First There Was Xeriscaping and Now, Firescaping

Farmhouse style home

This is one trend we would prefer not to add to our 2020 trending list. Over the past decade, many regions of the country have been managing through periodic or long-term droughts. To adjust to this environment, many homeowners have chosen xeriscaping – a no-water or low-water landscape design – as a practical and often low-maintenance outdoor design alternative.

However, with wildfires becoming far more prevalent in some parts of the country, expect to see a growing trend among homeowners toward “firescaping” – creating a landscape around the home that is resistant to fire.

firescaping, the landscape immediately around the home (out to about 30 feet) includes concrete, stone, or brick patios and walkways. The vegetation close to the home is typically ground cover, low annuals, or low perennials. Any trees near the house are usually relatively short and deciduous given their higher moisture content. Branches are cut to be clear of the roof of the home. In short, the closer the landscape is to the home, the more resistant it is to fire. Between 70 and 100 feet out from the house is the area for gardens, fruit trees, and other plantings. Lower limbs should be no less than 15 feet off the ground. One hundred feet or more from the house is the zone for trees. They should be pruned so that crowns are at least 10 feet from each other, and lower limbs should be no closer than 10 to the ground.
The good news is that horticulturalists and landscapers familiar with firescaping can create an attractive, natural, and functional outdoor living space. The number and type of green and flowering plants available allows for a varied landscape. Building products with a “natural” appearance yet fire resistant are now readily on the market.


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