(Fire) Defensive Garden Tours

Learn to Beautifully Protect Properties from Fire and Slides

What presents the greatest dangers to homes in the Urban Wildlife Interface (UWI)? Where should homeowners start the home-hardening and defensive landscaping process? Why are native landscapes safer than turf, agave and hardscapes? Learn the answers to these questions and more as you tour LA properties with the experts.
FormLA Landscaping President Cassy Aoyagi has designed and supported several public fire defensive demonstration gardens within the Authentic Foothill Gardens at Sierra Madre City Hall, for LA Fire Department Station 74, at the Sunland Welcome Nature Garden and Rosemont Preserve. FormLA Landscaping properties in the Santa Monica Mountains, Mandeville Canyon, and two Tujunga homes have been featured on fire defensive landscaping tours. In the following videos, she is joined by LA County Fire Department experts, fire and climate scientists, fire-focused architects, native foliage experts, and city officials. We are hopeful you’ll gain a well-rounded and up-to-date understanding of how every Angeleno can work to improve the city’s fire safety.

Fire Safety Fact and Fiction Panel Discussion

The conversation took place at the 2020 Municipal Green Building Conference and Expo hosted by the LA Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC-LA).

Experts from the fields of wildland fire management and education, home-hardening, defensive landscaping, and fire-safe community organizing, explore common misunderstandings about wildfire and the truth about protecting properties. The conversation is moderated by Marc Los Huertos, associate professor, Environmental Analysis, Pomona College. He is joined by Ron Durban, chief of the Forestry Division, LA County Fire Department; Rick Halsey, executive director, Chaparral Institute; and Cassy Aoyagi, president, FormLA Landscaping.

Mandeville Canyon Fire-Hardened Home Tour

The thought leading LA Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC-LA)’s second Firewise Tours and Education event involved exploring a beautiful Mandeville Canyon property. Ben Stapleton, the organization’s executive director, and Cassy Aoyagi, president, FormLA Landscaping showcase strategies for home hardening and defensive landscaping along the way and answer a number of savvy audience questions.


Get Ready: Wilfire Webinar and Tour

This webinar is part of a series on preparing for natural disasters hosted by City of LA District 7 Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez. Experts from the Los Angeles Fire Department cover home hardening strategies, tree trimming and brush hazards, while Cassy Aoyagi guides a tour of a lush, leafy, shady Tujunga property.


Summer Tours

The thought-leading LA Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC-LA) hosted this tour as part of its Fire Risk Reduction Tours and Education Series. David Hertz, founder, Studio of Environmental Architecture and Cassy Aoyagi share their expertise in hardening homes and creating defensive landscapes and walk you through their design strategies. Via the virtual tour format, you’ll see areas and strategies often not readily visible during in-person tours and perhaps even learn a little bit more.

Learn more about the defensive strategies we used in Mandeville Canyon.

Property (Fire) Protection Webinar

The thought-leading LA Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC-LA) hosted this webinar in January 2020 to kick-off its Fire Risk Reduction Tours and Education Series. David Hertz, founder, Studio of Environmental Architecture and Cassy Aoyagi share their top tips for hardening homes and creating defensible landscapes.


Design for Disaster

LA’s iconic Descanso Gardens) hosted this panel conversation in service to the high fire danger communities that surround it. Cassy Aoyagi moderates a panel that includes LA County Fire Department’s J Lopez, Theodore Payne Foundation’s Kitty Connolly, and the City of Sierra Madre’s James Carlson.


More Information

Here are additional resources mentioned during the tour:

  • See Our Firewise Playlist in Youtube
  • KTLA: Remove These Arson Grasses
  • Take Action When Fires Are Near
  • CalFire: Home Hardening Tips
  • 10 Steps for a Defensive Landscape
  • Expect Resilience Post-Fire
  • Prepare for Debris Flow
  • Fight Fire with Smart Design
  • Are You a Fire Fighter?
  • Disaster Preventing Plant Palettes
  • Disaster Preventing Plant Palettes
  • Plant Choice: Angels and Arsonists
  • Palm Trees as Fire Hazards
  • Combustibility of Landscape Mulches