This month’s issue of Sunset features the Vess home in an article focused on preparing your home for wildfire season (which is right around the corner). Nan Sterman, our local garden writing expert and Author of several valuable plant resource books chose to highlight certain aspects of the Vess landscape, while stunning photographs by Jennifer Cheung make a visual impact:
1. Replace flammable plants: Any plant material that is high in oil content, very woody, or provides fuel too close to the house should be replaced
2. Lush plantings: Herbaceous plant material with soft, fleshy leaves typically hold more water, and are thus more resistant to fire. Some nice choices include several Agave and Aloe species, along with Cacti and almost all succulents.
3. Water your plants: Even though the Vess landscape was designed to reduce water needs, it still must be irrigated properly and sufficiently. Dry, thirsty plants are just waiting to go up in flames when those sparks start flying.
4. Use DG: DG or Decomposed Granite is a great mulching alternative (where appropriate) to wood bark and traditional mulch. It comes in a variety of colors, doesn’t break down like organic mulches, and keeps roots moist and weeds down.
5. Simplicity rules: Space between plantings allows the eye to rest… it also creates defensible areas to slow down the spread of fires. I love when design can serve multiple purposes!