Front and Backyard Landscaping Ideas for Home Security
should I care about landscaping ideas for home security?
You may be wondering what front or backyard landscaping ideas have to do with residential defense. When considering home security needs, people tend to focus on protecting the openings and interiors of their houses. And yes, installing sturdy exterior doors and locks is critical. The door and window sensors, motion detectors, glass break sensors, and indoor security cameras that make up a comprehensive interior home security system are important too. But your front, back, and side yards also have a vital role to play in keeping you and your property safe and secure.
Landscaping does more than increase your home’s curb appeal and raise property values. It’s key to balance your desire for an attractive and private outdoor space with the need to protect your property. The good news is that many of the best landscaping practices don't just make your home's surroundings more appealing; they also deter criminals from attempting to invade your home. Let’s review the top landscaping tips for increasing home security.
increases as trees spread their branches and re-grow leaves
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, household burglary rates increase in the summer. This amplifies the impact that landscaping choices have on your home’s security during the warmer months—especially as grass, trees, and bushes are growing and foliage returns.
Boca Raton Police Officer Gwynne Friters explains the basic principles of what is officially known as "crime prevention through environmental design."
She says that the two most important factors for this aspect of crime prevention are landscaping and lighting. Specifically, this involves increasing visibility from your home throughout your yard (and from the surrounding area to your home), limiting an intruder’s access to your property, removing potential hiding spots, and making sure your property is well-lit at night.
Luckily, following the best practices of basic landscape design can yield the home security dividends Friters outlines. After all, a streamlined look is more visually appealing than a messy, overgrown landscape. And providing clear views to and from your home to its surroundings while still having a deterrent border in place can be quite attractive.
trespassers into the open with these front and backyard landscaping ideas
This may seem like an obvious statement, but criminals want to avoid getting caught. For residential burglars, approaching and entering homes without being seen is particularly important. If you can make this difficult or impossible, you drastically reduce the chances of your home being robbed.
In particular, make sure there is a clear line of sight from the street and surrounding properties to your home’s first-floor doors and windows, as these are the most common entry points for burglars. Aware neighbors make a great security feature, if they can actually see your house from theirs.
shrub, and hedges
Shrubbery can reduce your safety if it gives intruders a place to conceal themselves or prevents you from having a full view of your exterior property. Plant and trim bushes and hedges in such a way that you can see around them or over them. Law enforcement officials recommend keeping shrubbery and ornamental grasses trimmed to a maximum height of two or three feet.
Thorny bushes (like roses, barberry, and bougainvillea) and plants with sharp leaves (such as pampas grass or holly) can also provide privacy and visual interest but make an unappealing hiding spot. Plant them beneath first-floor windows to prevent intruder access and along the edges of your property to force trespassers to more visible access points, like driveways and walkways. Appropriate plants exist for any climate or landscape design.
Avoid placing boulders, statues, fountains, and other large landscape features in such a way that they provide hiding places for burglars near your home or block the view out of your windows. Set them a reasonable distance away from your house and consider illuminating them with solar-powered lights. Not only will this make any trespassers in their vicinity more visible, but it will also highlight your yard’s unique decorative elements and add evening ambiance to your property.
In addition to highlighting certain elements of your home’s landscaping, there are several ways to install exterior lighting to improve home security. Bright and/or motion-activated lights deter burglars, while putting specific lights on a timer (or, even better, using scheduled smart lighting) can make intruders think you’re home even when your house is empty.
Bright lights in porches and entry areas illuminate anyone trying to break in. They also make it easier for you to find your keys, unlock your door, and safely enter your home. (A smart door lock can also help with this.) Be sure to illuminate the side and back porches and entrances, as well as front ones. Install solar-powered landscape lights along walkways and motion-sensitive lights in dark areas of your property.
While grass, concrete, and slate are appropriate and desirable in certain areas, they don’t do much to let you know an intruder has found their way onto your property. To increase your ability to hear trespassers approaching, you could install loose rocks or gravel under first-floor windows, on walkways, and around shrubbery. This will make it more difficult for burglars to approach your home undetected as they make a crunching noise with each step.
fences have their own dos and don’ts
Properly installed security fences make it harder for burglars to access your yard. By obscuring views of entry points, security system details, and signs of valuables, security fences designed for privacy also make it more difficult for burglars to evaluate your home’s potential as a target. But anyone who manages to climb over this type of fence will be able to roam your property and break into your home without worrying that a neighbor or passing driver will catch them in the act.
To ensure privacy for patios and decks, patio curtains or screens may be a better alternative. You can close curtains, roll down semi-sheer shades, or put moveable patio screens in place to create a private oasis. Then open curtains and shades or return screens to an out-of-the-way location before leaving the area. This allows for seclusion when you want it and full visibility for security’s sake the rest of the time.
If you do choose to fence your yard, you may pick a fence that doesn’t completely block the view to and from your home to the surrounding space. This is especially important if you need a taller fence to contain a pet. You can also consider installing a shorter fence in the front to preserve the field of vision to your house and a taller fence in the back to ensure privacy for backyard barbecues and pool parties.
