Smart Landscaping Tips to Help Protect Your Property from Natural Disasters

Smart Landscaping Tips to Help Protect Your Property from Natural Disasters

Hurricanes, floods, wildfires and mudslides brought an onslaught of weather-related destruction in 2017, resulting in a record-breaking $306.2 billion in damage. Fortunately, there are smart landscaping techniques that homeowners can implement to help minimize some of the damage caused by extreme weather events.

Protect Your Home from Flood Damage

Flooding is an expensive natural disaster that has increased in frequency over the past decade. In fact, flooding caused more than $60 billion in damage last year alone. The increase in severe storms has made even more properties susceptible to flooding as 100- and even 500-year flood events have become common around the world. Homeowners can take steps to help mitigate some of the damages with these landscaping designs to help maximize drainage away from their property.

1. Install a French Drain System

Landscapes that help divert excess water away from your home’s foundation provide an easy solution to protect your property from flood damage. A simple surface drainage system, such as using piping to carry rainwater from downspouts and garden beds away from your home, can keep water from pooling. Consider installing a French drain system by creating a trench, lining it with landscape fabric, a layer of gravel and running perforated piping along the drain, with the holes facing down to redirect water from a specific area (i.e. the foundation of your home). Finish by wrapping the fabric and gravel around the pipe and filling it with decorative rock, gravel or sod. Note that this system requires a slope of at least 1 percent.

2. Use Dry Streambeds, Catch Basins and Swales

A few other simple methods for redistributing rainwater away from your home are dry streambeds, catch basins and swales.Dry streambeds can be aesthetic and serve as a natural path for water to follow, which requires a slope in the yard to create a flow. Catch basins are above-ground and can be used at the edge of your driveway, patio or lawn to prevent water from pooling where you don’t want it to—next to your home. These also employ the use of underground drainage pipes. Swales are depressions in the landscape that direct the flow of water and channel it elsewhere. If you choose to use a water diversion method, make sure to divert the water to a well, retention pond or garden bed with proper drainage.

3. Plant Rain Gardens

Rain gardens can be used to soak up overflow. These type of gardens are built in depressions or low points and swales can be used to channel water from other parts of the yard to these gardens. The shallow depression is populated with plants that have a high tolerance for damp or wet soil.

Hardscaping to Deter Wildfires

Wildfires are now becoming year-round threats in many areas of the United States, especially in drought-ridden areas such as the western U.S. Here are a few hardscaping tips to help protect your property from fires.

1. Establish Fire-Safe Zones

One way to help stop fire from spreading to your home is to create barriers in your property that make it hard for the flames to spread. Clear dead branches, underbrush and leaves, and use stone walls, roadways, gravel or other hardscapes to create fire-safe zones within your yard. Consider creating at least a 4-foot hardscape perimeter around your home with pavers, gravel or decorative stone. Do not plant trees within close proximity to your home.

2. Use Fire-Resistance Plants

Select high-moisture plants that will be more resistant to fires and plants that have less resin or sap—a fire accelerant—in them. Avoid conifer trees like fir and pine, and opt for low-growing manzanita with five to six feet of clearance around it and no dead branches, cherry, poplar or maples – hardwood trees that have less sap. Choose fire-resistant bushes like, lemonade berry, yucca, woolly blue curls or other shrubs that can help decrease…

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