Security-scaping: The Use of Landscaping to Boost Home Security


If you think that the attractive, aesthetically-pleasing evergreen shrubs in your garden can’t be a hiding place for burglars, think again. While you’re focusing on the types of locks and alarm systems to install in your property, you may be neglecting to enhance the safety features right in your own backyard.

Whether you live in your own Salt Lake City home or you’re a landlord working with a property maintenance company, the security of your home should be the top priority. You’re risking your or your tenants’ lives if you don’t pay attention to the possible security risks in your property – even the less-obvious aspects, like your landscape.

Fortunately, you can use your landscape design against burglars, too.

CPTED and Its Principles

Guided by the National Crime Prevention Council’s Crime Prevention through Environment Design (CPTED) concept, you can use your landscaping to not only improve your property’s curb appeal but to increase home security as well.

The concept of CPTED runs on four main principles:

  • Natural Surveillance
  • Natural Access Control
  • Territorial Reinforcement
  • Maintenance

With these in mind, you can now design your property’s landscape accordingly.

Designing for Natural Surveillance

One thing that criminals try to avoid at all costs is visibility. Hinder them by eliminating possible hiding places in your yard and by making it easy to see when someone’s there.

  • Install Landscape Lighting

Lamps, bollards, and other types of landscape lighting have two purposes: decorative and functional. Most of these types of lighting add aesthetic value to the landscape, but they also work to reveal trespassers. Without the cover of darkness, burglars can be seen more easily or even completely deterred.

  • Keep Greenery Trimmed

Overgrown shrubbery is an eyesore. Apart from that, though, it is a sign that there probably isn’t anyone at home to manage the upkeep. Overgrown hedges and bushes also make for good hiding spots for intruders. It’s best to maintain your landscape so as not to invite burglars into your property.

Designing for Natural Access Control

When there’s a clear path towards their target, burglars become braver. Make sure you limit their access to your property by doing the following:

  • Pave Entryways with Gravel

Like outdoor lighting, a gravel-paved landscape adds aesthetic value and security to your property. Apart from the Pinterest-worthy look, gravel will produce crunching sounds whenever someone walks on it, so you’re immediately alerted.

  • Add Security Plants

Apart from doors, burglars often use windows to get into a property. Deter them by planting barrier shrubs, called “security plants.” These are shrubbery with sharp leaves and spiny thorns, which discourage burglars from climbing them to get to your window.

Designing for Territorial Reinforcement

The purpose of reinforcing your territory is to establish a clear distinction between public and private property. This adds to your sense of ownership over the property, so you naturally feel protective over it. It also helps to create an environment where those who don’t belong on your property, such as trespassers and intruders, stand out and can be more easily identified.

  • Install Fences Around the Property

Fences are one of the most common ways to establish your property’s boundary. They also work for security purposes if you choose fences that are difficult to climb or break into.

  • Display Security Company Logo

While not technically an element of landscaping, many property owners choose to add signage in their yard stating that they’re protected by a home security company. These signs are non-intrusive to the aesthetic of your landscape, but can successfully deter burglars from targeting your property.

A well-maintained landscape shows responsibility and ownership over a property, which can make burglars think twice before going through their plan. A perception of responsibility on the part of the homeowner can be off-putting to those with ill intent.

  • Empty the Mailbox

An obvious sign of irresponsibility or simply being away is an overflowing mailbox. Make sure you retrieve your mail regularly or have a neighbor do it for you when you’re away so intruders know you’re always present.

  • Do Regular Landscaping

Burglars are less likely to target your property if you have a well-maintained landscape than the opposite. If a yard’s overgrown, it shows that the owner doesn’t care for their property or isn’t present, making the home more inviting to burglars. What’s more, landscape maintenance is vital to raise your property’s curb appeal.

All these measures show that by incorporating CPTED into your landscape design, you can create an environment that impedes criminal behavior but doesn’t sacrifice the aesthetic value of your property.

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