Firescaping: Landscaping to Reduce Fire Risk

Share Article

Firefighters tell us we can greatly reduce risk of fire disaster by firescaping homes in hazard areas. Firescaping, or fire-safe landscaping, consists of the selective removal of existing plants to reduce fuel volume, proper pruning practices, and the installation of new fire resistant and fire retardant plants. Fire retardant plants are those that are less flammable than others, although it should be noted that no plant is fire proof. The Green Scene specializes in the design and construction of new landscapes for new and existing homes in fire-prone southern California communities such as Calabasas, Moorpark, Thousand Oaks, the San Fernando Valley, and Valencia.

Zaki Front

Firescaping, or fire-safe landscaping, consists of the selective removal of existing plants to reduce fuel volume, proper pruning practices, creation of firebreaks in the landscape, and the installation of new fire resistant and fire retardant plants.

Firefighters tell us we can greatly reduce risk of fire disaster by firescaping homes in hazard areas. "Firescaping, or fire-safe landscaping, consists of the selective removal of existing plants to reduce fuel volume, proper pruning practices, creation of firebreaks in the landscape, and the installation of new fire resistant and fire retardant plants." Fire retardant plants are those that are less flammable than others, although it should be noted that no plant is fire proof.

The Green Scene specializes in the design and construction of new landscapes for new and existing homes in fire-prone southern California communities such as Calabasas, Moorpark, Thousand Oaks, the San Fernando Valley, and Valencia. Scott Cohen, The Green Scene's Garden Artisan and Landscape Designer, uses the zone method of firescaping to make landscapes less prone to fire.

"In Zone 1, protect the area closest to the house from windblown sparks with low growing shrubs, trees, and lush green lawns." Several good plant choices are Lily of the Nile, Pittosporum, California Fuchsia, and Red Hot Poker. For groundcovers, we recommend dwarf Pixie Gazanias and Creeping Red Fescue.

Zone 2 should have low growing ground covers and succulents to prevent ground fires from racing to Zone 1. Use colorful drifts of plantings like Dwarf Oleander, Sedum, Jade and Miniature Ice plant (hot pink and purple flowers). Trees are OK if they are watered and spaced a minimum of 15-20 feet apart. Good choices are most Oaks, California Pepper and Guava.

Zone 3 should be a 50 foot area with drought resistant, reduced fuel shrubs like Rock Rose, as well as flowers like Yarrow (mixed colors) and California Poppies, watered well during fire season.

In Zone 4, 150 feet away from the house, concentrate on selective removal, clean-up and pruning rather than new landscape plants. Trim plantings in order to create groups of natives 20 feet apart.

Throughout the landscape, create firebreaks of vegetation-free strips. These can be decorative rock gardens, faux riverbeds or decomposed granite walkways. Sprinkler systems also play a major role in reducing fire risk. A combination of drip systems and low precipitation overhead irrigation will keep plants filled with water and less likely to burn.

"Proper selection, spacing, placement, and care of trees and shrubs in conjunction with firebreaks can save your home from fire", says Cohen.

Mr. Cohen is available by appointment for firescaping consultations; his consultation fee schedule is available online. Another resource for landscaping ideas is Fetch-A-Sketch.com, a new E-commerce Web site. Fetch-A-Sketch provides homeowners with thousands of vivid illustrations to give their contractors a clear picture of the look they want for their property and present their landscaping ideas using first-class drawings created by today's top designers.

About Scott Cohen and The Green Scene:
Scott Cohen is President and Supervising Designer for The Green Scene, a premier outdoor design and construction firm based in the Los Angeles area. His work is featured on Home & Garden Television and in numerous national magazines and books. The Green Scene would like to applaud the valiant effort by firefighters to control the devastating wildfires that are raging in the southwest this fall. Our hearts go out to those who have lost their homes.

###

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Marie NyBlom

Marie NyBlom
Visit website