Reduce Risk with Firewise Landscaping Resources

Reduce Risk with Firewise Landscaping Resources

purple coneflower fire resistant header for blog

The devastating wildfires all over the United States have spread awareness to many people about the dangers of living in fire-prone regions. Here at Nature Hills, we care about our customers and supporters and want everyone to be as safe as possible! While nothing can eliminate the threat of wildfires in these areas, there are things that can lessen the impact; for example, firescaping.

It is proven that fire-safe landscaping, or “firescaping,” is a great way to protect your property and loving home! There are great benefits to landscaping specifically for wildfire threats. They prevent wildfires from reaching your area and the open defense space gives the firefighters room to work with. We’ll talk about the tips and tricks, the research behind them, and how to execute them to not only protect but look amazing, too!

explaining firescaping graphic

Look to Local Fire Experts for Help

The first step is to preplan what you’d like to do with your property’s landscape. To know what you should look into, you can get a region-specific property assessment. To accomplish this, simply contact your state forestry department or local fire protection district to request one. This visit can uncover important information about protecting your property. Experts will even tell you how to manage your existing plants and trees during these major droughts and threats!

Firescaping is Cutting Edge in the Gardening World

The goal of firescaping is to redesign your landscape in a way that is less likely to contribute to the spread of wildfires, especially to your house.

The best way to think of this is imagining yourself in a castle, and you have a moat surrounding you to keep the enemy away–but the moat is actually just gorgeous plants and the enemy is a wildfire. You can also view the moat as different zones. We have a few tips for you about dividing your landscape into zones for ultimate protection.

example of firescaping infographic
  • Consider placing all the hardscapes (walkways, patios, play areas, etc.) closer to the house to create a greater distance between what could burn further out in the property.
  • Bark and wood mulches should never be used within 10 feet of the house. These ignite quickly and burn intensely. Instead, you could use rock or gravel when close to structures.
  • Avoid planting low-growing shrubs underneath taller growing trees. This creates a ladder effect allowing a fire to climb up and potentially access your roof from the treetops.
  • Steer clear of plants that create lots of litter (trees that produce “helicopter seeds”) or plan to clean your yard regularly.
  • Use flower and vegetable gardens as wet spaces between your structures and the surrounding forest. The wet spaces create a barrier as they are more difficult to ignite since they are watered regularly. Plus, you can get some bright colors or nourishing food out of it.
  • Create a large area of spread-out landscape or just turf grass before your house so you have an open space. This helps firefighters have room and prevents fire from spreading plant to plant.

Fire Resistant Plants

Keep in mind that no plant is exactly fireproof, but there are some that are definitely fire resistant! It is best to select plants with a high moisture content–they don’t ignite easily. They also have little dead wood, and usually have less sap or resin materials.

Plants that are prone to being flammable may contain dry or dead material, like twigs, leaves, and needles. They also could be coated in wax, oils or have sap.

Some fire resistant plants that can be used in the landscapeNature Hills Nursery offers plants that appear on several regional roundup lists for fire-resistant plants. Here are a few of our favorites:

  1. Purple Coneflower: If you’re looking to keep the color and life around your property, add this perennial! Growing in zones 3-8, coneflowers are drought tolerant and easy to maintain!
  2. NEW MILLENNIUM™ Purple Passion Delphinium: This bright and lively delphinium is strong, fire-resistant, and deer resistant! What more could you ask for? This perennial grows in zones 3-7. They’re known for their growing ability throughout both drought heat and humidity.
  3. Siloam Peony Display Daylily: We’ll move on from perennials soon, but we couldn’t not include this beauty. This daylily grows in zones 3-9 and is a designer favorite. They’re even scented! The best part is… it’s fire-resistant! Block off that enemy with a soft yellow flower.
  4. Oregon Grape Holly: This broadleaf evergreen shrub is great for a firescape property! They grow in zones 5-9 and will provide you with edible berries for jellies and preserves. It’s a win, win!
  5. Little Spire Russian Sage: A gorgeous addition to any property, this shrub will be the least of your worries. Very drought and fire-resistant, this is a strong plant! Its lavender spires will add beautiful texture to your landscape!
  6. Dura Heat River Birch: This heat-resistant tree is a popular choice among landscapers! It will thrive in zones 4-9 and look gorgeous all year round. Remember, just don’t plant them right next to your house!

Don’t worry–there are many more options! We have no doubt that you’ll find the perfect combination for your firescaping adventure.

Resources to Help you Plan your Defensible Space

Each district is different, so don’t expect everything to apply to your region. However, we have some wonderful sources to start you off on the right foot! Visit these great resources:

  1. Colorado State Forest Service has great information on how you can protect your home, property and forest from wildfire.
  2. Cal Fire is a comprehensive site related to preparing your home for wildfire.
  3. FireFree is an Oregon-based organization that has wonderful resources from Oregon State University, Washington State University and the University of Idaho.
  4. FireSafeMarin gives Northern California residents practical tips on firescaping and hardening your house.
  5. National Fire Protection Association covers in-depth fire preparation both inside and outside the home.
  6. Utah State University's extension program is loaded with good information for wildfire-prone regions.

Stay Safe & Happy Planting!

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