How-to: Safety-conscious landscape design


For landscaping under sills, choose plants that will not offer cover for someone to hide behind.For landscaping under sills, choose plants that will not offer cover for someone to hide behind.

A home burglary takes place in the United States every 15 seconds. As a professional landscaper, you can help homeowners reduce their risk by making yards less attractive to would-be thieves, while still creating beautiful properties.

1. Consider plant size.

According to police, robbers choose homes to invade based on one simple factor: ease of access. A home that has lots of lush greenery in which to hide is an easy target. Brec Connett, owner of Wilmington-based Cape Fear Gardens, told Star News, “I’ve been at this long enough to know what keeps people off of lawns,” he said. “The biggest thing is keeping shrubbery pruned properly.

Proper lighting serves as a deterrent for burglars.Proper lighting serves as a deterrent for burglars.

2. Choose materials that impede access.

In addition to keeping shrubs low, consider planting thorny native plants underneath window sills to prevent burglars from looking inside. Hardscaping features like retaining walls and water features can slow an intruder down and serve as a place to install motion-detecting lights. Well-placed landscape lighting will also discourage intruders from entering the residence.

3. Continued maintenance is key.

According to Connett, a well-maintained yard is less likely to be a target. “If it looks well kept, if it looks manicured, if it looks properly pruned, I’ve found that burglars are not looking to go in.”

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