We all want our homes to be as safe as possible. Most of us understand that this entails more than simply locking our doors and windows when we leave. We know that using a wooden dowel is a cheap and effective way to secure sliding glass doors and windows. We know not to leave ladders out and windows open. We know to close our garages. We know all of the basics. But what about the advanced stuff? What many people don’t realize is that there are a lot of ways to beef up home security that have little to do with your actual house. Yes, that’s right: one of the best ways to beef up your home security is to secure your yard and the rest of your property. Here are some tips to help you do that. Keep it Clean A yard with a lot of debris makes the house beyond it look like an easy target. Messy lawns and yards are often signals that nobody is at home and that, even if someone is home, that person does not care a whole lot about keeping their home kept up. For many intruders and neighborhood casers, this means that you are less likely to have a home security system or other measures in place to keep the nefarious at bay. Mow your lawn. Rake the leaves. Put the kids’ toys and bikes away at the end of the day. A well kept lawn and yard are like blinking stop signs that say “I pay attention!” Thieves and intruders are wary of those that pay attention. Keep it Clear You might love the idea of a yard with lots of plants and shrubs and big leafy trees. Someone who is casing your house sees all of that “wildness” and thinks “look at all of the great places to hide and wait for a good time to break in!” The more trees, bushes, tall plants, etc you have on your property, the harder it is to see every inch of it–both for you looking out and passerby who might be glancing in. You want people to notice if someone is lurking around, right? Why would you block their view? If you’re worried about your privacy, close your curtains! Plant Carefully Yes, we just said that you need to keep your yard and lawn well maintained. It is also important that, what you do plant be planted with security in mind. Why? Because thieves see a yard that is meticulous and assume the people who keep it up have money. While the risk is great (see above), it might pay off in a great reward. This is why you need landscaping that is meant to trip up intruders. In particular you want plants and shrubs that are thorny and prickly to discourage nefarious types from trying to fight through them. And those who do take the risk will likely make enough of a racket to alert you and your neighbors to the fact that someone or something is where they (or it) shouldn’t be. Good Lighting is Incredibly Important Your porch light is not ever going to be enough to deter thieves and other jerks who want to find their way onto your property. You want flood lights strategically placed so that your entire yard can be lit up in an instant. Another important factor here is that the lights you install need to be hooked up to a motion sensor. This way you don’t have to worry that the intruders are simply waiting for you to turn out your property lights to try to break in. As an added bonus, motion detected lights can also alert you to kids who might be trying to sneak out (or back in)! Obviously plants and great landscaping aren’t going to be enough to deter thieves. You’ll also want to protect your home with a security system. That handy “this home is protected by [name of security agency]” signs do a lot more to discourage jerks than most other things you will do. The type of security system you need is going to vary depending on your home, your neighborhood, and how much security you want (and can afford). Don’t simply buy the first system you find. Compare ADT home security plans and all of your options before you make a decision. Finally–and this might seem counterintuitive–try to relax. Vigilance is good for your safety, but paranoia is bad. If you’ve put all of the proper measures in place, security system, safety plans, security measures, landscaping details, etc the best thing you can do is get back to your life and hope everything works the way it is supposed to work.
- Landscape Architecture: An Introduction by Robert Holden
- Landscape Architecture, Fifth Edition: A Manual of Environmental Planning and Design by Barry Starke
Article by Brooklyn Williams. Return to Homepage Featured image: Park lighting. A night photograph taken at Garden of Five Senses, Delhi. Photo credit: Author – Kprateek88. Licensed under GFDL and CC-BY-SA.