A good windbreak can make all the difference - for your house, for your garden, for being outside comfortably. It's important to protect natural windbreaks and integrate new ones in the design of your property and garden - different types in various places. In my permaculture garden I have designed edible windbreaks, and at my parent's place, their windbreak is the natural tea tree foreshore reserve. Both have great habitat value for native species and the people living there.
|Natural windbreak on coastal foreshore (Image: Morag Gamble)|
The bonus too is that the lilly pilly (Syzygium spp) fruit is edible and the grey myrtle/cinnamon myrtle (Backhousia myrlifolia) leaves make a lovely tea.
|The Grey Myrtle has lovely foliage - dense green with slightly red new growth. These new leaves are my favourite parts to harvest for teas and flavouring in soups and curries (a kind of nutmeg, cinnamon aroma)|
|Backhousea myrtifolia, Grey Myrtle, is a good windbreak plant in this region - and an Australian native from the rainforest margins. (Image source: 1 million women)|
My windbreak also shades our house in the afternoon making the hot summers more tolerable on the verandah. This is important to me, because it means we can use this outdoor space - our main living room and homeschool classroom for most of the day. I love the windbreak too because these trees are full of a diversity of birds, and just sitting outside while I work, I am surrounded by birdlife and birdsong.
I usually plant temporary in-garden windbreaks to help new vegetable gardens areas become established. I often use Canna edulis or lemongrass because they grow quickly and are easy to manage and remove later. As well as wind protection, these plants also provide afternoon shade for young vegetables and other perennials. Once the perennial kitchen garden system is up and running, I phase out the extent of the canna and lemongrass, move it elsewhere, mulch it, eat it ....
|Canna edulis has large leaves that grow quickly and provide great shade, protection and mulch, as well as food - a great multifunctional permaculture plant in this climate. (Image: Morag Gamble)|
Designing a windbreak to be multi-functional is the key - to provide wind protection, to provide shade, to provide food, fodder, mulch, timber, habitat, and other resources. I am also very careful to select species near my house that have low flammability and are recommended.
More information is coming soon about the windbreaks at my place on my Our Permaculture Life youtube channel. I am making a short information clip to upload.