Rebuilding In Malibu and Ventura County – Fire Defense Pro Tips (Part 3 of 3)

Jan 6, 2020 | Blog, Construction, Design, Design+Build, General Contractor, Landscape |

In part three of a series Farnsworth Builders is presenting on rebuilding in areas like Malibu and Ventura County after facing wildfire disaster, we identify further ways to approach lot construction before the structural rebuilding process begins in an attempt to impede the progress of a wildfire as it approaches your property line.

Lot construction is the first line of defense against wildfires, and as such, should take its place of paramount importance when approaching the idea of a rebuild for a homeowner. In an earlier post in this series, we looked at landscaping and vegetation design as an integral part of arresting the advancement of a fire.

Here, we’ll take a look at another component of lot construction that can lend itself to protecting the homeowner and the property’s structure against dire fire damage. Building a fire barricade surrounding a structure includes paying special attention to the property’s non-combustible and fire retardant material.


Taking significant preventative measures and a strategic approach when it comes to lot construction can give you a major leg up on mother nature. There are two areas measured in total feet that are a fundamental part of lot construction when it comes to designing a fire retardant buffer around your structure.

Area one extends 30 feet from the structure and the second point extends 100 feet from the furthest point of the edifice. It is within these two parameters that the most effective preventative techniques are employed on your lot.


Once you’ve chosen fire resistant landscaping and vegetation, you can add some additional organic material to your design aesthetic that both serves to beautify the property and to protect it.

Fire resistant wood chip mulch is a landscaping option often employed, especially in this area within immediate proximity to the structure. Slow to decompose and environmentally friendly, it is an appealing option for eco-conscious homeowners interested in protecting the native environment while also ensuring the integrity of their home if confronted by natural disaster.

PRO TIP: Use wood chip mulch as opposed to rubber or pine straw, variations that are much more flammable.


In the immediate vicinity of the domicile (this includes decks and other construction built onto the main structure) it is also important to plan landscaping that can catch fire away from decks and outlying structural components. Keep flammable vegetation from areas near windows and doors and create a buffer zone between plants and shrubs easy to catch fire and outdoor furniture, like chairs and tables. Keeping a strategic eye on outdoor design is a simple way to employ fire prevention.

PRO TIP: If you’re planning on gardening or maintaining an environmentally friendly abode by composting, make sure it is well away from the main property structure.



The last 70 feet, or 100 feet total, away from the structure, are usually home to pathways and driveways when a homeowner is planning lot construction. These act as yet another buffer that could delay or inhibit the advancement of a wildfire from making its way further onto your property.

Make sure you plan a wide enough driveway with a reasonable grade (between 12 and 14 percent) so that fire trucks are able to manage accessibility – think about width, turn-arounds, and curves. Make sure you consult an expert when you’re planning your property’s entrance and driveway and adhering to fire code, giving firefighters the widest possible access to your lot should the worst come to pass. Concrete driveways and walkways also serve as an additional impediment when it comes to wildfires encroaching on your property and reaching your home.

PRO TIP: Ask your general contractor and landscaper about spacing (trees and shrubs, structural elements, and walkways) as this can make a big difference in fire prevention.


In the past few years hundreds of homes were lost in Malibu and in Ventura County, with damage and costs soaring into the hundreds of millions. It is smart planning and further insurance against disaster prevention to begin planning fire prevention techniques and design as early as lot construction, with a multitude of options available with a little research and an expert to help you along the way!

If you or your client are looking for a collaborative builder versed in the latest fire prevention techniques, Farnsworth Builders brings fire prevention to the forefront. As a collaborative builder with the ability to achieve the perfect design results for any client, we offer a comprehensive range of services. Contact us today for more details.