Landscaping serves two purposes: It beautifies your home and can help keep you safe—or steer you and your family straight into danger. You likely know how important it is to secure your home against potential thieves and burglars, but your yard is actually the first defense. There’s a thin line between privacy and being a sitting duck. The next time you call the landscapers or head outdoors with your weed whacker, it’s crucial to keep safety in mind.
Thieves can’t resist a secluded home surrounded by high shrubs. You might think you’re building a private chateau, even in the midst of the suburbs, but what you’re really doing is providing cover for a thief. Exterior lighting accompanied by shrubs and trees that provide plenty of transparency is the perfect combination. This doesn’t mean you have to have a barren yard, but you do need to consider what burglars are seeking.
Every Rose Has a Thorn: Use It Wisely
Windows can be a troubling spot for homeowners. Bars aren’t a good idea, because they can trap you inside in case of a fire. Reinforced glass is smart, but it can still be broken. Windows are the second most popular entryways for burglars after doors, and you deserve the natural light they bring. The best way to burglar-proof your windows is simply to plant thorny bushes below them. There are plenty of options, including the beloved rose, and criminals will likely move on to greener (and less thorny) pastures.
Having a rose trellis leading to an upstairs window might look beautiful, but since it’s basically a ladder dedicated thieves might be up for the challenge. Leave the thorny bushes securely on the ground. When pruning and deadheading, ensure that your plants are in good shape without trimming them too close to the window—they should provide a serious challenge for anyone looking to get inside.
Light the Way
When it comes to exterior lighting, there are many options. Downlighting, uplighting, spotlighting—they all serve a purpose. It’s wise to keep trees well-lit at night, especially if they come close to any upper windows. Of course, it’s also necessary to keep those limbs trimmed far away from the house. Take a walk around your home at night and think like a thief. Are there any dark hiding spots that could use a light bulb or two?
Also remember that lighting is useless if the bulb can be unscrewed or easily broken. Keep lighting high, and perhaps even caged. Those lights along the garden brightening up the pathway are romantic and lovely, but they do little to ward off someone looking to break into the home. Automating lights in a realistic manner is another great option, but don’t depend on routine settings that are obviously staged. Finally, complement your lights with a few authentic home security system signs (even if you don’t have one installed). A home security system is a fantastic investment, but if you don’t have one yet, many criminals will be tricked by the signs alone.