12 Hurricane-Resistant Landscaping Ideas for St. Augustine, FL

As hurricane season approaches, homeowners begin to prepare their homes for potential damage. While many focus on strengthening their home’s structure, they may overlook the importance of hurricane-resistant landscaping. A landscape that’s well-designed will not only add beauty to your home but also provide protection from wind and water damage during a hurricane.

By using hurricane-resistant plants, designing windbreaks, and implementing proper maintenance, your landscaping can help reduce the risk of damage to your property. Here are 12 hurricane-resistant landscaping ideas for St. Augustine to help you prepare for the upcoming hurricane season.

In this article, we’ll cover: 

  1. Install a Seawall
  2. Build Hurricane-Resistant Fencing
  3. Plant Wind-Resistant Trees
  4. Choose Native and Salt-Tolerant Plants
  5. Plan Tree Placements Away from Buildings and Power Lines
  6. Group Trees Together
  7. Install a Backyard Buffer
  8. Use Organic, Soft Mulch for Your Garden Beds
  9. Perform Regular Landscape Maintenance
  10. Clear Storm Drain Paths
  11. Cover Your Plants
  12. Turn Off Automatic Sprinklers

12 Hurricane-Resistant Landscaping Ideas for St. Augustine

You can follow these suggestions to make your landscape aesthetically pleasing and capable of enduring the turbulent winds and heavy rainfall that come with the hurricane season:

1. Install a Seawall

If your property is situated on the waterfront, it is imperative to construct a seawall. The purpose of seawalls is to shield your home against the unrelenting pummeling of waves and avert erosion. Plus, having a seawall can help you avoid floods during storm surges.

When selecting a seawall for your property, you must consider various aspects, like the material to use and the associated cost. Opt for a seawall material that can endure the forces of the Atlantic Ocean, such as the following:

  • Composite
  • Concrete
  • Riprap (loose stone)
  • Vinyl

If you don’t have a seawall, the shoreline will progressively erode. This, in turn, can inflict substantial damage to your waterfront property. Apart from helping you prevent flooding of your property during storms, seawalls can save you a considerable amount of money in terms of repairs. Hence, it’s crucial not to use materials that decay or corrode over time.

Materials to avoid:

  • Metal
  • Wood

Estimated cost: The cost of building a seawall will depend on the material chosen, with costs varying between $113 to $770 per linear foot. But if you leave your property unprotected, the cost of restoring water damage can be significantly higher.

2. Build Hurricane-Resistant Fencing

When preparing for a hurricane, homeowners often neglect backyard fences. Nevertheless, choosing the right type of fence appropriate for your home can have a significant impact. Remember to prioritize durability.

Benefits of hurricane-resistant fencing:

  • Reduces the risk of the fence being destroyed
  • Helps in lowering expenses for fence repair or replacement

You might think that a solid privacy fence is most effective because it can obstruct the wind. However, the absence of air circulation can cause it to give way under the force of high winds. Wooden fences, even the most robust, can be toppled over easily if there are no gaps large enough to permit the wind to flow through.

Types of fencing to avoid:

  • Wood
  • Any type of solid privacy fence

Avoid spending a lot of money on fence replacements and repairs after a storm by investing in a fence that can resist hurricanes. Choose fences that have slats. The following are types of fencing that enable wind to move through with minimal obstruction:

  • Aluminum
  • Chain-link
  • Masonry
  • Vinyl
  • Wrought-iron

Estimated Cost: Fence installation costs fluctuate depending on the material you choose, with the cost usually ranging from $8 to $46 per linear foot. Chain-link fences are typically priced between $12 and $33 per linear foot.

3. Plant Wind-Resistant Trees

image of palm trees in florida

Photo Credit: Shadowmeld Photography / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

Having a hurricane-resistant landscape with wind-resistant trees can be extremely helpful when a hurricane passes through. These types of trees have robust and deep roots, a lower center of gravity, and sturdy trunks, reducing the probability of being uprooted by high-speed winds. This decreases the likelihood of your trees becoming a danger to your property or community.

