For the past 4,000 years, people have engaged in the art (and science) of gardening. In ancient Egypt (1500 BC), tomb paintings hint at beautiful ornamental gardens that were subject to regular maintenance. In Persia, the “Hanging Gardens of Babylon” are still to this day considered to be one of the original “Seven Wonders of the Ancient World”. However, aside from their ornamental value, strategic placement of plants can be essential for improving the security of your home.
To protect your house from burglars and potential intruders, there are several measures that you should take. You should have an expansive monitored security system, high-security door locks and motion-activated lights. However, it’s important not to overlook the potential value of strategic landscaping. This can be a low-cost and low-impact way to help improve the security of your home. While landscaping should not be used as a stand-alone method to protect your home, it is very useful when combined with other security measures.
Planting rosebushes under your windows is an effective and visually pleasing way to increase your home’s security. If you aren’t partial to rosebushes, any shrub that has sturdy, thorny branches will suffice. Choose a spot for planting that is directly under your ground-floor windows. The bush should at least span the width of the window, ideally growing to around 6 inches past where the bottom of the window ends. This can make it extremely difficult for even a heavily-clothed burglar to enter through a window while remaining inconspicuous. To supplement these under-window bushes, it’s best to have a motion-activated security light that is able to detect movement in the area of all of your ground floor windows. With any luck, a burglar will become entangled in the thorny bush, then be exposed by the security light. If you’re partial to fruit, blackberry bushes are thorny, fast-growing and have a decent fruit yield. To prevent them from overtaking your hard, however, you will have to prune them regularly.
Eliminate High Shrubbery
While it’s not entirely necessary to purge your entire property of shrubbery, it’s important that the perimeter of your home’s structure doesn’t include potential concealment spots for burglars. If you must plant decorative shrubs, try to do so along your driveway, or where your property comes into contact with the road. This measure should also be used in direct combination with strategic placement of security lighting. Having an unobstructed, well-lit view of your home can help neighbors and law enforcement officers to detect a potential intruder.
Eliminate High Branches
If you’re one of the many homeowners that has a home directly next to one (or several) tall trees, remember that these trees may be used to access the second-floor entry points of your home. While focusing on ground-level entry point security is extremely important, you can’t forget that around 3-5% of burglars enter by using a second floor entrance. To prevent this, keep all of the branches of trees around your home carefully trimmed. Start with the branches that give direct access to your roof or second-floor windows, then proceed to all branches within a 5-8 foot radius of your home. Aside from home security, keeping these branches trimmed can also prevent damage to your home during storms with high wind conditions.
This post is originally authored at the home security blog at family + home security.