Shingle-ripping wind and roof-puncturing hail are often two of the aspects of storms that people think of most when imagining roof damage. However damaging those two can be, though, there's a third aspect that can be just as bad: the items in your yard, from lawn chairs to loose branches. You can prevent a whole lot of damage just by taking care of your yard and garden, both right before a storm and over the long term. Doing so will reduce the chances of your having to clean up a giant mess.

Tie Things Down

No matter how sturdy those lawn chairs or fence panels look, if any of them are loose, or if you have anything else like toys left loose in the yard, you will have a bunch of projectiles during the next windstorm. It doesn't take much for smaller items or those that allow for some lift to be caught by a strong wind gust. Even if you don't believe that these items could somehow make it up onto your roof, you know they could make it up onto a neighbor's roof. If everyone in the area tied things down or brought things inside before a storm, overall damage would be reduced noticeably; if everyone kept things secured on a daily basis (just in case a storm were to hit when people were at work), damage could be reduced even more.

Trim Those Branches

Loose or damaged branches form one of the biggest problems during storms. Winds knock these branches out of trees, and if the branches are above your roof, chances are they will land on the roof, causing damage. Have all of the trees in your yard, but especially the ones nearest your house, inspected each year -- preferably more than that -- to ensure that all branches have been trimmed back from the house and that loose, damaged, and dying branches have been removed.

Feed and Water Those Trees

Another problem from trees is the toppling-over risk. If the tree has shallow roots or sick roots, it's not going to hold onto the soil as well as it should. Winds and heavy rain can work together to loosen the soil and make the tree fall, often onto the house. Fertilize and water trees appropriately so that they remain healthy and have a better chance of withstanding wind and soaked soil. If you're planning a garden or planning to replace trees, look for those with fibrous root systems or taproots that anchor the trees well.

Damage from severe storms might not be that easy to avoid altogether. However, by eliminating the yard and garden as sources of damaging projectiles, you can make it easier for your house to survive intact. For more tips on saving your roof from storm damage, talk to roofers such as FirstChoice Exteriors to find out what they've seen work well.