Each tree species has unique characteristics, and some are more susceptible to wind damage than others. Here are some of the most exceptional tree species with excellent wind resistance:

  • Bald cypress (Taxodium distichum)
  • Crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica)
  • Sabal palmetto (Sabal jamesiana)
  • Sand live oak (Quercus geminata)
  • Southern live oak (Quercus virginiana)
  • Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora)

Avoid planting certain trees in areas prone to hurricane winds, as they are more susceptible to wind damage. The University of Florida IFAS Extension states that the following trees should be avoided in hurricane-prone regions like St. Augustine:

  • Chinese elm
  • Laurel oak
  • Sand pipe
  • Water oak

Estimated Cost: The cost of professional tree planting services can vary significantly, ranging from $22 to $3,300. The total cost will be influenced by several factors, including the type of tree species, as well as its age and size. Typically, the expenses will be lower for small saplings than for larger, more mature trees.

4. Choose Native and Salt-Tolerant Plants

For homeowners who want to maintain a healthy lawn, living near the coast presents a unique challenge due to salty coastal air that can damage plants not suited for the environment. However, choosing the right plants can help. You should select native and salt-tolerant plants that can adapt to local environmental conditions and thrive in areas with high salt content in the soil and air.

Homeowners in St. Augustine prefer native plants because they have already evolved to survive in the specific climate and soil of the region. In addition, salt-tolerant plants can withstand high levels of salt water, making them perfect for coastal gardens.

One of the key benefits of choosing salt-tolerant and native plants is that they require less maintenance and watering, which can save time and money. They also lessen the need for pesticides, fertilizers, and other environmentally harmful chemicals.

The University of Florida IFAS extension recommends several popular native and salt-tolerant plants for coastal landscapes, including:


  • Fakahatchee grass
  • Muhly grass
  • Sea oats
  • St. Augustinegrass
  • Zoysiagrass

Groundcovers and flowers:

  • Beach sunflower
  • Calendula
  • Gaillardia
  • Gopher apple
  • Railroad vine
  • Seaside goldenrod
  • Zinnia

Trees and shrubs:

  • Agaves
  • Coontie
  • Firebush
  • Hibiscus
  • Lantana
  • Live oak
  • Magnolia
  • Oleander
  • Pineapple guava
  • Sabal palm
  • Saltbush
  • Saw palmetto
  • Soapberry
  • Southern red cedar
  • Wax myrtle
  • Wild coffee
  • Yaupon
  • Yucca


  • Bougainvillea

These plants not only make your coastal landscape beautiful, but they also help support local ecosystems.

Estimated Cost: The cost of planting a tree can range from a budget-friendly $90 to a more expensive $3,212. Similarly, planting a flower bed can cost anywhere from $861 to $3,100, depending on factors such as the size of the bed and the type of flowers you choose.

5. Plan Tree Placements Away From Your House and Power Lines

image of trees with electric poles and wires

Photo Credit: Matthew Paul Argall / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Careful consideration of tree placements is crucial to prevent them from causing property damage during a storm. While trees help enhance a property’s curb appeal and provide shade, you must keep them away from structures such as buildings and power lines.

To determine where to plant your trees, consider their size at maturity and their root systems. A tree planted too close to a home or power line may cause property damage or power outages during a storm.

Keeping trees away from structures can bring many benefits. It can reduce the risk of property damage during a storm, prevent power outages caused by falling or swaying trees, and reduce maintenance costs. Planting trees too close to power lines or your home may require more frequent pruning and maintenance, which can be time-consuming and expensive.

To ensure safe and effective tree placement, follow these tips:

  • Before planting, always contact 811 to obtain information about utility lines in your area. Avoid planting trees directly above these lines and opt for shrubs instead.
  • If you’re planting near power lines, choose tall grasses or shrubs instead of trees.
  • If planting a large tree, keep it at least 12 feet away from utility lines.
  • To prevent damage to your home’s foundation, plant trees at least 5 feet away and consider the tree’s mature width.
  • If you have trees near your driveway, remove any low-hanging branches that could damage your car or garage door.
  • Avoid planting trees close to septic systems or drain fields to prevent root damage over time.
  • When planting several trees, consider their mature height and width to determine the space required between them.

