When considering the location and methods of construction for your property improvements, it is important to always keep tactical considerations in mind. While taking advantage of favorable terrain and solar exposure is important for your food production systems, it is also critical that you consider primary tactical needs such as maintaining open fields of view/fire around your home, denying a potential attacker as much cover as possible, and building your fighting positions so that they are effectively located, while also blending into the context of your property. Creating each of these elements in a well thought out and coordinated manner will help you create a tactical landscape for your homestead or retreat.

If tactical elements were your only concern, you would live in a fortress located on a mountain peak devoid of any and all vegetation and other concealing features. If feeding yourself was your only concern, you would live in a lush garden that was so dense with plants that you wouldn’t be able to see more than a few feet in any direction. Given these opposing considerations, finding a realistic balance is the goal.

When locating food production systems such as a greenhouse, raised bed planters, or an edible forest garden, choose a location that works well with the terrain and solar exposure, but that does not block tactical views from the house that are within close range (50 yards minimum, 100 yards is better). In addition, consider constructing items such as the greenhouse and raised bed planters so that they can be used by you as fighting positions. For example, the lower portion of a greenhouse can be constructed from stone or concrete with small firing ports. Even better would be to construct a partial-buried greenhouse, which would allow you to see over the top of the structure, while providing a protected position from inside. You can also build your raised bed planters at waist height and fill the lower two thirds with sand or gravel, which offers great drainage for the garden soil, but also acts as a position of low cover and concealment. Keep in mind that almost every tactical element you add to your property can also be used by an attacker, so be thoughtful about each item. For example, the raised bed planters that you can use for cover and concealment can also be used by an attacker, but if you have an elevated view of that position, say from a second floor window, the raised bed planters still provide you with the greater advantage as a defender.

When building fighting positions, provide ballistic protection for all positions using materials such as steel, stone, concrete, soil or a combination of these materials. As a general rule of thumb, you want a minimum of 6” of stone or concrete, or 18” of compact soil for small arms ballistic protection. Whenever possible, camouflage the fighting position by using stone and vegetation that is native to the property. Work with the existing topography when digging a position into a slope so that it smoothly transitions into the adjacent angles of the hillside. Be sure that any tactical position is located well below the existing horizon line as seen from the lowest point of a potential attacker’s position, in order to prevent being silhouetted against the sky, plus be sure that all tactical positions have a backdrop that also prevents being silhouetted from any rearward light source. When using sandbags/earth bag construction, cover the exposed surfaces of the bags using native stone, vegetation and/or soil to enhance the camouflage and prevent ultraviolet degradation of the bag material. Be sure that all plants, rocks and other native materials are in their natural setting and position. You don’t want your replanted tree leaning at a thirty degree angle or the mossy part of the rock stuck in the ground with the dirt covered portion exposed in the air. Look at the surroundings and mimic them so that everything has a consistent appearance.

Should our fragile economy, food supply, power grid, or some other cornerstone of our society fail, the likelihood is that lawlessness will soon follow. Prepare now to keep your loved ones and resources safe from those who would rather take what others have worked hard to obtain instead of working for it themselves. In light of these considerations, the time is now to thoughtfully plan and implement improvements that will turn your current homestead or retreat property into a tactical landscape.

To learn more about an overall ‘Tacticalscape’ property design please contact Brian Domke, our Tacticalscape Guru in the American Redoubt. You can contact him thru his website at STRATEGIC LANDSCAPE DESIGN.