Wanting your home to be secure doesn’t require a reason. Crime in your region may or may not be on the rise. The zombie apocalypse is probably still a few decades out, and your neighborhood may or may not be rife with mischevious teenagers, but you still want your house to be as intruder-proof as possible. Many people think about their home security and how to keep their family safe whether or not there are imminent threats and it is this kind of preparation that allows you to be safe if something does happen.
Good home security doesn’t have to break the bank or look like a Bond villain lair. In fact, with a few strategic decisions about landscaping and yard maintenance, you can significantly lower the chances that your home will be targeted or that an intruder will succeed if they try. Here are some of our best tips for securing your home exterior without hiring an expensive consultant.
Nothing to Hide Behind
The first principle of exterior home security is to remove the ability to sneak up. The two most commonly used approaches are behind cars in the driveway or large trash cans left out. To this end, try to keep your cars in the garage, your trashcans put away or nestled into a corner, and use large shrubs or yard decor sparingly. If you want mid-yard decoration, choose items an adult could not easily hide behind,
Strategic Outdoor Lighting
Clear illumination is a criminal’s worst enemy because it removes their ability to sneak and makes them visible to both you and the neighbors, but you don’t have to use aggressive spotlights. Subtle, slow-placed spotlights pointing up onto your flower gardens specifically illuminate the ‘sneaking paths’ while leaving most of your yard in pleasant evening gloom. The same effect can be achieved with high-placed spotlights on the side of the house pointing downward. You may also consider a few subtle tree lights.
Home Security Sign (real or fake)
Home security signs indicate that the home is armed with an alarm and an emergency service will respond to intrusion even if the family isn’t home. This may or may not be true about your home but a sign causes criminals to give their goal a second thought because they have no way of knowing whether or not the house is armed.
If you want to create some serious disadvantage for uninvited guests, decorate your flowerbeds with large crunchy rocks and/or plant a tree that drops noisy seed pods. This will increase the sound of each step, particularly along the routes that are usually taken to sneak up to a house.
Windows are another consideration, as a broken window latch is often the reason an otherwise secure house can be entered. While it’s up to your daily security to keep the windows locked, planting roses, blackberry trellises, or other thorny plants along your foundation flower beds will make it much less pleasant to try and climb into any window even if it standing wide open. Choose something that is not supportive so the old blanket trick doesn’t work.
If you want to build the tech infrastructure, consider a few strategic places to put security cameras and stream the feed. From here, you can try motion detection or simply provide yourself with a few additional windows. With the right program (Yawcam for example), you can stream the feed to your smartphone without paying for a fancy app.
Put Away Ladders
Where lights are an intruder’s worst enemy, ladders left out in the yard are their best friend. This gives them an instant bypass beyond all the probably locked windows, the crunchy rocks, and the thorny plants right into an unguarded second story window. Keep your ladders safely locked in the garage.
Chain Patio Furniture
While professional criminals may be too practical to steal or vandalize heavy patio furniture, rampaging teenagers are not. Don’t assume your furniture is safe just because it isn’t worth stealing. Get a long chain or a few bicycle chains and secure your furniture to each other and to something solid like a pillar or the deck.
Speaking of teenagers and backyard shenanigans, if an intruder can get into your backyard, they have a much easier time approaching without being seen and reported by neighbors. Secure your back gate and/or make it very noisy to open and close and design your fence to discourage hopping. This can be done with cat spikes (a real product), or a flexible fence top.
You think we’re kidding but some forms of classic beautiful landscaping are more defensible than others. Consider building an artistic stream through your yard with a picturesque mini-bridge, then don’t illuminate it. Everyone who knows your yard will remember the stream is there while strangers may well literally trip themselves up.