A clean landscape and delicate light shining through house windows may be enough to keep a recreational troublemaker from messing around on your premises, but discouraging a burglar intent on breaking in and stealing your valuables demands deliberate landscaping strategies which produce your house less vulnerable. It requires a balanced strategy to create a space which makes it difficult for thieves to sneak in undetected without sacrificing the appeal of an appealing landscape. With careful selection and positioning of plants and landscape components, you can accomplish your house safety goals.
Remove existing large trees and tall, dense hedges that block the view of your dwelling from passersby and neighbors, and supply cover for burglars to lurk. Cut off the low branches of tall, spreading evergreens you prefer to remain; leave a clearance of 5 or more feet in the bottom to the bottom area of dense leaf. Atlas cedars (Cedrus atlantica), which prosper at U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) plant hardiness zones 6 through 9, and additional adult conifers must be pruned during their dormant period, which is winter.
Plant new trees which are deciduous and have moderately dense branching habits. They will provide vertical dimension and visual interest to your property without providing hiding places for burglars. Using multistemmed Heritage River birch trees (Betula nigra “Heritage”), which is hardy in USDA zones 4 through 9, is an option; those trees add texture and depth to your landscape with colorful bark and graceful leaf.
Restrict the types of trees planted near the home to those that will not encourage anyone attempting to climb up them to access an upper-story window. Heritage river birches, for example, possess light, arching branches which resist breakage because of stormy weather but can snap under the weight of an individual. Narrow, columnar evergreens, like Italian cypresses (Cupressus sempervirens), which develop in USDA zones 8 to 10, don’t have a width for comprehensive human concealment, and their erect branches discourage climbing.
Prevent potential burglars from lurking near ground-level windows by cutting back overgrown foundation plants or substituting them with shrubs and perennials that reach no higher than the lower edge of window casings. Midnight wine weigela (Weigela florida “Elvera” Midnight Wine), which rises 11/2 to 2 feet tall and has reddish foliage and flowers, is an option in sunny areas; it’s hardy in USDA zones 4 to 9. Low-growing azalea shrubs (Rhododendron spp.) Are suitable for shady places.
Install landscape lighting to light dark corners where burglars could hide. The illumination also will provide nighttime beauty to the landscape. Place eave-mounted lights near garage doors and other entry points to bathe critical areas of the home’s facade in soft light. Establish path lights across the walkway and around porches and patios. Attach motion detectors and automated time switches to control outdoor lighting through the nighttime when you may not want the whole area illuminated but want light to shine brightly when an intruder approaches.