Defensive Planting for Household Security

Home owners today are much more aware of security. Burglar alarms are commonplace, people lock their doors and windows and are careful when it comes to their spare keys. But securing the house is not the only way to deter intruders.

How you organise your garden plays an important role. Defensive planting is all about the basic layout of your garden and using plants to create a barrier.

Hedge Around your Garden

Planting a hedge round your garden is a good first step toward deterring intruders and upping home security. It is advisable to limit the height of the hedge to no more than three feet, so the house and garden can be seen from the road A high hedge provides cover for anyone up to no good.

Check for weak spots around your garden and fill any gaps with a thorny shrub. A plant such as the Hawthorn (Crataegus Monogyna) is ideal as it is dense and spiky. It’s attractive too with fragrant white flowers in May and red haws in Autumn. Holly has tightly packed spines on its leaves and would make an excellent hedge. Common Gorse is a very spiny plant and is good for boundaries.

Make Life Difficult for Intruders

Defensive plants also work well under windows as a preventative measure. Opportunistic thieves who look for an easy entry won’t want to negotiate thorns and spikes. Not only is it painful but they risk leaving behind a scrap of clothing or drop of blood to help the police identify them.

It’s a good idea to invest in a few climbing plants as well to put at the bottom of drainpipes or around garages – anywhere where access could be gained to the home.

Prickly Plants

Rosa Fruhlings is a pretty but very prickly fragrant rose. It grows up to 2-3 metres high making it a good choice for individual shrubs. Winter Sun (mahonia) has spiny foliage and, as the name suggests, flowers in winter. Plant these under your windows. Pyracantha is a climbing evergreen with thorns up to 30mm long.

The thorns do not break off as they are part of the stem and would discourage even the most determined thief. Plant Pyracantha to climb up walls or drainpipes, and Pink Lady is a fast grower that can also be trained to climb walls.

Balance Security and Household Safety

Do be careful if you have young children or animals; you need to make sure that your chosen plants are non-poisonous and that your children do not stray too near to them. Your local garden centre will be able to advise on the best plants to buy.

The gravel path and the water feature can also be taken into account. Gravel paths or driveways, as well as being decorative, are effective deterrents, as no thief likes to give away their presence on a noisy path. You could use any left over gravel under the windows as a crunchy surprise. A carefully placed fountain or pond can surprise anyone clambering over a hedge or wall.

Natural Barbed Wire

These tips show how a little defensive planting can turn your garden into an unpleasant experience for intruders. The prickly plants you choose can be just as attractive as their non-prickly alternatives and have the added bonus of attracting wildlife. Birds will appreciate it if you choose shrubs with berries.

There is no need for unsightly barbed wire or broken glass. A few strategically placed plants will certainly make intruders think twice before choosing to enter your property.