As part of National Home Security Month 2022, we look at some simple steps that you can take to keep your garden safe and secure.
The Secured Garden that proved such a hit at the at this year’s Royal Horticultural Society Hyde Hall Summer Flower Show had many techniques incorporated into it to deter opportunistic burglars – and these techniques can be used in any front or rear garden.
The garden – a collaboration between Essex Police, Secured by Design (SBD), RHS Hyde Hall and the Essex Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, with support from a number of SBD member companies and local companies – showed how simple and affordable crime prevention measures can be incorporated into any front or rear garden to add an extra layer of security.
The garden practically demonstrated how the garden environment can be the first line of defence and innovatively demonstrated the application of defensive layered planting, secure boundaries and physical security measures.
Key security features
The key security features, which make a garden safe, secure and sustainable include:
Boundaries and access – the first line of defence against theft is to make sure property boundaries are secure, particularly to the rear, where people are often less watchful.
Fences – fences need to be of solid construction. It is recommended that fences to the rear of your property are 1.8m, and to the front no higher than 1.2m. Low-growing thorny shrubs at the base of fences, windows and drainpipes, will also give added protection.
Drives and pathways – gravel drives and paths make it impossible for an intruder to approach a property quietly.
Gates – keep gates shut and locked whenever possible, especially those allowing access to the rear of the property. Fit two quality locks to a gate, top and bottom, and ensure hinges are securely fixed to gate posts so that the gate cannot be lifted off its hinges.
Lighting – install security lighting operated by a daylight sensor. Position lighting so not to be a nuisance to neighbours or a distraction for road users.
Mark your property – mark your valuable items using one the various property marking schemes or use a permanent marker to endorse it with your post code and house number or name.
Plants, ornaments and containers – proprietary land anchors can be used to secure larger plants, garden furniture, containers and ornaments. Most are based on a permanent stake to which an item is chained or bolted.
Sheds and outbuildings – look after your sheds and outbuilding, making sure that both the lock and the hinges are securely fitted. Don’t make a burglar’s job easier by leaving gardening tools lying around – these are often used to force entry into houses. Think about using a strong lockable box or cage within the shed in which you can securely store garden tools.
Storage Units – Consider a specialist SBD approved steel storage unit. These can be used for bikes and garden equipment and come in a range of sizes.
CCTV – gardens with expensive items may be best protected by installation of closed circuit television (CCTV). Domestic systems can be linked to your television or video to view your garden.
Plants that fight back – clearly, another level of defence are the plants themselves. Thorny, spiky and prickly plants can deter even the most determined burglar and may be all the protection you need around your property. If you choose the right plants, they can look aesthetically pleasing too and add drama to your garden. Planted in groups or as focal points there’s a vast array of forms, textures, and sizes to choose from.
Essex Police Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington: “Gardens are a place to relax, unwind or spend time with loved ones. They can also be purposeful and help make your home more secure. With a few small changes to your garden you can help protect your home and reduce your chances of being a victim of crime.”
Head of site at RHS Garden Hyde Hall & Garden Designer Ian Le Gros said: ““Well thought out design and planting demonstrates that you don’t have to scarifice beauty for security. There are several things that can be done to improve security in the garden –most of which are relatively quick and inexpensive to do.”
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