Creating Defensible Space Doesn’t Have to Be Expensive

Protect your home with what you already have

“Defensible space” can sound intimidating, as if it requires digging moats and building castle-style walls around your split-level. But defensible space is more about creating space than it is about building defenses. It doesn’t have to be expensive, and it can easily be a DIY project. It’s more about the time, elbow grease, and maintenance you put in than it is about money.

What you need to have

Most everything you need to create defensible space is probably already in your garage or shed, such as: 

  • Shovel
  • Rake
  • Clippers
  • Work gloves
  • Weed wacker
  • Mower
  • Handsaw
  • Weed puller
  • Ladder
Picture courtesy of Butte County Fire Safe Council

If you’ve got the basics of gardening and basic tree pruning, you have pretty much everything you need to create defensible space. 

One tool a lot of people don’t have, however, is a weed wrench—an indispensable tool for pulling large-root weeds like Scotch Broom. Since a really good weed wrench can cost more than $200—and since it’s not something you’re going to use much in the long term—the Butte County Fire Safe Council has a Weed Wrench Loan Program, allowing you to borrow a weed wrench for two weeks absolutely free, just like a library book!

If you find yourself needing a little extra help in the landscaping department, you can read even more safe landscaping tips here and here. And if you’re ever short any other gardening tool or missing a ladder, try asking a neighbor if they have one you can borrow. Be Ready, Butte! is a community initiative, after all!

What you need to know

You can hire a landscaper with expertise in defensible space if you’d prefer, but all you really need to know in order to do it yourself is how to measure distances between your any flammable bushes and between that vegetation and your home.

Take some advice from Max DSI and simply follow the Zone Method. It all starts with a clear, non-flammable, 5-foot “Zone 0” perimeter around your house, which then fans out to “Zone 1” up to 30 feet and “Zone 2” up to 100 feet. We’ve got all the details you need here on the Be Ready, Butte! website.