A home’s exterior appearance can count for a lot, often in ways that homeowners might not have expected. Landscaping projects that can improve visibility, help to create a well-maintained look or that may enhance curb appeal can go a long way towards deterring a break-in. Homes that are shabby, run down or that have an unkempt lawn or poorly maintained landscaping features can make an inviting target for burglars or vandals. Landscaping improvements and upgrades can do much to decrease the risk of crime within the surrounding area.
1. Maintenance and Appearance
A neglected landscape or rundown exterior can be a major liability when it comes to deterring crime. Poor maintenance may give the impression that a property is currently vacant or unattended and a break-in is far more likely to go unnoticed in environments that have already been allowed to fall into disrepair. Investing the time and expense needed to deal with any exterior cosmetic issues and making landscape maintenance a priority can help to ensure that both professional thieves opportunistic criminals are more likely to look elsewhere when selecting their next target.
2. Landscaping to Improve Visibility
Trees, shrubs and other landscaping features that could limit visibility could prove to be a real liability. A burglary or home intrusion is often far more likely to occur in situations where an intruder is able to approach the home without fear of being detected. Pruning bushes or removing tree limbs that might be obscuring a door or window which could be used as an entry point can do much to discourage potential intruders. Improving visibility throughout the exterior environment helps to ensure that homes can be kept safe and secure.
3. Lighting and Illumination
Visibility can be an even more important issue once the sun has set. Dimly lit exteriors and lawns that are not sufficiently illuminate are issues that homeowners would be wise to address. Replacing exterior bulbs and fixtures that are no longer functional or installing new exterior floodlights, lawn or pathway lamps or even accent lighting for gardens and landscaped areas can often make quite a difference. Homes that are brightly lit and properly illuminated are less likely to give the impression that the property is currently unoccupied.
4. Borders and Barriers
While trees and shrubs that may limit visibility can be a liability, those that can make doors, windows and other potential points of entry harder to access can be a major asset. Landscaping borders and bushes or other plants that can be used to create and maintain a barrier can help to improve a home’s overall level of security. While such barriers may not be an entirely effective deterrent on their own, they may serve as a viable security upgrade when used in concert with other efforts. Each additional barrier or obstacle that can be placed in the path of a potential intruder helps to ensure that a break-in attempt is more likely to be thwarted.
5. Interact with the Community
Finding neighbors who are willing to keep an eye on the property are often one of the single most effective ways that homeowners can deal with the threat of crime. A tight-knit community, an active neighborhood watch or a next-door neighbor who is more likely to alert the authorities when something is amiss can all be essential aspects of a community-based effort to prevent and deter crimes. Neglected landscaping, rundown exteriors and properties that have become a community eyesore could make it more difficult for homeowners to create and maintain positive relationships with their neighbors.
Home and neighborhood safety concerns need to be viewed as ongoing concerns. While addressing any property maintenance concerns and making an effort to improve visibility can be quite effective, neglecting the landscaping and exterior of the home in the long term can be a costly misstep. Well-maintained properties are less likely to be targeted by vandals, thieves and intruders. Landscaping upgrades and maintenance efforts that result in a more attractive property can also make it easier to establish friendly relations with neighbors and other members of the local community. Property owners who are concerns about crime and those who wish to make a bigger difference within their community would do well to consider any landscaping upgrades or projects that might make a difference.