Deck Wind Shelters

A new deck can suggest all sorts of possibilities for families and homeowners, and these will be truly realised once the deck is nearly complete and they are starting to use it. In a relatively windy environment probably the first idea that will get discussed is how desirable it is to use the deck except for the fact that it is really windy. The confident homeowner deck builder will feel comfortable constructing a wind screen or screens in order to provide sheltered periods on the deck, but they will need to do some research in order to find out what the appropriate screen is. Alternatively you can build a pergola.

The first thing they will discover when they research the topic is that a solid screen does not cut out any wind, but instead creates a lot of turbulence even when sitting immediately behind the screen. This can be easily demonstrated by using a stick of a round 1 metre with a long white ribbon tied to it, and observing the turbulence at all points behind the solid screen.

It’s somewhat counter-intuitive, but the ideal screen is some sort of trellis arrangement that has air gaps, with about 50% air gaps appearing to be ideal. What happens in this case is that the wind does make it’s way through the air gaps, but each gap generates its own turbulence which ends up largely cancelling out all the turbulence from the adjacent gaps. The end result is that even in a very strong wind the ribbon will hang limp right up to the edge of the screen, but will become horizontal and very turbulent beyond the screen edge.

This means that a really effective wind shelter can be constructed from low-cost trellis from any hardware store, as long as it is mounted on strong posts and braced along it’s length. The competent home handyman can construct this easily, although it would be a sensible step to test two or three different types of trellis to see which gives the best result.

The competent home handyman will also begin to think about having a movable screen that could be adjusted for different wind conditions and directions. This will obviously require a strong mounting arrangement, which could include attachments on the deck at various points. The ultimate goal his to create sheltered spaces on the deck that are usable in windy but sunny environments, as this will encourage the family to spend much more time outdoors heating and relaxing. The shelter will obviously be important for any BBQ that is setup.