Avoid Tall Hedges
This may seem counterintuitive, as the logical reasoning would be to have tall hedges so that burglar’s can’t see into your home. But having tall hedges or a tall fence actually makes your house a more attractive target for burglars. The only obstacle a tall hedge or fence creates for an intruder is difficulty getting over it – but once they do, they are free to roam around your front yard without risk of being caught by neighbors, passersby, law enforcement, etc. So a hidden home is actually a burglar’s dream.
This isn’t to say that hedges can’t act as a helpful barrier. As long as you maintain a clear line of sight from the street to your house, ideally no higher than three feet, it still adds a layer of protection against intrusion. Using a hedge or a fence, aim to create a border around the perimeter of your home, and make sure there are no gaps.
Use Strategic Landscaping as a First Line of Defense
Nothing is more effective in a home burglary than having an alarm system. However, strategic landscaping can act as a great line of defense so you can stop the burglary before it even reaches your alarm system.
For example, windows are primary access points for burglars, so consider placing thorny plants, such as a rose bush, in front of windows to make it difficult to enter. You can also use more rigid plants for the front of your home, such as juniper, firethorn, or common holly. There are numerous other prickly plants that can also deter burglars from creeping into your yard, and many of them can even add to the aesthetic of your home.
If you are looking to plant new trees around your home, or are building a house from scratch, keep them at a distance from your roof, so that burglars can’t climb them to get in through the second story.
A well lit-home is always a good deterrent against burglars, especially at night or while you are away. While motion-sensors are best, you can also use floodlights and other forms of aesthetic up-lighting to both highlight your landscaping and deceptively keep your house well lit. Consider placing lights along the pathway to your front door as well. Don’t forget the backyard – make sure to have proper lighting near any entry point, including the back door and back windows.
Keep it Polished
Another misconception about strategic landscaping is that having thick, dense gardening will hide your home, but again, this is actually more attractive to burglars. Having overgrown plants and unkempt shrubs will make it easier for intruders to hide, thus allowing them to scope out your home and wait for you to leave to break in. An under-attended yard will also make it seem like the house is rarely occupied, also making it a more attractive target.
Be sure to regularly trim branches and limbs, and consider hiring additional maintenance to keep it looking neat. That said, be sure to keep gardening tools such as shovels and ladders out of sight and locked away, as these can be used as impromptu break-in tools.