Protecting from hail

Last year we got essentially no tomatoes and not much else because of a string of hail storms. We are now in hail season through august. Our garden is in the front of the house in a couple of raised beds. For the first time ive done hoop houses over two of them and the plants are thriving. Now things are getting tall enough that the hoop houses will need to be removed. Most of our tomatoes are in the 4-5’ tall category (currently half that) and im trying to come up with physical hail protection ideas that can ideally be left out but since i work from home something that can be put on in short notice works too…heres the kicker: because the garden is in front of the house and i see clients here (and generally for neighbors and us) i dont want something tremendously unsightly.

What ideas have you tried to protect plants from hail?

A nice wooden frame with a removeable shade cloth with grommets on the edges so that you can tie to the frame when the need arises.


At least two damaging hail storms per year are just about a given along the Front Range. I’ve played around with a few different designs over the years; here’s where I’m currently at on my four main beds in my backyard:

Essentially I have four 2x2’s at the corner of each bed with galvanized wire connecting two each. I then have some shade cloth with butterfly clips attaching it to the wires. This allows you to slide it out for hail protection (or shade, as I find the CO sun too intense for a lot of plants) or slide it all at on end if you want full sun or a more “kept” look.

Again, this is my backyard so I’m not too concerned about how it looks. I’m guessing with the right carpentry skills you could make it look pretty attractive for a front yard.