Updated/Fact-Chacked on April 25, 2023 by Gareth James
Most people ignore fencing and its importance until an unpredicted storm hits and wreaks havoc on their garden. Yes, fences define boundaries and add more to the look of your house, but they also shield you from the elements.
As we live in the North East, we are prone to getting high winds. Storm Dudley (February 14, 2022) took out one of our fences, and it cost a fortune to rebuild it. So many fences were down across the North East and timber prices had sky-rocketed; fencing people were charging a fortune.
Having first-hand experience with replacing and repairing fences, here are some recommendations.
Best Posts for a Wind Resistant Fence
No matter what material you use in your fence, the material of the posts and foundation can make all the difference.
Timber posts are the most common and most affordable.
In addition, they are the most aesthetically pleasing; just look them up on Pinterest. You can use them to show off the view of your garden to the outside while maintaining your privacy. The ease of installation is also hard to beat.
However, they typically don’t do well with high winds; timber posts get dislodged or misaligned when the wind gets too strong.
So, if you’re still keen on having timber posts, set them in concrete and dig them as deep as possible. Also, get treated timber posts for more strength.
Another option is heavy-duty slotted fence posts, where the post is made of three pieces of wood.
Concrete is superior to timber in terms of standing strong against the wind. Also, it is very hard for liquid or mould to affect concrete posts the way they affect other types. The fact that concrete is not degradable makes it impenetrable to insects as well.
After Storm Dudley, we replaced a wobbly fence using concrete posts and fence panels. We are really pleased with them and have peace of mind for any future storms that hit the North East.
They cost much more than timber to purchase, transport, and install, mainly because they’re much heavier than their wooden counterparts. Our 30ft fence cost around £650 to replace with concrete posts and panels – bare in mind that’s North East prices, and we used a connection.
Concrete is highly durable, but it can chip and crack. When that happens, water seeps deep inside the posts, leading to gradual fence failure. The fencers actually damaged our concrete posts when fitting the panels, leaving a large chip dent. Hopefully, they will be fine.
- Our new fence: concrete posts and fence panels
Best Fencing Panels for Wind
Now that we’ve discussed how the material of the posts affects your fencing, let’s jump right into the different types of wind-proof panels.
In this section, we’re all about resisting wind and reducing its impact on the fencing. Believe it or not, the most important quality for fencing in a windy area is the ability to let the wind pass through it. While it sounds counterproductive, it reduces the pressure on the fencing.
On the other hand, strong winds can blow solid fences over. So, here are the things you should consider in a panel to get the perfect combination.
Trellis panels take the philosophy of letting the air pass through very seriously. Their design is excellent for dissipating the stress that stronger winds produce. Besides their windproofing abilities, trellis panels are popular for their aesthetics and for growing climbing plants.
Some people prefer to use trellis panels as toppers instead of full panels for a bit of privacy, which is effective but not as strong as full trellis panels.
Of course, the strongest trellis panels are the ones supported by concrete posts.
Hit and Miss
Hit and Miss fencing panels are named that way because the planks are alternately placed on the front and the back of the fence. This design provides you with the privacy of a solid fence. However, it creates small gaps that are essential in dissipating the wind.
Hit and Miss panels are huge among people who love trellis fences but think they’re a bit too “open”.
Slatted fence panels are basically the same thing as Hit and Miss panels. They work by reducing the pressure of the strong winds. Instead of alternating placement, however, they are placed horizontally only, meaning they sit in rows.
In addition, they have a sleek look that makes them a popular choice for modern homes.
If privacy isn’t a top priority and you only care about having a fence that doesn’t blow over after strong winds, you will love picket fences.
Picket fences are the most simple and recognizable type of fence panels. They have an unbeatable aura of domesticity and cosiness that you don’t get with other panels. Of course, they’re a must-have in windy areas, thanks to the large gaps between the panels.
Wire Mesh (Commercial fencing)
Wire mesh fencing is an excellent way to show the wind who’s boss.
Does it look attractive, especially when compared to its non-wiry counterparts? No – best only for commercial areas. If not, it will remind you of public places and ugly construction sites.
That said, wire mesh fencing is the strongest type against strong winds and storms. It basically succeeds where other types of fencing fail.
While there isn’t a lot of privacy in a fence that lets an outsider see through it, it will prevent intruders from entering your area because the gaps are too small to climb.
Problems With Fencing and Wind
Here’s our garden fence in the North East of England – yes, it needs painting, but we haven’t been in this property long!
As you can see, the fence panels are spaced out to allow the wind to flow through the gaps, but this spacing is too much for us and we have lost a lot of privacy. Next door can watch us sipping our red wine on warm summer evenings.
Our solution, my next project, is to plant bamboo in pots running along this section (around 12ft). We don’t mind these gaps at the bottom of our garden, just where are patio area is.
- Our garden fence with spaces
A cheaper option would be to buy bamboo screening and simply attach it to the fence, but real bamboo will look better.
You could also use a good climber vine and attach a trellis to the section you want to create more privacy. We have passion flowers on another section of fence around our patio which gives great coverage.
Wind Resistant Fencing FAQ
How much wind can a fence take?
If you have good panel spacing a well-built fence could withstand 100+ MPH winds
How much wind can a PVC fence withstand?
A well-installed PVC (vinyl fence) can withstand 100 mph winds
Should a fence move in the wind?
Yes, it’s fine to have a bit of movement
Which is better cedar or pine fence?
Cedar fences are stronger than pine and less prone to water damage
How can I make my privacy fence stronger?
Ensure you have spaces between the panels for wind to flow through
What is the most economical type of fencing?
Trellis fences are probably the cheapest options from places like The Range
What is the best time of year to install a fence?
Spring is the best time to install your wind-resistant fence – pick a dry spell on your weather app.
What is the easiest fence to install?
If you are in a windy area of the UK, we would advise to use a professional for installation.
Mary shares a passion for gardening with her husband John, though she is more focused on growing veg on their allotment at St. Margaret’s Allotments, Durham. Mary also works in the lawn care industry and manages the lawns for the Durham University campus.