Landscaping projects can actually increase a home’s resale value by up to 14%. And while every homeowner knows that landscaping is great for improving a property’s visual appearance, far too few people know that these projects can protect property from other dangerous hazards.
When a wildfire starts, for instance, it will engulf virtually anything in its path. Many homeowners, across California and the entire country, have dry sage brush, junipers, and other oil-based plants outlining their homes, which is extremely dangerous during forest fires because these plants can burn much faster than others.
Taking Stock After a Devestating Wildfire Season
The wildfires in Northern California caused at least $3.4 billion in insured losses throughout California.
That staggering figure is equivalent to 0.25% of the entire U.S. construction market, which was worth an estimated $1,162 billion in 2016. Fortune reports that the Northern California wildfires destroyed 5,700 structures and 217,000 acres of land, which pales in comparison to the human toll — at least 40 people died in the fires as well.
In the wake of the fires, residents are asking what they can do to protect their communities from the risks of wildfires in the future. To that end, many Californians are now placing a much stronger emphasis on preventative landscaping as they rebuild their homes and their lives.
The Connection Between Forest Fires and Landscaping
According to CBS SF Bay Area, residents of Oakland Hills are fully aware of how quickly these fires can grow thanks to flammable mulch and plant shrubs featured on many properties in the area.
“What you want to avoid are things like rosemary or common juniper or California sage brush,” said Sue Piper, who lost her home to a wildfire 26 years ago. “And you want to remove vegetation and items that could catch fire from the ground and under your deck. So if you’re storing your firewood under your deck, that’s not a place to store it.”
The Los Angeles Times reports that all new homes built in designated fire hazard severity zones now must be constructed according to regulations laid out in Chapter 7A of California’s building code.
These regulations include maintaining a brush clearance zone within 100 feet of a property, using non-combustible materials for siding and roofing, installing tempered glass windows, and having attic ventilation systems to prevent embers from entering homes.
Throughout each community that’s in jeopardy of being destroyed by wildfires, it’s essential that everyone works together to minimize any potential damage.
“We’re only as strong as our weakest link in the neighborhood,” Piper added. “And we know not only to [protect] our family and our property but our neighbors family property, [as well] to keep that defensible space up.”