Smart Landscaping Designs to help Protect your Home during a Bushfire

Bushfires can create serious risk to life, our environment and properties located both in rural and urban areas. There are several ways you can increase your homes ability to withstand a bushfire, by using a clever landscaping design of your garden.

One of the most important things any homeowner can do to help keep their home safe is to remove all unnecessary fuel and debris away from your home prior to the summer bushfire season. This includes things like removing dry grass, leaves and any flammable shrubs.

One of the best preventative methods is to create a 5 metre wide non-flammable zone between your home and garden, also known as a 5m exclusion path.

Plants and shrubs provide fuel for bushfires and can compromise the safety of your home without proper placement.

Whether you are constructing a new garden or modifying your existing one, you will need to consider where you will place garden beds and trees.

Although any garden can burn under the right conditions, some plants will ignite quicker than others. Choosing low flammable plants is a great start. Your local nursery can help you with selecting appropriate firewise plants and shrubs.

Some characteristics to look for when choosing low risk plants are:

  • Plants with high salt content

  • Plants with lower concentrations of oils

  • Plants with fewer branches that are low to the ground and;

  • Plants /shrubs that are limited in shedding their leaves/bark etc.

Plants with low flammability will assist in helping to catch embers before they reach your home, helping to shield wind and reducing the amount of radiant heat received to your house. Also using materials such as stone, brick, concrete, gravel etc for fences, retainer walls and footpaths are a perfect choice, as these can act as a defence block for embers and radiant heat.

If you are considering having a swimming pool or patio area installed at your home, be sure to evaluate the property prior to installation, something to consider is; Which side of the home is more at risk to bushfire?  Think about installing your new area on that side of your house to create another clean clear space to help minimise the fire risk.

Try and keep your lawn as green and short as possible during the fire season, as green lawns are a great low risk ground cover, it is advised to keep your ground cover to a maximum height of 100mm to minimise risk. When planting trees or shrubs, try to avoid planting them too close together. Whilst creating the 5 meters non-flammable area around your perimeter of your building, it is also important to reduce the overall fuel to a space of 20 metres for extra security.

Maintaining your garden and home surrounds is also very important and is best to keep your area maintained all year round.

Even though it is impossible to completely remove all risk of a bushfire,  following these few simple easy steps will definitely help in contributing to minimising the risk to your property during the bushfire season.