Modern technology can’t compete with the old-fashioned style of home protection practiced by British kings. Intruders had to cross sewage-filled moats, breach vast stone walls called “curtain walls” and avoid vats of boiling oil tipped on their heads by guards. Much as many home owners would like to employ these modes of security, city housing restrictions expressly forbid towering stone walls and moats full of alligators. Fortunately, the modern king or queen of the home castle still has plenty of security options.
Let’s look at some ways you can protect your house via a security fence and its accompanying landscaping.
While some thieves are highly skilled, the average home invader is too unmotivated and undisciplined to get a real job. So making your fence appear difficult to penetrate goes a long way towards discouraging theft. After all, why would a lazy robber bother climbing your six-foot fence with pointed finials on top when your neighbor down the street prefers an open, unfenced backyard?
Height is a big deterrent. Check with your local city regulations, as they differ from town to town. For example, if you live in Dallas, you’re allowed a four-foot fence around your front yard, and nine feet in the back. But rules might differ if you live in a historic district.
If you’re really concerned about security, electrified fencing is a huge turnoff to intruders. A very low current paired with a big warning sign will nicely make your point.
And, of course, the aforementioned finials recall a time when the heads of criminals were displayed on spikes. Again, a constructive message to send the would-be burglar.
Back it up with Real Strength
Just in case some home invader calls your bluff, back up your tough-looking fence with real strength. Use welded or bolted hardware on your gates. Choose fencing material that’s hard to climb. Security cameras – and accompanied signage – will also deter many criminals.
Planting for Security
Have you considered an enormous Venus fly trap, or other man-eating plants? Okay, that might not be practical, but plenty of flora offer an inhospitable place for criminals to climb or hide in. Fortunately, thorny plants don’t need to be ugly plants. Many good security plants have pretty flowers and smell good. Here are a few that grow well in Texas:
- “Huisache” means “many thorns” in Nahuatl, the Aztec language. Indeed, this plant has lots of thorns and yellow flowers.
- Catclaw mimosa features prickly branches and attractive pink flowers.
- Hercules club is vicious like a rose bush.
- The thick, tangly vines of saw greenbrier are covered in prickles.
- Evergreen shrub agarita has red berries, yellow flowers and prickly leaves.
Mix and match these plantings for a pretty, fragrant, but formidable yard. Don’t forget to plant a few thorny shrubs under windows. And remember, tightly-branched shrubbery is hard to hide in.
Lighting is an important part of landscape design. Install motion sensors in the darkest or most easily penetrated corners of your yard. Judiciously placed lanterns look attractive and make your yard a safer place.
Other Security Measures
Think before you landscape. Remember that you always want a clear line of sight in your front yard. As you approach from the street, you should have a good view of your front door – and nowhere for a burglar to hide. Beware of planting trees that cast criminal-concealing shadows, or that grow branches leading to your upstairs windows.
Sometimes homeowners are careless and make things easy for intruders. What looks like an innocent step ladder, garden chair or wheelie bin to a law-abiding citizen can be used as a step-up for a criminal. Survey your yard and make sure you’re not giving a burglar a helping hand.
If you’re in the market for a new security fence – or more tips on security landscaping – give us a call today. We are always happy to help good citizens make their homes safer.