When adding a fence, plan to enclose your entire yard—or at least enough to funnel intruders towards visible access points like driveways and walkways. Install gates and sturdy locks. And remember to close and lock the gates at night and when you’re away.
While tall fences topped with razor wire, anti-climb spikes, or barbed wire are overkill and would make a house look like a prison, you can still install fences with features designed to make scaling them difficult. Choose vertical rather than horizontal railings and consider opting for decorative spear tops.
Before opting for the energy and expense of installing fencing, be sure to contact your local authorities. Municipalities and neighborhood associations often have their own rules and regulations regarding approved fence height, materials, styles, etc. Choose approved fencing that’s attractive and matches the style of your home and landscaping. Contact your homeowner's insurance company once the fence is in place. An insurance discount may offset your installation costs.
Finally, it's essential to realize that even fence companies tell customers not to rely on fencing alone for residential security needs. Traditional security steps and modern home security systems add layers of protection that together provide the comprehensive security your family needs.
backyard landscaping ideas with necessary yard maintenance
Properly maintaining your landscaping increases your home’s curb appeal, can raise property values, and makes your yard a more pleasant place for your family, pets, and guests. Perhaps most importantly, it also plays a crucial role in home security.
Trimming trees that give easy access to second-story windows is a smart idea. This may include removing lower branches that provide hand- and foot-holds as well as trimming or removing upper branches that come close to upper windows. As discussed earlier, you should also trim branches, bushes, etc. that block street views of your home’s windows and doors, and anything that blocks your view of the yard from inside your house.
A well-groomed lawn and garden send a message that your house is likely occupied and has an attentive owner. Mow and water your grass regularly. Weed gardens and flower beds often. This type of maintenance is especially important if you will be away from home for more than a day or two. If you’re unable to do these tasks yourself or will be gone for an extended period, hire a neighbor or yard maintenance service to take care of this.
security systems can also improve your safety, whether installed internally or
externally (and preferably both)
A wide variety of studies (including one conducted by the Rutgers University School of Criminal Justice) have found that the presence of burglar alarms significantly decreases residential break-ins. In fact, 90% of convicted burglars admit to avoiding homes that are protected by a security system. And households with security systems are almost three times less likely to be broken into than those without them.
When selecting and installing exterior security system components, know that 34% of burglars come through a home’s front door, 22% through the back, and 23% through first-floor windows. Frontpoint offers two types of video surveillance cameras that are appropriate for outdoor installation. By placing these devices appropriately, you can hope to deter most burglars and catch any would-be intruders in the act.
Frontpoint’s Wireless Wi-Fi Outdoor Camera provides both a high-quality live stream and recorded video clips. It gives a 117° field of view and can be manually rotated to get the best view. 1080p resolution and infrared night vision up to 40 feet capture crystal-clear video night and day. The camera is designed to operate in temperatures ranging from -13° to 113° degrees Fahrenheit and comes with a 10-foot power cord to make installation easy.
Built-in motion sensors provide mobile and email alerts if a trespasser crosses the camera’s field of vision. If the system is armed and an intrusion sensor is tripped and sounds the alarm, all Frontpoint cameras immediately start recording footage. And by uploading video footage to the cloud, the camera enables you to provide police officers access to your recorded surveillance, even if a camera is removed or destroyed.
Install the Outdoor Camera anywhere on the outside of your home within range of your router (approximately 100 feet). It’s usually a good idea to make exterior security cameras easily visible to criminals (to deter them) but not easily accessed. Place them approximate 8-10 feet off the ground where a tree, trellis, etc. can't reach them. If possible, aim Outdoor Cameras at your home’s exterior doors and windows, towards your driveway, and along the perimeter of your property.
A Doorbell Camera is an excellent investment in front-door security. The camera’s motion sensors will alert you to any activity near the door, whether or not someone rings the doorbell. And the knowledge that they’re being videotaped often proves an effective deterrent to burglars who wish to avoid arrest.
Frontpoint’s Wireless Doorbell Camera is slim, weather-resistant, and features infrared night vision and 720p HD video. It provides a 180° field of view, operates in temperatures from -40° to 150° Fahrenheit, and can be hardwired into your existing doorbell wiring. It also offers two-way audio capabilities for safe remote communication with guests, delivery personnel, and unwelcome visitors.
with an eye towards home security is valuable in more ways than one
As you can see, making wise landscaping choices is about more than making your yard look beautiful. When you install the right kinds of plants, hardscape, and lighting, you increase your home’s curb appeal and deter criminals from venturing onto your property and approaching your residence. This allows you to enjoy your yard in peace spring, summer, and fall—and to know that your home is more secure throughout the year.
Frontpoint keeps homes safe whether families are there or not. We've been revolutionizing the home security industry for over a decade. And we're just getting started. To shop DIY home security systems, check out our Security Packages. If you have questions or would like to discuss a quote, contact us at 1-877-602-5276.