Landscaping with Security in Mind

Do you travel frequently for business? Is it a family custom to go on mini vacations during the summer? Do you live on a busy street? Whether you’re leaving the house to do errands or you’re attending an out-of-province conference, you need to feel that your house is safe and secure while you are gone. Landscaping can be an integral part of your family’s home security plan.

Home Maintenance

Crime prevention might be as simple as keeping your home well-maintained. Passers-by notice when gutters are sagging or siding is damaged. Burglars looking for an easy mark might think the place is deserted. Healthy flowerbeds, a lawn free of debris and a freshly painted fence send the message that someone lives here.

Tree Selection and Placement

Plant trees that will grow tall in places they won’t give intruders a place to hide or access to the roof or second storey windows.

To make it inconvenient or uncomfortable for a would-be thief, plant thorny low-growing plants underneath windows and thorny trees along fence lines

Choose plants for flowerbeds beside a sidewalk, driveway, gate, or entry doors that will be four feet high or under.

Select low growing shrubs no higher than two feet when landscaping beside sidewalks, driveways, and front doors.

To avoid a security issue, plants under windows should not reach past the window sill.

Where Trees are Located

Burglars look for houses that are easy to enter. A house surrounded by large bushes, provide ideal concealment for home invaders. For trees, shrubs, hedges and plants that are already growing on your property, assess how much they block the view. You want the doors and windows of your home’s exterior to be clearly seen from the street by neighbours and passers-by.

If possible, relocate bushy bushes, particularly ones near entry doors that can provide a burglar with cover.

Prune shrubbery and hedges if they obstruct the view of doors and windows from the street.

Trim back branches of tall or mature trees that could give a burglar access to the upper floors of your home.

Landscape Lighting

Make sure that your property is well-lit. Inspect all of your outdoor lighting fixtures regularly: replace burned-out bulbs and repair ones that aren’t working.

Install motion sensor lights in places on your property that are sheltered or susceptible to a prowler.

Add landscape lighting such as floodlights, bullet lights, and downlights. They highlight aspects of your backyard and front yard at night. But in a prowler’s mind light can mean someone’s home. Use solar landscape lights to illuminate pathways that lead to entry doors.

While rope lights along a driveway increase the safety of approaching your garage at night, it can also be a deterrent for burglars. It’s a light source and prowlers prefer the dark.

New Fence or Fence Upgrade

A good fence keeps unwelcome visitors away. However, tall fences can provide cover for home invaders. Select a type of fence that will strike the perfect balance between privacy and clear sightlines. Before building one, check local bylaws or strata council guidelines for height restrictions.

More Security Landscaping Tips

Place gravel underneath ground floor windows – the noise of someone walking on it might alert you to an intruder.

Position landscaping features such as trellises and arbours where they can’t be used to gain access to your home.

Put away gardening tools, including ladders ideally in a shed that has a lock.

Rocks used to enhance a pond or as part of a rock garden should be large enough so they can’t be moved easily or are secured in place.