How To Create Fire Resistant Landscaping

How to create fire resistant landscaping

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How to Create Fire Resistant Landscaping

Wildfires are destructive, deadly, and difficult to stop, but many experts agree that fire-smart landscaping is your home’s best line of defense. Follow these landscape design and maintenance tips to help keep your home safe.

Designing a Fire Resistant Yard

  • Use stone patios, walkways, retaining walls, and other hardscape installations to create fire-safe zones
  • Strategically place flower beds, gardens, rock, and mulch as firebreaks
  • Opt for dense mulches, such as composted woodchips, over shredded bark
  • Install drip systems or micro sprinklers to moisten mulched areas ahead of anticipated wildfires
  • On a flat slope, trees should stand at least 10 feet apart, while bushes should have at least 2x their height between them
  • Fires can spread more easily along slopes, so leave more space between trees and shrubs on steeper slopes
  • Only build decks out of ignition-resistant or non-combustible materials
  • Don’t plant trees below electrical lines

Maintaining a Fire Resistant Yard

  • Clear all dead plants, weeds, leaves, and branches from within 30 feet of your house
  • Regularly mow your lawn to no more than 4” tall
  • Keep your rain gutters clear of debris
  • Trim any flammable plants, especially ones near windows and decks
  • Remove any branches that hang over your roof or near your chimney
  • Move wood piles more than 30 feet from your house
  • Trim any tree branches that are less than 6 feet from the ground
  • If you have trees growing over bushes, multiply the height of each bush by 3 then trim the branches that grow under that threshold
  • Keep a garden hose ready at each spigot
  • Make sure that your address can be easily seen by firefighters

Install Fire Resistant Plants

Including fire-resistant plants in your landscape can help stop the spread of fire to more vulnerable parts of your yard. Check with your local nursery or landscaper to select native species for your area.

Fire Resistant Shrubs

  • Hedging Roses
  • Honeysuckle
  • Currant
  • Heather
  • Raspberry
  • Rose
  • Sumac
  • Shrub Apples

Fire Resistant Trees

  • Hardwood
  • Maple
  • Poplar
  • Cherry
  • Black Oak
  • River Birch
  • Crabapple

Other Fire Resistant Plants & Flowers

  • Rockrose
  • Ice Plant
  • Aloe Vera
  • French Lavender
  • Red Monkey Flower
  • California Fuchsia
  • Sage
  • Lilac
  • Coreopsis
  • Coneflower
  • Fescue
  • Poppy
  • Wooly thyme

Avoid Highly Flammable Plants

No plant is completely fireproof, but some are much more flammable than others. Avoid highly flammable plants in general, and be sure not to plant any near flammable structures.

Highly Flammable Shrubs

  • Chamise/Greasewood
  • Cypress Shrubs
  • Evergreen Huckleberry
  • French Broom
  • Manzanita
  • Rosemary

Highly Flammable Trees

  • Pine
  • Fir
  • Conifer
  • Juniper
  • Cypress Trees
  • Eucalyptus
  • Acacia
  • Hemlock
  • Spruce

Highly Flammable Plants

  • Algerian Ivy
  • Bamboo
  • Pampas grass