Texas Living

How Strategic Landscaping Can Improve Home Security

By Peter Simek 5.4.22

When you think about your home’s first line of defense against burglars, the first thing that probably springs to mind is your security system: alarms, cameras, motion-controlled flood lighting, or even a loyal dog. But one of the easiest home defenses to overlook — yet simplest to implement — is landscaping.

There are a few ways you can arrange your yard decorations and plants to deter trespassers. If you choose the right mix of plants and shrubs, you can even design a yard that keeps unwanted pests away as well. Here are a few key ways that landscaping can amplify your home security.

plants to deter trespassers

Maintain Clear Sightlines

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, crime rates go up in the summer. While there may be any number of reasons for this spike, some criminal experts believe budding trees play a role. When trees and other plants are in full leafy bloom, they can block your view from your house. While this may make your home look attractive from the street, it can also inhibit homeowners from noticing if a potential burglar is casing their house. Law enforcement officials suggest keeping plants and shrubs to 2 to 3 feet high so they don’t block windows. Keeping on top of regular tree trimming will prevent branches from obscuring your view of your property.

Make a Vegetation Blockade

While it is important to ensure that landscaping doesn’t block your view of any potential burglars, a smartly landscaped yard can also use vegetation to provide a barrier against invaders. Closely planted lines of trees or thick, boxy bushes can sometimes be more difficult to get through than your typical white picket fence.

plants to deter trespassers

Minimize Hiding Places

While some landscaping can create obstacles for burglars, some can yield hiding places for someone approaching your home. Popular burglar hiding places include bushy plants and shrubs that are close to first-floor windows. Fewer of these plants can deter trespassers, particularly plants that are close to easy-to-access entrances and windows.

Create a Thorny Situation

One way to minimize potential burglars from using shrubs as hiding spaces is by planning landscaping that can fight back. Plant thorny bushes — such as roses, barberry, or bougainvillea — underneath windows to make it difficult for burglars to approach their favorite entry points. Sharp-leaved plants, such as pampas grass or holly, can also look appealing and provide rich vegetative life on your property while thwarting potential intruders who are looking for a place to hide.

plants to deter trespassers

Make Some Noise

Burglars want to move quickly and undetected. Anything that makes it difficult for a burglar to stay quiet functions as a form of home security. While it may be easy for an intruder to avoid rocky walkways, installing landscaping gravel or rocks along the perimeter of your house will create a noisy barrier. Any burglar looking to slip through a first-floor window is going to make a ruckus that, even if you don’t hear it, may scare them away. These can also become an attractive accent to your home’s landscaping.

Maintain Good Lighting

Lighting can perform two functions in your yard: illuminating attractive landscaping accents and preventing intruders from slipping through your yard undetected. If you have large landscaping elements such as distinctive trees or bushes, install solar-powered lights. These will not only highlight your yard’s distinct look but also light up anyone attempting to approach your home. Motion-detecting lights can also spook intruders, who will have to make a split-second decision if the light was flipped on because of a sensor or because they were spotted.

plants to deter trespassers

Pest-Proof Plants

Burglars and home invaders aren’t the only unwanted guests that can slip into our yards. Sometimes the best way to keep pests away is to thoughtfully slip some attractive flora into your landscaping. Here are a few suggestions:

Lavender: These attractive and fragrant flowering plants also repel fleas, moths, mosquitos, and other unwanted insects.

Chrysanthemums: The blooms of these rose-colored flowers contain pyrethrum, an ingredient that is often used in insect repellents and dog shampoo. No surprise, then, that they kill and repel ants, fleas, roaches, beetles, ticks, and other creepy-crawlers.

Marigolds: As avid vegetable gardeners know, marigolds are great at keeping away both aphids and mosquitoes. That makes them a great complement to any tomato plants you are putting in the ground this season.

Petunias: This dainty, flowering plant may look friendly to us, but its sweet fragrance and sticky hair follicles trap insects (including Japanese beetles, aphids, and leafhoppers) before sucking the nutrients from their bodies.

Keep on Top of Maintenance

Unlike fences, security systems, or lighting, plants grow and change throughout the year, so a well-considered defensive landscape will become ineffective if not regularly maintained. An overgrown yard can also indicate to burglars that homeowners are either often not home or not on top of security measures. Make sure to trim back trees and bushes regularly to ensure that your yard both looks great and stays safe.

Click here to learn about unexpected ways burglars can get into your home.

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