Does Your Yard Have a Landscaping Theme?

Make Smokey Proud -- 4 Ways to Protect Your Country Home From Wildfires

by Dan Mckinney

Whether you live in the deep woods or just on the edge of town, you likely face the threat of wildfire reaching your home. And, while all homeowners can be affected by fire, fast-moving and often difficult-to-fight wildfires are an even scarier danger than normal.

So, how can you take steps to protect your home? Here are four top ways.

Install Hardscape

Immediately around your home and other outbuildings, it's best to remove most greenery that can catch fire and replace it with attractive hardscape features. Patios, decks, walkways, and entertainment spaces all add to the value of your yard and help reduce fuel that can burn near enough to the house to ignite the its building materials.

Be sure to select nonflammable hardscape--such things as flagstone, iron, brick, and gravel. Even outdoor furniture like benches, swings, and tables should be made from nonflammable and durable materials. Likewise, instead of organic ground covers like mulch in garden beds, opt for a less flammable hardscape element like pea gravel. 

To learn about other hardscape options, reach out to professionals like Rainey  Nursery Co.

Thin the Trees

Take  a look upward and downward if you want to slow fires approaching your house. Tree canopies above should be thinned so that they don't touch one another and allow embers to easily travel between trees. On the lower level, trim trees up from the ground at least 6 to 10 feet to reduce underbrush that can encourage fire to travel along the ground. Remove all dead, damaged, and infected trees. 

Remove Excess Debris

Simplicity is a key ingredient to fire proofing your yard. Remove all excess debris and any piles of organic material. Trim bushes to a nice shape and keep them from overgrowing near the house. Try to keep bushes from touching one another to slow fire progression. 

Keep firewood piles at least 30 feet from the house in a nonflammable wood holder. And make sure all buildings have easy and clear exits. 

Create Breaks

Fire breaks are a defensive tool of all woodland fire fighting. You can incorporate fire breaks into your own landscaping in subtle ways. Entrance roads and driveways, for example, are necessary and provide a natural break between flammable landscapes. 

A well-watered lawn can create a break between the forested area around your property and your home itself. Widen pathways to several feet wide and use nonflammable hardscape like gravel to provide not only easy access for fire fighting but also a natural break.

If you need specific tips for incorporating hardscape and reducing greenery around your home in order to prevent fire, it may be a good idea to work with a professional landscaping service with experience in fire prevention. And while it may call for some planning and effort, the peace of mind it brings will surely make it a good investment.