 

cabin in the woods surrounded by tall trees
David Mark | Pixabay

The next item to consider when hurricane-proofing your landscape is where to grow your trees. If a storm does happen to uproot one of your trees, you’ll want to ensure it won’t fall on your home or the power lines. 

If any of your trees are too close to the house, power lines, or other structures, you may want to hire a certified arborist to remove the tree safely. Otherwise, your home might face severe damages during a hurricane, even if the tree(s) is a wind-tolerant plant. 

Cost: Planting your trees far from the home or power line likely won’t cost you extra. But if you decide to plant them too close to a neighboring structure, you risk paying more in damages from a fallen tree. 

Need to transplant a tree or remove one that’s too close to the house? Transplanting a tree typically costs between $158 and $880. Removing a tree costs most homeowners between $347 and $1,177. Remember to always hire a certified arborist for your tree care needs. 

4. Prune bushes and trim trees

walkway with precisely trimmed trees on the left and square-trimmed bushes on the right
Q K | Pixabay

Prune your bushes and trim your trees to help prevent branches from flying through glass windows or on top of cars. Weak branches can be a safety hazard during a storm, so it’s essential to get them taken care of right away. 

Pruning and trimming also help enhance your plants’ health, making them stronger in a storm. 

Cost: If you’ve got a pair of pruning shears in your shed, pruning the bushes shouldn’t cost you a dime. Otherwise, hiring a professional to prune and trim the bushes costs around $9 per bush. 

Tree trimming isn’t the safest DIY project, so it’s best to hire a pro. Professional tree trimming costs approximately $428 per tree. 

5. Avoid hard mulches

Which would you rather see flying toward your windows –– leaves or gravel? When a tropical storm comes barreling through your yard with 70-mile-an-hour winds, it’s going to send your mulch everywhere, hitting your fences, cars, and windows. 

To help prevent broken glass and tough scrapes, use soft mulches instead of hard mulches, such as rocks, gravel, and landscape glass. Soft mulches include wood chips, pine needles, shredded bark, and leaves

Cost: Mulch prices vary depending on the type of mulch you buy. Wood chips cost around $70 per cubic yard and bark mulch costs around $65 per cubic yard. On the other hand, mulch from the backyard (such as newspaper, leaves, and grass clippings) won’t cost you anything.

6. Install hurricane-resistant fencing

round, wooden fence posts making a fence ine
Michael Schwarzenberger | Pixabay

There’s no such thing as a 100% hurricane-proof fence, but there are fences that are more likely to survive a hurricane than others. 

Wood fences, for example, are more susceptible to storm damage than metal fences. If a tree falls on your wood fence, it will soon make good kindling for your fireplace. On the other hand, metal fences are highly durable and can withstand a punch or two. 

Another tip: If you have the option, choose a slatted fence over a solid fence. Solid fences provide excellent privacy, but a full blast of wind can easily knock them down. Slatted fences allow strong winds to pass between the slats, resulting in a weaker impact.  

Cost: Most homeowners spend between $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. Remove storm hazards

We know you put a lot of work into making your landscape look beautiful. But many of those bells and whistles will need to get stored away before a hurricane hits. Outdoor dining sets, portable water fountains, garden benches –– make sure you have an action plan and space to store these belongings. 

Cost: Removing storm hazards shouldn’t pull from your wallet, but it will take time. You’ll also help save money by minimizing the possibility of damage when you safely secure your belongings. 

8. Clear storm drain paths

storm drain with leaves and tree debris on the grate
Fried Dough | Flickr | public domain

When landscaping your Richmond yard, you must keep the storm drain paths clear. If you block the path to your storm drain with a new gazebo or fire pit, your landscape will flood just like the James River.

Cleaning up around the storm drains is always a good idea. Rake up those dry leaves, remove the large branches, and clear up the debris before the heavy rains arrive.

Cost: Clear the storm drain paths yourself for free or hire a Richmond lawn care pro to clean up the mess for you. Yard cleanup typically costs homeowners around $308. 

Protect your Richmond home before a hurricane strikes

We never know when Richmond is going to face its next hurricane. But you can give yourself peace of mind this hurricane season by preparing your home for the storm. Hurricane-proofing the landscape isn’t a 100% guarantee your property won’t suffer any damages, but it does significantly increase your property’s protection. 

Even the smallest landscaping choices can make the biggest differences. Planting your trees far away from the house instead of nearby could prevent a fallen tree on the roof. Choosing to use soft mulches instead of hard mulches could save you a fortune on window replacement. 

Don’t have time to hurricane-proof your yard? Need professional insight? Hire a local Richmond landscaping professional who specializes in hurricane landscaping so you can lift the burden off your shoulders. Now, enough stressful hurricane talk –– go treat yourself with some laughs at The Byrd Theatre!  

Main Photo Credit: Peter H | 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.