Firescaping

firescapingWildfires are a constant threat in many western states and, while avoiding a fire may be impossible, firescaping is one way to deter or mitigate the effects of wildfires.

Firescaping is an approach to landscape design that can suppress or stop a fire and help protect, and actually increase the value of property all through the use of appealing landscape components. The result: A beautiful and fire-resistant yard or garden.

A firescape uses landscape structures, such as driveways, patios, walkways, parking areas, non-flammable fencing (brick, stone and concrete structures, for example), inorganic mulches and water features such as pools, ponds and streams.

Landscape maintenance, such as trimming tree limbs away from houses or other structures and removing dead vegetation from the yard, are part of a firescape plan.  Keeping the landscape clean of natural leaves, cones and limbs removes the source of natural fuel for wildfires.

Plant selection is also a major component of firescaping.

pittosporum_cream_de_mint_collectionUsing nonresinous plants with a high moisture content in their leaves, open branching habits and low-and slow-growing growth habit also helps deter or reduce the damage caused by wildfires.

Sunset’s Western Garden Collection offers some exceptional plant choices for firescaping such as ‘Cream of Mint’ pittosporum, an evergreen dwarf cultivar with mint-green leaves edged in creamy white that works well as a low hedge, in borders and as an accent plant.

nandina_blush_pink_collectionTwo other great Sunset options for firescaping are the Blush Pink™ and Flirt™ nandinas.  Flirt’s evergreen leaves turn red in the spring and hold their color well into the summer and through the fall. Blush Pink’s leaves are tinged with a delicate pink that also lasts through the summer.  Both plants can be used in mass plantings, as low hedges and border plants and Flirt also can be used as a beautiful and fire-retarding groundcover.