Estimated Cost: The typical cost of tree removal services ranges from $347 to $1,117 per tree. For transplanting trees, it can cost anywhere between $158 and $880.

6. Group Trees Together

Trees can provide functional and aesthetic benefits when planted strategically. Planting trees in clusters of five or more can improve their resilience to high winds by over 10%, making them more effective in safeguarding your property during hurricane season. Additionally, grouping five trees with diverse appearances and heights can further enhance your property’s visual appeal.

However, you should avoid planting trees in a straight line. The University of Florida recommends a natural and unforced arrangement for planting trees – each tree must be within 10 feet of the other. This approach can create a strong and sustainable windbreak.

By planting trees in groups, you can enjoy many benefits beyond just the beauty they bring to your lawn. Here are a few advantages of grouping trees:

  • Enhanced wind resistance: When trees are planted in clusters, they tend to grow more robust and sturdy, which helps them resist high winds and other extreme weather conditions.
  • Improved energy efficiency: Trees can help regulate temperature by blocking wind and providing shade. When planted in groups, they can create a microclimate that reduces cooling and heating costs for your home.
  • Better for wildlife: Grouping trees can create a natural habitat for wildlife, which can help support local ecosystems and biodiversity.

Estimated Cost: Tree prices vary greatly depending on species and size, but the usual costs range from $150 to $1,850. To lower the cost per tree or sapling, you can purchase them in bulk. Plus, installing several trees will be less expensive per tree than having a single tree installed, so consider this when planning your landscape.

7. Install a Backyard Buffer

Creating a backyard buffer is a great way of preventing flooding and erosion caused by hurricanes while also creating a beautiful natural environment in your backyard.

A backyard buffer or riparian buffer is made up of trees, shrubs, flowers, and mulch that work together to absorb and slow down wind and water. By preventing the full force of the storm from reaching your home, the buffer can protect your property from damage and protect waterways from overheating.

Once established, your backyard buffer can provide many benefits, including:

  • Offers shade
  • Provides privacy
  • Helps reduce noise pollution
  • Reduces risk of property damage from tropical storms and flood
  • Supports wildlife by serving as natural habitat
  • Protects waterways from overheating
  • Lessens the chance of erosion
  • Boosts property value

To create a backyard buffer, choose native plants that can withstand heavy rains and high winds, such as Southern live oak and bald cypress. They also have strong roots that help keep the soil in place and prevent erosion. Additionally, you can use low-maintenance shrubs like firebush and wax myrtle to create a buffer zone around your home.

When installing your backyard buffer, remember to consult with garden centers, local nurseries, or environmental organizations for expert advice on creating a buffer suited for St. Augustine.

Estimated Cost: There are many options for selecting plants, and prices will vary depending on the type of plant. For example, small native perennials are generally less expensive and can cost anywhere from $4 to $25 each. On the other hand, planting a tree can cost much higher, ranging from $22 to $3,300, depending on the tree species, size, and age.

8. Use Organic, Soft Mulch for Your Garden Beds

Brown mulch ready to be installed in lawn

Photo Credit: Pxhere

Hurricane season can wreak havoc on your garden beds, so you should prepare them accordingly. Mulch is an essential part of maintaining a healthy garden, but remember to select the right kind to prevent damage during high winds.

Organic, soft mulches are highly recommended for areas like St. Augustine that experience high winds. During a storm, hard and heavy mulches can become dangerous projectiles, causing damage to your property and neighboring homes.

Examples of organic, soft mulch:

  • Chipped or shredded wood
  • Fallen leaves
  • Newspaper
  • Pine needles or bark
  • Shredded pieces of bark

Unlike hard mulches, such as pebbles, pea gravel, stones, and river rock, organic mulches remain in place better. Plus, they offer numerous benefits to plants, like providing insulation to plant roots, suppressing weed growth, and retaining moisture in the soil.

