How to rescue your garden after a storm

24th February 2024
Estimated reading time 5 minutes

The recent Winter storms of Gerrit, Henk, Isha and Jocelyn have left many of us looking woefully at our cherished gardens as high winds and heavy rain wreak havoc. Trees, shrubs, garden buildings and fencing have almost certainly taken a bruising. While the ground is feeling sodden and waterlogged. The really unlucky of us had the problem of flooding to also contend with.

Once the worst of the weather has passed, gardeners are left with the task of tidying up, restoring garden boundaries and preparing for when the next storm hits.

So here are our handy tips to help your garden recover to its previous pristine state.

Tips for restoring your garden after storm damage

1. Risk assessment

Before tackling any recovery tasks, first do a quick assessment of damage to prioritise what needs tackling urgently.

2. Tackle high priority tasks first

Broken tree trunk after stormy weather


Fallen branches or toppled trees should take priority, particularly if they’ve caused damage to surrounding structures. It’s essential that these are quickly made safe to prevent any further damage or accidents. Pruning back easy to reach damaged branches and stems is something you can do with a pair of loppers, secateurs or a saw. But where a tree is a substantial size, or the damage in a hard-to-reach spot, it’s always a good idea to seek the help of a professional. Not only to handle potentially lethal tools like chainsaws. But to also make sure that damaged branches are removed safely while preserving the shape and health of the tree.

Garden structures

Structures like fencing, green houses, sheds and other garden buildings are next. Fence panels and posts will either need replacing or repairing to keep garden boundaries safe and secure. Loose or broken panes of glass in a green house or garden building removed and repaired to avoid nasty accidents. As well as securing any loose material or fixtures on building. 

Heavy rain falling on roof and gutter


Ensuring excess water can be removed from your garden is key when it comes to bad weather. Check drains and gutters aren’t blocked by leaves or other storm debris to allow excess water to soak away.


Rivers bursting their banks or overloaded drains releasing diluted sewage are serious problems after heavy rain. If your garden is flooded after a storm, take extra care when clearing up. Always wear protective clothing such as rubber gloves and wellies. And make sure any cuts are covered with waterproof plasters. If you need to walk over sodden ground, use planks or stepping stones wherever possible to protect roots and avoid further soil compaction.

Hose down garden buildings, walls, features, hard landscaping and garden furniture to clean off the mud or sewage. You may also need to treat woodwork once it is dry.

Especially important is not to eat any fruit or vegetables contaminated with flood water. If sewage water affected your garden, then also check for the recommended length of time before growing edibles on the affected spot. To do so could risk further contamination through pathogens still present in the soil.

Thames Water and the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) advise at least a period of 12 months before growing crops in the affected soil.

Finally, it’s also a good idea to make a note of areas of the garden worst affected. This will allow you to change your garden layout and landscape to protect it from future flooding.  

3. Then a general tidy up

Remove debris

Tidy up loose branches and twigs. Collect leaves from the borders and remove from grass, paths, patios and ponds. Pick up and remove any broken garden ornamental items.

Small trees and shrubs

Cut back damaged stems and branches to just beyond  the damage, to the main stem or to an obvious junction of a branch. This will encourage new growth and prevent disease from entering at the point of the wound.

Where the roots of a shrub or young tree have been rocked by the winds you may need to firm these back into the ground. First stake the tree or shrub to bring it back to an upright position. Then add a mix of compost and slow-release fertiliser around the roots. Before shovelling soil back around the roots and using the heel of your boot to firm it in well. Finally give it a good water.

Plants and perennials

If storms hit during the summer or autumn, flowers may require deadheading to remove any rain damaged blooms or stems. For significant damage pruning stems right back is the best option and will promote fresh new growth.

Pots and containers

All pots need good drainage to stop plants sitting in water, which will eventually kill them. Either unblock drainage holes by giving it a good poke with a cane. Or, if the plant has been in the pot a while and become root bound, it’s good practice to repot it into a larger container. This gives the roots room to spread and deal with absorbing excess water. 

Water butts

Water storage can overfill and spill in heavy rain. Check water butts and consider fitting a diverter to direct excess water either into a drain or another water butt.

While the task of rescuing and restoring a garden after a storm is something we all need to do every once in a while. There are plenty of preventative measures to help your garden stand up to everything a storm can throw at it. 

How to rescue your garden after a storm

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