One natural phenomenon which is prevalent in many areas of Australia is bushfires, and if you are planning to have landscaping on your property, this is something that you must take into consideration when formulating your landscape design.
Areas such as Western Australia and New South Wales are but two of the states in Australia which have seen horrific bushfires in recent years with many homes destroyed and even more damaged. Whilst no landscape design will ever stop a bushfire from starting, or indeed causing at least some damage, by taking them into account, the damage to your home may at least be minimised as it is defended against the bushfire to an extent by the garden outside.
As for what a smart landscaped design for a garden in areas prone to bushfires will include, many of you might be concerned more about what it would exclude. We understand that you may be thinking that such a design is going to be a space with few plants and the entirety of it being made from bricks and stone work.
Fear not, because, although there might be some practical elements in a landscape design suitable for at-risk areas, it can still be comfortable and aesthetically stunning. So, with all of that in mind, let us explore what landscaping for bushfire areas constitutes.
Bushfires And Landscaping
One unfortunate facet of bushfires is that they are indiscriminate in the sense that they do not care what object or item is in their path, If it is flammable, it will damage or destroy them. Other features of bushfires are that, unlike most things, they accelerate up hills rather than down them.
Bushfires will obviously be more likely to start in hot, dry conditions, and their primary fuel when they enter residential areas is vegetation and timber. Unfortunately, both of those are more than likely going to be present within a landscape design and in large quantities, which is why landscape designs in bushfire areas require far more consideration than in other areas. Here are several landscape design tips for landscaping where bushfires are a significant threat.
One of the primary objectives of landscape design in a bushfire area is creating a “defensible space”. Whilst it might sound like a term from the game “Call of Duty”, it is in fact a concept that has saved thousands of homes from succumbing to the flames of a bushfire.
In truth, creating a defendable space is easy to understand because all it means is to have what you could consider a buffer zone around your home, with little or nothing that is combustible and would otherwise be fuel to a bushfire. This would mean having a gap with no vegetation, or any landscaping features which are made of wood, fabric, or plastics such as seats, pots, containers or ornaments.
Choosing Trees And Plants
Not only are the trees and plant species you choose important, but where they are planted is critical too. Whilst all plants will burn in certain conditions, there are many which are more fire retardant than others and thus less likely to burst into flames at the merest hint of a spark. Examples include grass species that retain their lush, green colour throughout the summer and acacias. Conversely, due to their oils, many eucalyptus species are fire enablers, so avoid them if you can.
As for where you locate plants and vegetation, if done correctly it can help halt the progress of a bushfire towards your home. One principle that follows this is the windbreaks created by plants and trees which can trap embers and burning debris and prevent them from reaching the house.
In addition, trees and large bush windbreaks can reduce the wind speed within your garden, and thus how quickly a bushfire will progress. However, do not go too far and create dense areas of plants or trees as this helps, rather than hinders, a bushfire.
The Role Of Mulch
Mulch is one of those phenomena in gardening that seems to have a never-ending array of benefits, and here is another of them. Ensuring your mulch has plenty of moisture and by spreading it in susceptible areas of your garden, it can halt the progress of a bushfire. One caveat is to not let wood-based mulch dry out as it will have the opposite effect.