Nothing crashes a party—or rains on a parade—quite like a hurricane. Several regions across the United States are susceptible to this fierce natural phenomenon and the destruction potentially left in its wake. Notoriously unpredictable and at times catastrophic, proper precautions should always be taken to ensure your family’s safety and minimize damage to your home.
When you’re hunkered down inside during a hurricane, a well-prepped patio can offer invaluable peace of mind. Aside from trimming trees, clearing gutters, reinforcing structures, and dead-bolting exterior doors, there are several other ways to protect your outdoor spaces and investments throughout hurricane season—and especially in the event of a major storm.
Note: Please use these tips in conjunction with local and federal safety guidelines.
1. Start with Heavy-Duty Furniture
Stay one step ahead of Mother Nature by choosing weather-resistant furniture when designing or renovating your patio. While you can bring small and lightweight items like potted plants, lawn ornaments, and storage baskets inside, the same cannot always be said for sizable dining sets or outdoor sectionals. For those investments, you want ultra-durable materials that can withstand torrential rain and downed branches—and pieces with enough heft to not become airborne.
Turn large or top-heavy furniture upside down or on its side. We recommend uninstalling swings if a storm is approaching, but in a pinch, you can try securing those to (highly durable, reinforced) railing with ratchet straps and adding sandbags to the seats.
2. Opt for Stacking & Folding Designs
If you do plan to put outdoor furniture in a garage or bonus room, stackable and folding designs are the way to go. Easy to move and optimal for maximizing storage space, they make life so much easier pre- and post-storm. Even if you don’t have the extra square footage inside, stack those pieces up and tie them together with rope or straps. As they say, there’s strength in numbers.
3. Allot Storage Space for Accessories
The obvious way to protect cushions, pool toys, yard games, and other outdoor accessories from storm damage (or ending up in the neighbor’s yard) is by getting them inside. However, that’s not always possible due to time or space constraints. In those cases, heavy-duty outdoor storage will be your best friend. Better yet, look for containers that can also be used as tables or extra seating when the skies clear.
4. Problem-Solve Patio Umbrellas
Without proper precautions, patio umbrellas can quickly become hazardous. If left open, the canopy may flip up, tearing the fabric beyond repair. If kept upright or not weighed down, the entire thing’s at flight risk. Close and tie up the canopy and remove the entire umbrella from its base or table. Either bring it inside or place it down flat somewhere relatively protected (behind a shed or in between hedges). If it cannot be removed, close the canopy and ensure the pole is anchored by a heavy base—cast iron is preferable.
5. Grab Your Camera
While most furniture warranties exclude damages caused by hurricanes, you should still document your pre-hurricane patio. Depending on your insurance policies, you may be able to file claims and recoup associated costs.