Secrets to a ‘firewise’ garden to be on display in the heart of Denmark

Headshot of Sarah Makse
Sarah MakseAlbany Advertiser
Shire of Denmark bushfire risk planning co-ordinator Melanie Haymont.
Camera IconShire of Denmark bushfire risk planning co-ordinator Melanie Haymont. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

Cutting out “fire ladders”, choosing the right mulch and keeping gaps between plants are some of the secrets to making your home more resilient in the face of a bushfire.

A reminder of how to be “firewise” in your own backyard is set to pop up in the heart of Denmark this weekend, in the latest instalment of the Shire’s Bushfire Ready program.

Strickland Street’s Plane Tree Precinct will be home to an educational garden patch aiming to show the community how they can use firewise features at home.

It will be the biggest public firewise garden in WA.

Shire of Denmark bushfire risk planning co-ordinator Melanie Haymont said everyone had a responsibility to keep each other safe from fires.

“People were concerned that they had to decimate their gardens, and compromise biodiversity and amenities to be more firewise,” she said.

“We want to show the community that you can have lovely gardens that are firewise by adhering to some simple principles.

“If everyone managed the vegetation on their land, we would be in a great position to manage risk across the whole of the shire.”

As part of the pop-up event, community education organisation the Forever Project will host a firewise garden demonstration on Strickland Street.

“It’s a fusion of education and entertainment. It’s a fast-paced and engaging performance, which sees an expert team from the Forever Project narrate the installation of a sustainable firewise garden from the ground up,” Ms Haymont said.

“The narration provides insight into the reasoning and environmental science behind all decisions and actions taken to create the space.”

The event will be held at 11am this Saturday at the Plane Tree Precinct on Strickland Street, Denmark.


1. Use wetting agents and rough, coarse mulch to make sure your plants get all the water you apply. If they are well hydrated, they are less likely to burn.

2. Dead grass, dry leaves and small twigs are by far the most flammable and dangerous, so keep them under control.

3. Get rid of ladders. Fire is pretty lazy. If it has an easy tangle of branches to get into the tree canopy, it becomes very dangerous. Remove lower branches and keep them at least 2m back from your roof and walls.

4. Embers really do attack. Remember these nasty little orange sparks only need a gap of less than 2mm to get in and potentially destroy your home. Plug those gaps.

5. If you can stop leaves from filling your gutters, you will do a huge amount to make your home more firewise.

6. Stone, rocks and gravel are safer mulch options against ember attacks in high fire-risk areas.

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