When selecting the type of soft mulch, avoid using any materials that may harbor disease or pests. Freshly cut grass clippings should be avoided since they can generate heat and attract harmful organisms. Also, avoid using straw or hay as they may contain weed seeds that will proliferate in your garden beds.

Estimated Cost: On average, aged wood chips are priced at approximately $70 per cubic yard, while shredded bark mulch costs around $65 per cubic yard. Alternatively, you can get fresh wood chips for free from a certified arborist or a local tree recycling center. Or you can make your own mulch by composting leaves, providing a nutrient-rich material for your garden beds.

9. Perform Regular Landscape Maintenance

To protect your yard from the effects of extreme weather, you should prioritize regular maintenance. This applies not just to your garden and lawn but also to your trees.

Inspect Your Trees

Inspecting your existing trees regularly is an important part of maintaining a healthy and resilient landscape, particularly in the months leading up to hurricane season. Damaged or diseased trees can pose a significant threat to your property and safety during extreme weather events.

During inspections, look for signs of damage or disease, such as yellowing leaves, dead branches, and cracks in the trunk. If you leave dying or weakened trees untouched, even mild winds can cause them to fall. So if you want to avoid more problems later on, you should address these issues immediately.

To ensure you identify all hazardous trees on your property, consider hiring a certified arborist to inspect them. These professionals can identify hazardous trees in your yard, and you can work together to develop an effective plan for safely removing them.

Prune and Trim Trees

To avoid property damage caused by falling branches during a storm, it’s important to take preventive measures in your landscape. Strong winds can easily snap branches, creating a potential hazard for your property. A seemingly harmless long branch hanging over your roof could cause significant damage if it’s not removed in time.

To prevent such scenarios, be sure to prune and trim any weak or overgrown branches on your existing trees. Regular maintenance will ensure your plants are healthy and strong, and won’t succumb to high winds during a storm. If you don’t want a broken branch to smash through a window, damage your car or cause injury, you should keep your trees in good shape.

Maintain Your Yard

Keeping your property safe during high winds requires more than just tree maintenance. You also should keep your lawn and garden well-maintained by regularly mowing, weeding, and removing debris. This will prevent any hazards from flying around during storms. Regularly fertilizing your lawn and garden can help ensure that your plants remain strong and healthy, and able to withstand extreme weather conditions.

Estimated Cost: Bush trimming can range from $45 to $75 per hour or $7 to $24 per bush, depending on the type of bush and the amount of work needed. Hedge trimming can cost between $56 and $85 per hour, while tree trimming costs can range from $227 to $708, depending on the size and complexity of the job.

10. Clear Storm Drain Paths

storm drain with leaves and tree debris on the grate

Photo Credit: Fried Dough / Flickr / Public Domain

To prevent potential damage caused by rain, you should take precautions to ensure the proper flow of stormwater. This includes:

  • Cleaning your gutters
  • Clearing your storm drain
  • Inspecting your downspouts
  • Removing any debris from your lawn
  • Removing any landscaping features that may block water flow

Standing water or puddling can be a risk to your property and weaken roots, making trees more susceptible to damage during storms. A French drain is an effective solution to prevent water from pooling in your yard. This involves installing a drainpipe that redirects water away from your home and ensures proper drainage.

Estimated Cost: Be prepared to spend anywhere from $154 to $1,059 to have your yard cleaned up. If you’ll be having a French drain installed, it can cost from $500 for a small, simple project to $18,000 for a larger or more complex installation.

11. Cover Your Plants

In addition to clearing debris, trimming trees, and installing drainage systems, another way of preparing your yard for an impending storm is to provide extra protection for your plants. This can be achieved by wrapping trees and large plants with burlap, which will help to reduce the impact of strong winds.

For smaller plants, using a floating row cover and securing it to the ground with garden stakes is a good option. Although these covers may not withstand severe hurricanes, they can still provide protection and lessen the amount of damage.

Estimated Cost: Burlap comes in different sizes and prices, ranging from $7 to $180 per roll. On the other hand, floating row covers have a cost of $11 to $240 per cover, depending on their size and type.

