Fire Resistant Landscaping

Make Your Landscape Fire-Resistant

These Plants Have Good Looks & Fire-Resistant Charm

When it comes to preparing your landscape for the threat of wildfire, there’s no such thing as a drill. Maintaining readiness through proper clearance of brush and plant material is a year-round task. But there is one long-term strategy that can help you grow your landscape’s fire resistance, and it involves the plant material you choose.

While there’s no such thing as a fire-proof plant, you can select varieties with qualities that mitigate the spread of fire, such as those with low-sap or resin content, high-moisture, or plants that grow close to the ground.  Here’s a look at some of the smartest choices for landscapes in fire-prone areas.

Get in the Zone

First up, let’s take a look at one the best practices of firescaping: zoning. Developed by the Los Angeles Arboretum, Zone Theory provides beneficial guidelines for creating a more fire-resistant landscape. Imagine drawing a bullseye around each structure on your property, with the structure at the center. Each of the surrounding circles represents a zone:

French Lavender
French Lavender is a fire resistant plant that thrives in dry growing conditions. 
  • Zone 1 extends 30 feet from a structure. This area should include fire-retardant plans unlikely to ignite.
  • Zone 2 comprises the area 30 - 70 feet from a structure. This area should include fire-resistant plants designed to prevent further spread to Zone 1. This is a great spot for shade trees, so long as canopies are not continuous.
  • Zone 3 consists of the area 70 – 120 feet from a structure. If the area is landscaped, fire-resistant plants similar to those in Zone 2 should be used, taking care to avoid dense plantings. Otherwise, the focus for Zone 3 and any remaining area up to the property line should be brush clearance.

Choose Your Landscaping Wisely

  • Create breaks in your landscaping with either rock walls or stone paths. 
  • Try using mulch or ground cover landscaping for bare spaces this will act as a fire break. 
  • Choose high moisture plants that grow close to the ground or try fire retardant plant species.

California's Fire Resistant Plants

Red Monkey Flower
The Red Monkey Flower is an Evergreen shrub that is also drought tolerant and a California native species. 
  • French Lavender
  • Red Monkey Flower
  • California Fuchsia
  • Sage
  • California Lilac
  • Society Garlic
  • Ornamental Strawberry
  • Coreopsis
  • California Red Bud

These are just a handful of species you might consider for your fire-resistant landscape. The lists here are far from exhaustive. Check with your local fire authority for a comprehensive list of plants well suited to your region. Or, talk to your landscape partner, who can help create a design that’s as beautiful as it is safe.


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