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A guide to garden security

Your garden is somewhere to relax and let your guard down. It’s a point of pride for those of us with green thumbs, it’s a place to relax during a summer BBQ, and it’s a playground for our kids. But it can also act as your home’s first line of defence against unwanted visitors and would-be burglars.

While we’re not saying that you have to lock down your garden completely and make it look like an unattractive fortress, there are steps you can take to protect your property without compromising the aesthetics you’ve worked so hard on. It’s all detailed right here in our comprehensive guide to garden security.

1. Low front boundaries

Many people believe that the best way to protect their home from the front is to have high fences or bushes. In their mind, this blocks the contents of their home from view of potential burglars. And while this logic is sound, it can actually be affording would-be criminals the perfect hiding spot.

You don’t want to give anybody the opportunity to sneak around without being seen. So the best choice when it comes to front garden security is a low fence or hedge, ideally under a metre or lower than your waist in height. If a burglar thinks that they can be easily spotted, they’re less likely to target your home.

2. High side and rear boundaries

The opposite to your front garden, the back and side of your house is where you want to make it difficult for people to get up, over and onto your property. Older brick walls will often be waist height, so if you have these in your garden then you’re going to want to consider something taller.

For a stylish addition that also makes your fence harder to scale, consider adding a trellis to the top. Bear in mind though that if your fence exceeds two metres in height, you’ll need to get planning permission.

3. Catch them on camera

The biggest and best deterrent is installing a home security camera at the front and, if you can, the rear of your home. Having a camera placed front, centre and clearly visible sends a strong message to any would-be burglars that you are ready to catch them in the act, and take it further.

And in the unfortunate event that a break in does occur, you can take the footage to the police where it could help identify them and lead to an arrest.

Team our SimpliCam with the Outdoor Kit so it can be used outside.

4. Gravel paths

While we can certainly see the allure of a smooth and freshly paved driveway, unfortunately you won’t hear a sound if someone were to tiptoe up it in the dead of night. Gravel driveways and paths are a cheap and lowkey option as it’s a lot harder to tread quietly with stones underfoot. It’s an easy deterrent for someone looking for a quick fix.

5. Strong perimeter defences

Fences and walls aren’t the only way to make your garden difficult to get into. Below are some of the best species to protect yourself.

The best plants to use as garden borders:

  • Firethorn – Incredibly easy to maintain, in fact no specialist garden knowledge is required to keep this plant alive, firethorn is the perfect option if your garden sits in shade. It is an evergreen plant, which means it will provide protection all year round, and will flower in spring to mid-summer so you get some decoration, too.
  • Hawthorn – Already a popular hedging plant, Hawthorn produces pleasantly-scented white flowers in autumn. But don’t be deceived by its pretty exterior. The Hawthorn has large thorns that make it the ideal deterrent.
  • Holly – The perfect choice if you’re looking for something a bit more traditional. The glossy leaves reflect the light and look delightful, but the prickly edges are bound to stop unwanted visitors. A great combination of pretty and protective.
  • Blackthorn – As you can tell by the name, the Blackthorn bush is covered in dense foliage and thorns. Snow white flowers appear in the spring, and the black sloes that grow in autumn will attract an array of wildlife to your garden.

6. Secure your shed

Garden sheds are prime targets for burglars. More often than not they are less secure than houses themselves, and they’re filled with tools and other valuable equipment.

Here’s how to secure your shed:

  • Replace the hinge – Surprisingly, the hinges of the shed door is actually one of its weakest points. Usually they are secured with short screws that are easy to unscrew or force open from the outside. Replace these weak screws with nuts and bolts and, for an added layer of security, super glue the nut to the bolt on the inside of the shed.
  • Upgrade your lock – Rather than use the lock your shed came with, consider something stronger like a hasp and stronger padlock. Closed shackle padlocks can’t be opened with bolt cutters and saws, so they offer the best protection.
  • Shield the windows – If your shed is on the larger side with windows, consider blinds or curtains to obscure what’s inside. If burglars can see that there’s something valuable inside, they’ll know it’s worth the effort. Windows are also a weak point, as the glass or frame simply needs breaking.
  • Put everything away at night – It may sound simple but a lot of people will leave tools lying around outside at night, especially if they’re planning on picking the work up the next day. Not only are these prime targets for stealing, but you’re handing thieves the tools they need to break into your shed and potentially your home.
  • Lock large items together – Use a bike lock and make it awkward for thieves to steal your biggest and most valuable items. Secure your bike, leaf blower, lawnmower, etc, to one another for a fiddly and off-putting security hack.

7. Use plants to your advantage

We’ve already talked about using spiky plants as a deterrent around your perimeter, but there’s no reason why you can’t plant them elsewhere in your garden as an extra layer of protection. Holly and creeping juniper in particular tick the boxes of looking aesthetically pleasing while also warding off visitors, so they’d be perfectly placed under windows.

If you have potted plants dotted around the garden, add rocks and pebbles to the bottom as this will make them heavy and incredibly difficult to lift. Pots are easy projectiles that some burglars may use to break windows, but they won’t be able to do that if they can’t lift them up.

8. Light the way

Simple yet effective, installing a motion sensitive security light is an easy way to put people off your office. This kind of light has a sensor built in and will light up if motion is detected within its range. If you live on a street where there is a lot of footfall, then you might want to rethink having one at the front of your house, but in the back garden or a side alley will do the trick just fine.

Garden protection is mostly common sense, but the rest of the tips we’ve talked about above will help to secure your garden as your home’s first line of defence. Every once in a while, try and look at your land with fresh eyes, and try to see what a potential burglar sees. If you spot any weaknesses, get them patched up straight away, so you can enjoy your home and garden in peace.