How recycled concrete can help bushfire proof your home or community

Gravel driveway in rural location surfaced with recycled concrete aggregate.

As we come into peak bushfire season here in Australia, it’s important to consider how we can be more proactive about protecting properties and businesses to reduce the risk and impact of future bushfires.

The 2019/20 bushfires were devastating for many communities, burning over 180,000km2 and coating much of the east coast of Australia in thick smoke. Over 3,500 homes were lost.

Landscaping for bushfires can help ensure that future bushfire seasons don’t reach this level of devastation. With better planning and the right plans and materials, we can work together to help slow the spread of fires and keep them contained. Whether you’re responsible for your home, business, council area, or local park, we all have a role to play in planning ahead and getting bushfire ready.

We’ve put together some practical tips to help you manage your land and reduce your bushfire risk with landscaping.

Create firebreaks and fire management lines

Wide gravel pathway creates a firebreak between vegetation.

One of the best ways to manage and reduce the spread of fires is with firebreaks. To create a firebreak, you need to ensure there’s a gap between vegetation or flammable materials so that fire cannot easily move through, and to give yourself a defendable space in the event of an approaching fire.

Examples of firebreaks include roads, highways, trails, pathways, rivers, creeks, and lakes. You may need to move your garden beds, remove tall trees that aren’t in an ideal location, and maintain trees and shrubs to reduce flammability. You might install paving or pathways to create a buffer between your buildings, garden beds, and/or surrounding scrub. Recycled concrete aggregate, CBR15, and CBR80 make great materials for firebreaks as they’re non-flammable, durable, sustainable, and affordable. They’ll help minimise any weed and shrub regrowth in cleared areas.

Note: depending on your property and how much clearing you need to do, you may need to get a permit from your local government area to create a firebreak.

Install stone and gravel retaining walls

Rather than building your retaining walls with timber framing, choose fire-resistant alternatives – especially if you’re in a location that’s prone to bushfires. Use stones or fire-resistant bricks to create your retaining wall edges, then top-and-fill these with gravel. Or as a cheaper alternative, go with recycled concrete aggregates.

Use stone garden edging and mulch

Concrete aggregates used as garden mulch.

Again, rather than choosing wood materials for your garden edging, consider using stone or recycled concrete. It’s more durable and won’t provide fuel in the event of a fire. If possible, instead of using flammable bark or sugarcane mulch, swap this for non-flammable recycled concrete aggregate.

Create a safer fire pit

Landscaping a fire pit using non-flammable materials like crusher dust and recycled concrete aggregates.

While not exactly bushfire related, it’s important to consider how you’ll manage any recreational fires in your yard.

When landscaping your fire pit, choose a location that’s well away from any buildings, as well as flammable materials like trees, scrubs, and mulched garden beds. You may choose to dig your fire pit slightly into the ground so that embers are less likely to be carried away by the wind. Create a non-flammable buffer around the outside of your firepit area using materials like recycled concrete aggregates and crusher dust. That way, any embers that escape the main fire will quickly fizzle out.

And of course, always check for local fire bans before you light an outdoor fire, even if you have a well-contained area.

Learn more about landscaping for bushfires

You’ll find some great resources online that cover more details about landscaping for bushfires, including the types of plants to avoid, how to layout your yard and gardens, and how to position firebreaks to best withstand a fire.

Check out:

Get ready for bushfire season with recycled concrete

Moreton Bay Recycling truck delivers recycled concrete products onsite.

Need to pick up some supplies for your landscaping project? We’ve got a range of products suitable for fire-prone environments, including recycled aggregates (a great alternative to gravel), crusher dust, and drainage recycled concrete.

You can pick up from our yard in Narangba, or we can deliver to you onsite. Come and pay us a visit or call (07) 3293 4949 if you’ve got any questions or would like to place an order.

Hilary Dold, General Manager

P.S. It’s National Recycling Week, 9 – 15 November! Now’s the perfect time to explore how you can use recycled materials in your landscaping projects. If you haven’t already, check out our range of recycled concrete products here.