Our Mediterranean ecosystem is unique, part of only two percent of the world’s total land area in five small areas around the planet.These areas are characterized by mild, rainy winters and warm, dry summers, is moderated by cold ocean currents offshore.Throughout the world, the Mediterranean ecosystem is characterized by evergreen or drought deciduous shrublands. (from National Park Service > Santa Monica Mountains).
Landscape choices effect your home’s chance of surviving a wildfire
The threat of a fast-moving wildfire in Topanga is real: this article explains why. Managing vegetation through hardening and defensible space on and around your property are essential for increasing your home’s chance of surviving a wildfire. The LA County Fire Department is authorized to fine owners who do not do so. Potential changes to insurance laws may make premium discounts for effective maintenance possible.
- For an overview of how to make your property defensible, see A Guide to Defensible Space-LA County Fire Department (PDF), CalFire Defensible Space Zones, the LA County Fire Department Fire Hazard Reducation Programs, and LA County FD Plant Selection Guidelines (PDF)
- For a home safety evaluation, visit the North Topanga Fire Safety Council and/or view this video How to Make Your Home Less Vulnerable to Wildfire.
Landscape choices can create a healthy ecosystem
Native plants of our locale conserve water and provide food and shelter for insects, birds, and other wild things. In doing so, they help complete ecological cycles by maintaining a diverse ecosystem, so fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides are not needed. (For more information, see the Audubon Society’s Why Native Plants Matter).
- For information about native plants specifically suited for Top O’Topanga, check out the online database at Calscape.org.
- The Calscape Garden Planner is a free online tool to help you plan your garden based on your zip code, sun availability, water, types of wildlife you want to attract, and more.
- For drought-tolerant plants, designs, how-tos, and nursery info, see The Drought Tolerant Garden: Los Angeles County Handbook (PDF).
- Be careful to choose non-invasive plants (such as palms), that can escape into adjacent wildlands and create fire hazards. Visit California Invasive Plant Control for more information.
- These books can help too
- California Native Plants for the Garden by Carol Bornstein, David Fross, and Bart O’Brien
- The California Native Landscape by Greg Rubin and Lucy Warren
- Fire, Chaparrral, and Survival in Southern California by Richard W. Halsey
- Bringing Nature Home by Douglas W. Tallamy
- Flowering Plants: The Santa Monica Mountains, Coastal, and Chaparral Regions of Southern California by Nancy Dale
Large landscape changes require approval
If you are planning to make substantial changes to your home exterior or lot, you must first submit an application to the Architectural Review Committee (ARC) (see Governing Documents). TOT has underground pipes, cables, and other utility lines that could be easily cut or damaged.
For information on products used by our vendors to manage our common area landscape, contact the Onsite Manager (see Management).