Is there anything more annoying than seeing your beautiful outdoor curtains flapping violently in the breeze? The constant motion not only creates noise, but risks tearing your curtains or pulling them loose. After investing time and money into creating your ideal outdoor oasis, it can be incredibly frustrating to see your curtains blow around without control.
Luckily, there are solutions for preventing your outdoor curtains from flying away in windy conditions. The most effective approach is to add subtle weights to the bottom hems. This provides just enough anchoring to keep the panels stable and secure. Read on to learn why outdoor curtains blow around, problems it causes, and how to easily weigh down hems for beautifully behaved patio curtains.
Why Outdoor Curtains Get Tossed Around by the Wind
Outdoor curtains blow around for two main reasons – the fabric properties and typical outdoor conditions. Sheer or lightweight fabrics flutter easily, catching even the slightest breeze. The large surface area of most curtains gives wind a lot to grab onto. Outdoor areas also tend to be quite windy, with frequent gusts that send your curtains billowing.
Fabric Properties That Contribute to Blowing
Many outdoor curtains and drapes are made from lightweight, billowy fabrics like cotton, linen, or polyester. The open and loose weaves that make these materials airy also allow wind to whip right through them. Sheer fabrics flutter even more as the wind passes through the minimal threads. Having a large surface area also catches more wind, especially on wide or long panels.
Typical Outdoor Conditions
Outdoor spaces are inherently windier than indoor areas. Constant gusts and breezes are typical, especially on balconies or in high elevation locations. Open surroundings with no buildings, trees, or fencing to block the wind also increase blustery conditions. These frequent wind gusts easily toss lightweight curtains around.
Problems Caused by Blowing Outdoor Curtains
Allowing your outdoor curtains to blow around in the wind can cause an array of aesthetic, functional, and safety issues. At best, it’s annoying. At worst, your curtains could be damaged or create hazards.
Visually, it simply doesn’t look good to have curtains flapping in the breeze. The motion creates distracting noise as the fabric collides with itself or hardware. Opening and closing your curtains repeatedly also leads to rips, fraying, or having them become tangled or bunched up.
When breezes blow your outdoor curtains open, it eliminates the shade and privacy they were installed to provide. The excessive motion can also damage the curtains themselves or bend curtain rods. In extreme cases, wildly billowing curtains can pull completely free from their mounting hardware.
There are also potential safety hazards to uncontrolled curtain blowing. Fastened hardware can tear right out of the curtains when whipped by wind, sending brackets or rods crashing down. Loose panels could also blow right into surrounding furniture, plants or structures, causing damage.
Best Fabrics for Outdoor Curtains
Choosing heavyweight, durable fabrics can help minimize blowing. Look for sturdy materials with wind resistant properties and that are designed to withstand outdoor elements. Some top options include:
Sturdy, Heavyweight Fabrics
- Canvas – Dense cotton blend that resists tearing
- Duck cloth – Sturdy, tightly woven cotton canvas
- Outdoor decorative fabrics – Specifically designed for windy patio use
- Tight weaves – Prevent gusts from blowing through fabric
- Sturdy seams and edges – Reinforce points prone to tearing
- Durable grommets – Withstand friction and pulling
- Acrylic – Colorfast and water-resistant
- Polyester – Maintain shape in damp conditions
- Olefin – Extremely durable synthetic fibers
Hanging Methods to Minimize Blowing
In addition to fabric selection, proper hanging techniques also reduce billowing:
Secure Mounting Hardware
Choose strong metal or hardwood rods over smaller plastic versions, and select a size capable of handling heavyweight curtains. External or recessed rods mounted securely into studs are best. Heavy duty brackets keep rods stable in wind gusts.
Reinforced Hanging Points
Instead of just rod pockets, use grommets, preferably placed no more than 6 inches apart. Or utilize both rod pockets and grommets for extra strength. This reduces stress on individual hanging points.
Weighted Bottom Hem
Finally, weighing down the bottom hem prevents the entire curtain from blowing around. The extra density keeps panels anchored and stable. This is the most effective technique to stop billowing.
How to Add Weights to Hem
Readymade weights, DIY options and proper distribution methods prevent your outdoor curtains from taking flight:
Readymade Curtain Weights
Purchase weights designed specifically for weighting curtains and drapes. Look for slim metal drapery weights that slide into hidden hemp pockets. Bean bag or plastic pellet weights also work well for outdoor curtains. Look for types made with weather resistant materials.
To save money, it’s easy to make your own custom weights. Washers, nuts and bolts, ball chains, or pebbles can all be stitched into bottom hems. Fishing sinkers slipped into small cloth pouches are another inexpensive DIY option.
Evenly Distributing Weight
Regardless of the weight type, evenly spacing them out is key. Place them in the center of each pair of grommets or hidden pockets every 6 to 12 inches. This prevents edges from drooping or sagging under excess weight.
Securing Edges and Corners
In addition to weighting the bottoms, securing the outer edges and corners also reduces wind billowing. Try these methods:
Tiebacks and Holdbacks
Hook tiebacks onto screws anchored into walls or pillars on either side of the curtain panel. Floor-mounted tieback hooks also hold edges in place.
Straps and Ropes
Make DIY holdbacks by threading rope or cord through grommets or the bottom hem. Tie the ends to stakes in the ground or anchors on the wall to keep edges taut.
Bungee Cords and Toggles
Loop bungee cords through grommets and secure toggles or hooks on the other side to keep panels from swaying open. The elasticity allows some movement while still reducing billowing.
Pro Tips for Weighting Outdoor Curtains
Follow these professional tips when weighing down outdoor curtains for maximum wind resistance without compromising appearance or functionality:
Check Weight Ratings
Before hanging heavyweight or weighted curtains, confirm the weight capacity of the rods, mounting hardware, anchors, and other components. Calculate total estimated weight to avoid sagging or safety hazards.
Allow Proper Airflow
While the goal is reducing excessive billowing, outdoor curtains still require some subtle airflow. Allow minor movements to prevent any moisture damage to your curtains or surrounding structures.
Use in Moderation
Start with lighter weight options, and add more if needed. Hanging too much weight can stretch out pockets or distort the drape. Go minimal first, then tweak to find the ideal balance.
Keep curtains looking beautiful by distributing weight evenly across the length. Group multiple smaller weights instead of just a few large ones to maintain an even, smooth shape.
Dealing with outdoor curtains blowing around unpredictably doesn’t have to be an exercise in futility. By choosing wind-resistant fabrics, secure hardware and – most importantly – weighting bottom hems, you can finally tame those wild curtains. With a few subtle tricks, your curtains will hang beautifully in place, even on gusty days. Time to relax and enjoy your stylish outdoor oasis without the annoyance of flapping fabrics.