12. Turn Off Automatic Sprinklers

To ensure your lawn and plants recover quickly after a hurricane, you should be mindful of the amount of water they receive. While automatic sprinklers can be convenient during the year, they can cause further damage during a storm. Excessive water can saturate your lawn, and the plants may struggle to recover from it.

You should turn off your water supply entirely to prevent damage from burst pipes during a storm. Once the hurricane has passed, assess the damage and adjust the watering schedule accordingly to give your plants the time they need to recover.

Estimated Cost: You don’t have to spend a dime. In fact, it can help lower your monthly water bill.

Protect Your St. Augustine Home Before a Hurricane Strikes

Even though St. Augustine is not as susceptible to hurricane damage as other cities, you must take the necessary precautions and be prepared before hurricane season arrives. Keeping yourself updated with weather forecasts and following storm warnings can help you minimize potential damage to your home and ensure your family’s safety.

Do the following to prepare for a hurricane:

  • Check your home’s exterior and identify any areas that are vulnerable to high winds or flooding.
  • Prepare an emergency kit that contains essential items like flashlights, first aid kits, canned goods, and drinking water.
  • Clean your downspouts and gutters to prevent water damage.
  • Inspect your roof, siding, windows, and doors for any signs of damage or weakness.
  • Address any areas of concern and reinforce your roof or install impact-resistant windows and doors if needed.
  • Prepare your yard by securing loose items such as patio furniture, potted plants, and outdoor decor to prevent them from becoming projectiles during high winds.
  • Inspect your roof for loose shingles or metal sheets that could fall on your home or power lines.

FAQ About Hurricane-Resistant Landscaping Ideas

What are the best hurricane-resistant grasses?

If you’re looking for hurricane-resistant grass options, Zoysiagrass and St. Augustinegrass are the best grass types for you.

Zoysiagrass is a warm-season turfgrass that is highly resistant to strong winds and requires minimal maintenance. Additionally, it’s an excellent choice for homes located along the First Coast due to its salt tolerance.

On the other hand, the warm-season St. Augustinegrass is native to coastal areas. It’s known for its resilience in humid and hot weather conditions, heavy foot traffic, and rough weather conditions. It’s also salt-tolerant and can be an excellent option for homeowners looking for hurricane-resistant grasses.

What time of year do hurricanes usually hit the Southern U.S.?

The Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean offer a conducive environment for hurricanes to develop and strengthen, especially during the peak of the hurricane season, which falls between mid-August and late October. But hurricane season usually begins June 1 and lasts until Nov. 30.

How often do hurricanes hit St. Augustine?

Like Jacksonville, St. Augustine is highly susceptible to hurricanes because of its location along the East Coast. While hurricanes can strike this area at any time, the frequency of these storms varies from year to year.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), St. Augustine has been affected by tropical storms or hurricanes approximately every two to three years over the past century. Note, though, that this is not a fixed pattern, and some years may see more or fewer storms. You must always remain vigilant and prepared for the potential impact of these powerful storms.

Protect Your Home With Hurricane-Resistant Landscaping

As St. Augustine homeowners know all too well, hurricanes are an ever-present threat during the storm season. However, taking proactive steps to prepare for hurricanes can go a long way.

One key aspect of hurricane preparedness is creating hurricane-resistant landscaping. By selecting the right plants, installing barriers and drainage systems, and securing loose items in your yard, you can help minimize damage to your home and ensure your family’s safety.
Don’t wait until the next storm is on the horizon to take action. Reach out to a St. Augustine landscaping professional today and create a beautiful and resilient landscape that can withstand even the toughest storms.

Main Image Credit: Wallpaperflare

About Wikilawn

Wikilawn’s mission is to provide the best resources and information to help you enjoy your outdoor spaces the way you want. Whether you are a DIY, lawn-loving, gardening guru, or someone who wants help in picking a local lawn care professional, we can smooth your path to a beautiful backyard!

About Wikilawn

Wikilawn’s mission is to provide the best resources and information to help you enjoy your outdoor spaces the way you want. Whether you are a DIY, lawn-loving, gardening guru, or someone who wants help in picking a local lawn care professional, we can smooth your path to a beautiful backyard!