Smart landscaping

Smart landscaping

Smart landscaping

Apart from modern technologies that promise to keep your home safe, there are also some easy landscaping ideas that can make your home more secure, writes Simran Chhibber.

Having come across umpteen signs displaying alerts like ‘Beware of Dogs’, ‘Trespassers will be prosecuted’ etc., I had often wondered if these ways to deter unwanted company onto a property were as effective as thought to be?

Or whether there were subtler, friendlier or rather better looking means than ugly chain link fences to prevent intruders of the likes of burglars and robbers?

Observing a few facts about recent burglaries helped me understand the psyche of housebreakers better.

Recent studies have indicated that most robbers take only about a minute to break into a property and less than 10 minutes to polish off a house.

The aim being, to vanish before getting noticed.

Another interesting fact that came up was that robbers usually strike at night somewhere around midnight till early dawn hours.

Robbers usually are no strangers, rather they are young amateurs living in nearby areas.

Whilst establishing privacy, homeowners too, sometimes settle for towering hedges and profusely thick shrubbery and mostly these attributes that provide privacy on one hand, also make the perfect screen to shield a burglar on the other.

Scrutinising these facts led to a little research on my part and I got more answers than I thought I would.

Here are a few landscaping tips that could aid in keeping housebreakers away.

Keep the hedges short

Tall hedges, bushes and shrubs provide the requisite hiding garb that robbers look for.

Keeping the hedges trimmed to about three feet and clipping tree branches so the canopy starts at least eight feet from the ground, shall ensure that your garden isn’t providing a hideout for the robbers and that your house is visible to the neighbours and passers-by, eliminating hiding places for intruders.

Gravel wonders

Laying a path of gravel or stone up to your door and below your external windows ensures that even subtle footsteps can be heard loudly.

Hence, a robber walking on it cannot go unnoticed or unheard.

Pea gravel, for example, available in a light stone colour can mingle flawlessly with the existing landscaping and makes a loud crunching noise to inform the homeowners of an intruder’s presence.

As an added bonus, gravel or stones are a water-saving substitute to grass in dry conditions.

Thorny bushes can help too

Bedecking the space below the windows with a thorny plant like a bougainvillea bush, rose, cactus or any other barbed vegetation is sure to deter the entry of an intruder.

Installing a good security system

Recent crime studies reveal that homes with security systems are three times less likely to be burgled than homes without them.

A display board about the home security system on your front kerb might dissuade some criminals, even if it is a sham.

Motion-activated lights

Motion-activated lights can actually make the robbers feel that the light has been switched on because of them. This new gizmo can actually scare off housebreakers, catching them unaware.

And because the lights are only triggered off when required, they can be a cost-effective and an environmentally-friendly choice.

A busy looking house

When away from your house, ensure that your house doesn’t look empty.

Simple things like keeping your car in the driveway or a friendly request to the neighbours asking them to pick up dropped newspapers etc can aid to the cause.

Leaving your TV or music system set up to an alarm can lead to the house looking abuzz with activity.

Landscaping is often ignored and missed as an element of home safety.

However, keeping these suggestions in mind can help ascertain that your home is safe and secure.