While you cannot prevent natural disasters and extreme weather, strategic design can help protect your log home.
All log cabin owners have had these “what if” thoughts. What if the conditions became so dry that a wildfire started near my cabin. What if it rains so much that the lake near my house begins to flood its banks? What if tornado-powered winds threaten me?
These extreme situations are difficult to contemplate because you cannot stop them from happening. This is the bad news. The good news is? The good news is that you have many options to make your landscaping more resilient to extreme weather and still maintain an attractive yard. These are some tips to help you make the most of your outdoor resources and reduce the impact of natural disasters on your log home.
Regular maintenance is key to preventing fires from destroying your home. Keep an eye on how they spread. Start by trimming branches and trees that are too high or near the log walls. Keep shrubs and bushes at least three feet from logs to prevent moisture and fire prevention. Leaves and brush can easily ignite, so don’t leave them near your house. To help protect your home from fire, it’s a good idea for irrigation to be installed within a 50-foot radius.
It isn’t easy to prevent flooding that leaves your yard and house in standing water. However, it is possible to stop moderate flooding with simple landscaping techniques. Grade your soil to slope downwards away from your home. You can improve drainage by using strategically placed stones or bushes to direct water away from the foundation. Install a rain garden made of native plants to absorb water in areas prone to accumulating standing water.
Mixtures of native plants (they are true survivors), trees, and shrubs can send roots into the soil, creating spaces. These spaces allow water to seep in instead of pooling in your yard or soaking the soils around your foundation, leading to foundation problems.
These are some great rain barriers.
Trees Large trees over 40 feet in height are the most valuable part of your landscaping. They can help protect your home from rain by:
- Their trunks block running water, giving it more time to seep into the ground
- Deeper feeder roots should be maintained beyond the tree’s dripline to soak rainwater.
- Planting leaves that capture and intercepts rainwater to help it evaporate easily
- Each day, removing up to 100 gallons of groundwater and releasing it into the atmosphere through transpiration
Grasses The mat-like roots are great for soaking up rainwater and preventing erosion. Choose turf and native ornamental grasses to increase your chances of survival in bad weather.
Ground Covers: These leafy spreaders (such as creeping Jenny and Convolvulus arvensis) have thirsty roots that allow them to drink rainwater and stop erosion.
Shrubs These plants are a combination of 1-2-3; they slow downwind, absorb rain and add curb appeal.
You can minimize the damage from the tornadoes and sustained winds by trimming trees and shrubs. Also, consider replacing heavy materials such as gravel and rock landscaping with lighter materials such as shredded bark. You should also ensure that any ornaments in your yard, such as birdbaths, statues, or pots, are strong enough to withstand high winds.
Contact your local Department of Natural Resources to learn more about how you can keep your home and family safe in the face of natural disasters. Many departments have disaster prevention experts on staff that can inspect your property and help you prepare for any eventuality.