Landscaping tips to minimise the impact of severe weather conditions

Many Australian’s have experienced the devastating impacts of two extreme weather conditions in a matter of weeks - floods and fires.

While we can’t stop the full force of Mother Nature there are some steps we can take to minimise the damaging effects it has on our properties.

With the cooler months approaching, landscaping is usually one of those items on property owners to-do lists. By incorporating some smart landscape ideas, you could potentially reduce the damage brought about by floods and fires.

Reducing fuel for fires

Australia is no stranger to bushfires, however the nation’s recent fires have been unprecedented in both scale and intensity causing widespread damage to many communities. 

With each passing summer, bushfires will continue to pose a threat to Australian homes. To lower your property’s bushfire risk, here are a few tips to keep in mind when planning your landscaping project.

1. Key garden design principles 

According to the Victorian Country Fire Service (CFS), garden design should incorporate four key principles:

  •     Create defendable space
  •     Remove flammable objects from around the house
  •     Break up fuel continuity (keep plants separate), and
  •     Carefully select, locate and maintain trees, see below.
2. Plant selection matters

While no plant is fireproof, some are less flammable than others. Choosing plants with low flammability will help you reduce bushfire risk within the garden. With landscapes varying across the continent from coastal to suburban, research is key when it comes to choosing the right plants for your property. 

To find out the overall flammability of a plant and firewise rating check out the CFA’s useful plant selection key tool CFA’s online plant selection tool.  

3. Keep it maintained

Whatever you decide to plant you will need to keep branches, leaves and other plant debris clear and well away from the house. Dry leaves are a source of fuel for fires, so be sure to clean gutters and areas where leaves collect. Regular maintenance of trees and garden areas is essential. This includes keeping the grass short, keeping plants and trees well-trimmed.

When it rains it pours

Put simply, we need the rain. It provides a much-needed respite for bushfires and is essential in replenishing water supplies, especially after a prolonged period of drought.

Unfortunately, recent thunderstorms and torrential rain have caused flash flooding and wreaked havoc across many homes and communities on the east coast of Australia. 

Although, depending on where you live, flooding may or may not be an ongoing problem for your property. We take a look at a few landscaping considerations which could help to minimise property damage caused by excess rain.

1. Land slope 

Consider the slope of the area you are looking to landscape, as this will affect rainwater run off. To prevent damage from flooding, it is ideal that water runs away from your home.

2. Drainage and retaining walls

In the instance that the slope of your garden runs toward your home, you may need to consult landscaping professionals to run through your options, depending on the scale of the job, it could be costly and it’s something you want to get right. For example, excavation may be required in order to level the area or perhaps the construction of a retaining wall may be able to divert water, provided you can incorporate an effective drainage system.

3. Reduce surface runoff and mulch your plant beds

Where possible, try to reduce surface runoff by minimising large concrete areas. A couple of ideas to do this is by planting grass in the area or by using materials such as gravel for pathways. Mulching can also be an effective way to soak up extra rain. By incorporating mulch into your plant beds you can also help reduce surface runoff by providing an absorbent surface.

Whether you’re considering major landscape work or minor improvements, it’s worthwhile to consider what features you can incorporate to minimise the damaging effects of extreme weather conditions. When it comes to financing your next landscaping project reach out to your local Mortgage Choice broker, they can assist finding you the solution that is right for your needs, and at no cost to you.

Posted in: Renovating