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Not having a patio doesn’t have to be an impediment to have a good time outside; a balcony is a perfect alternative many of us have. However, windy days can be a bit of a bother! Here, we present you with some practical balcony windscreen and wind blocking ideas!
The Higher You Are, The Windier It Gets
It’s just something we have to accept: those of us whose relaxation spot is a few meters above ground, will be hit harder by any gust of wind that comes our way. This is, among other reasons, because air that runs close to the ground meets obstacles (rocks, hydrants, post boxes, to name some examples), which are not present at balcony level. Air is also lighter at higher altitudes, which means that it will be more easily displaced by wind currents.
Best Balcony Windscreen and Wind Blocking Ideas: The Natural Way
When we think plants, we usually think patio; but it doesn’t have to be this way. If you love gardening, there are plenty of ways to bring some greenery to your balcony and preserve your space from the wind while you’re at it—as long as it meets the following criteria:
Flexible stems. So they will not crack or be toppled over when they’re hit by a strong breeze.
Strong roots. To maintain a good grip on the surrounding soil.
Smaller leaves. For letting some of the wind through, which reduces the resistance they present and therefore the risk of losing balance.
If you know plants that meet these requirements, then by all means begin looking for them. Otherwise, keep reading, as we will be providing you with a few examples to get you started:
Bamboo. We know of it, pandas love to eat it—but there is an important distinction to be made. Few know this, but there are two main types of bamboo: running, and clumping. The former is infamous for quickly spreading and becoming invasive, the latter is the type you want. As its name suggests, it grows straight up, in a clump, and it doesn’t expand, which makes it ideal as a potted plant. It’s hardy, requires little maintenance, and it can grow to 12′ in some cases, which can be easily kept in check via trimming. Example: Umbrella bamboo.
Bottlebrush. Also known as callistemon, this evergreen plant is tolerant to both droughts and deer (though the latter is unlikely to be a problem this high up). It does well in almost any sort of soil, from acidic to well drained. If possible, it should be placed some feet away from when the gatherings will be happening, as bees may be drawn to it in the spring. This plant is native to Australia, but you can find it ready for planting within the US.
Caryopteris. This medium-sized shrub is sought after due to its eye-catching blue flowers and pleasant scent. It can endure harsh winters, though it might require pruning in the spring. Best to plant in well-drained soil, under the sun or partial shade. Can be purchased already in pot.
When Planting, Think Concrete
It’s heavy, to be sure (and if you take this option you should always take into account the weight limit of your balcony), but there are a few perks to be gained from this sort of planters.
Insulation. Concrete is dense enough to keep the roots within warm even during winter, and it is great for preventing leaks that may leave your plant thirsty.
Longevity. This material is tough to crack, which means your plants won’t so easily be left without their refuge.
Depth. Planters in this material are more easy to come by in larger sizes, which is optimal if you’re looking to bring bigger plants into your space.
The Natural Look, Without The Upkeep
As much as we may enjoy greenery, some of us are simply denied the skill (or time) to properly take care of plants. If that is your case, you need not worry, as there are quite a few alternatives for wind breaking which can provide a natural vibe to your space without requiring special maintenance. Here are a few examples:
Nearly Natural Ficus. It may look like the real thing, but it isn’t. Made in a combination of synthetic materials such as plastic and polyester, this tree features just over 1,000 leaves in its branches, which only need straightening up once upon arrival. After that, a light dusting or spot cleaning with a damp rag is all it needs to maintain a fresh evergreen look. Other varieties and heights available.
ULAND Artificial Boxwood Hedges Panels. Who said hedges are hard to achieve? This package comes with 12 pieces, each measuring 20″ on each side, and plastic ties are included so you can easily affix the panels anywhere you want—such as your balcony’s railing. Their look is so natural and so full, you might end up getting a few for your next big event!
DOEWORKS Expandable Privacy Screen. You take a lattice, and you add some greenery: that is how you get a trellis. This artificial alternative not only provides privacy and a buffer against the wind, it is also quite likely to boost your area’s looks thanks to its flowers, something that most similar products do not include. The artificial greenery is mounted on a real willow frame, and the only water it needs is for washing dust and particles away. Available in one size, only, it can be purchased in 1, 2, or 4 count, which should be enough to cover just about any area you have in mind.
Good Old Barriers
Some decoration themes go more towards a modern look than a natural one—and that’s okay! If all you want is something between you and the wind, and don’t mind (or prefer) a solid color, then you might like one of the following alternatives:
SUNLAX Balcony Privacy Screen. Installing this one may be as simple as putting up a tarp (run the fasteners through the rustproof eyelets, anchor it to the railing, the end), but it comes with added benefits: made in high density HDPE material, this sail shade blocks up to 90% light for optimal privacy, and its breathable composition allows some air through while blocking most of the wind. Available in different sizes (width being the main variation), its selection of 7 colors and patterns makes it easier to find an option that will complement the area’s aesthetic theme.
VERSARE Economical Portable Partition. This one is not specifically intended for balconies—it is not weatherproof, for starters—and it is overall more expensive than the other alternatives we’ve covered so far, but it might be a good choice if you would like something you can cart away when the wind is not an issue. Each segment is comprised of 5 panels, each 2′ in width, for a total coverage potential of 10′, and you can choose between 4′, 6′, and 6’10” heights. Available in beige, black, blue and pewter.
In Closing: Best Balcony Windscreen and Wind Blocking Ideas
There is no longer any need to stay away from the balcony on windy days; no more reason to have any fear of your items toppling over, your hair getting tousled, and your words getting carried miles away the second they leave your mouth. No compromising on looks, either. Whatever your preference, whatever the vibe you’re looking for, you now know which way to go. Now that you’ve got your wind problem under control, check out our guide to hanging lights quick and easy, without nails!