So I'm no expert gardener myself, but I most definitely came to know a few garden plants and bushes through the years that brought me to tears, with a stab or two that is. Although we do not tend to give a lot of attention to the fauna and flora around us, we all know a plant that you would not dare violate! Nature herself has developed some of the best defenses that stood the test of time. So why not use that to our advantage?
Unfortunately, the advantage of these amazing plants and trees can also go to the other side, if you do not give attention to where you plant them or maintain them throughout the year. Think of hiding spots and concealment.
To tree, or not to tree?
So cut down those bushes and shrubs where they can be used to hide in at pinch points such as at the front gate or the porch etc., also trim all your trees on the bottom so you can see underneath them. And trim any branches of trees close to any outside walls or close enough to utilize to climb onto your roof.
If you do like trees, planting something with dense leaves and thin branches will do the trick. Especially if you plant on the outside of barriers.
Shrub it off
On that note, It's a good idea to start from the outside in. Planting some thorny shrubs next to your initial barriers can help keep intruders at bay. Or some thorny roses on top of walls, guided by some trellis or wires makes for a good deterrent - Think barbed wire hidden under some thorns. (evil smile)....
Ideally, you want to keep the shrubs low enough to see over them and be able to watch suspicious movement outside. Too high and dense may help someone hide and wait to pounce on you leaving through the gate.
It pays to plan
Next, we move to the inner side of the walls. Garden design plays a big role here, vulnerable spots such as corners or spots with easy access from the neighbors' house, can be upgraded with a nice thorny plant, or even a fish pond can be quite the inconvenience for intruders if they had to jump straight into it. Or perhaps some wooden spikes is more your thing, I don't judge.
Gravel is your friend
Next on the list is the driveway, pathways and access points such as windows. Gravel works great for this, it's quite tricky to make no noise walking over gravel. Be creative with this one, think of spaces where someone would likely have to walk to get to your home.
Now go ahead and plant some thorny plants underneath windows or on top of window-sills. Just to stab em some more! And it's a great way to add some color and impress your wife (wink).
Light it up!
The next thing on the list is lighting. This is a very largely debated point, but in my personal experience, you do not want any bright outside lights that are constantly on, not if you are not going to be awake the whole night to monitor who moves in and around the light. So any spotlights connected to a motion sensor work great if you are awake to see it of course. As a kid, we used to have motion sensor lights that simultaneously activate an alarm inside the home, and this was a great concept. You are awakened by the alarm and would know exactly where the movement is, and also whoever was passing the light would hear the alarm and know that someone probably woke up by it.
Another great way of utilizing softer light, such as the small solar garden lights, is to position them in somewhat of a line. In this way, you can peek through a window (with the lights off inside) and if anything passes the lights you can determine movement and direction at the same time. So if used with a silent alarm, it can come in handy.
Also, please do remember to not turn any outside lighting towards your home, if you need to look outside with a light shining in your eyes, your kind of like a deer in headlights, and, whoever is behind the light will comfortably be concealed and have no problems seeing you.
What about the tools?
Lastly, never leave garden tools, ladders, rocks or any objects that can be used to help someone break in lying around in the yard. If possible, remove them and lock up the tools in a garage or out-house. Face it, it pays to be neat.
So there you have it. Plants can be your best friend when intruders attempt to breach your security. Another great thing about thorny plants is the evidence that could be left behind. Sometimes some drops of blood, some shreds of clothing or even some items dropped when they realized it gets painful. Remember, there is no guarantee any or all of these tips and tricks will work. But it sure beats doing nothing at all!
I will admit, it might take some time and effort to assemble your garden defenses. From researching different plants, choosing the right one in the right amount and physically planting and continuously caring for them. But it is a rewarding project! At the least, you would have some interesting plants to show off to your visitors, wanted and unwanted that is.
Till next time. Stay safe! And happy gardening!