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How I am using this year’s garden as a way to add security to my home

I’ll begin by asking for feedback or suggestions to improve this idea before I explain it.

My lot is 50′ x 120′ and house is 28’x32′ with a 10’x12′ shed in the back yard to one side of the lot.

There are 2 x 4′ x 12′ and 2 x 4′ x 8′ existing raised beds in the back yard. I have a garden fence around the raised beds to protect from deer.

My original plan was to wrap a 6′ fence around the entire back yard, however, that has to wait until the garage is built. 

There have been recent changes in our community that warrant doing something sooner in addition to a long-standing problem with someone in close proximity to my home.

There will still be openings into the yard, but I am creating a chute to control the ease and routes that are available to “just walk in.”

I am getting creative about how to add layers of security around my home using cedar planters with trellis privacy backing. It will look something like this:

https://www.thisoldhouse.com/gardening/21016882/how-to-build-a-privacy-planter

For the front yard, I am building 4 rectangle planters, each 2′ wide and 3′-4′ high with a trellis in back.

They will be situated in a row and bolted together for stability. They will be installed just inside the property line as a fence would (I don’t do shared fences that are installed on the property line – once was enough).

I plan to taper the first and last planter in the row so that each outside end is tapered down to 16″ from 24″. This is to keep the planter from looking too boxy and keeping it from getting to close to the deck that is pending.

There will be similar privacy planters going into the back yard, and on the other side of the front yard.

They will act as a type of “fence” or barrier. Right now everything is wide open and that has to change. This is the fastest way I can do that.

There is another planter of this type that is going to be positioned on a diagonal to block out the peeping tom I’ve had to deal with.

When I’m done this should provide more peace when I’m out working in the yard.

The additional planters will also provide the opportunity to try planting edible food in plain view, mixed with flowers or herbs. Silverbeet is one example or there is also Rainbow Swiss Chard or types of kale.

Okay, that’s the idea. Any thoughts or suggestions to make this better or add to it for security? I do have security cameras, but there are people around who know how to get past that by disguising themselves.

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  • Comments (6)

    • 2

      Ubique, Just commentary; Not sure if plan can work to meet the objective criteria of second and third parties like insurance companies.

      If garage was already built, would the 6 ft fence meet the thread’s title “Security to my home” ?

      The mentioned recent community changes and a problem with someone in close proximity to home, …… is it realistic to change planned garage location so fence can be built now ?

      The Great Wall of China was not breached by seige artillery.  The enemy walked around the sides of the wall. 

      If opening in the yard and the chute defeats ease of entry, is the theme of the thread’s title “Security to my home” met ? 

      • 2

        Hey Bob,

        I really appreciate the reply. I’ve been wrestling with this one for a bit.

        Good point about Great Wall of China. I might be able to close off 3 and 9 position with chain link gates that tie into planters on each side of the house and run a chain link fence across the 6 position by the back lane.

        There’s a couple of issues surrounding this idea. Originally, I wanted to use “Wham Bam” white vinyl fencing. It’s maintenance free, adds good value, but if someone wanted to, they could just put their boot right through one of the vinyl fence panels. They look really nice, but as far as real security goes….maybe not so much?

        A wood fence is going to require a lot of maintenance and isn’t an option I’m favoring. Also, I remember times, when fence pickets were ripped off of fences and used a weapons. If they want in through a wood fence, they can get in.

        There are alternatives that would make great security fences for what I am allowed to do per our building code, but the cost is prohibitive.

        That is why I reconsidered how I could build in security features using a row of heavy (when they are filled) planters that are bolted together. They do form a barrier rather than enclose. But what I want to do with the sides and back lane entrance of my property is to create a “chute” effect.

        The problem houses are on my 3 and 6 position (if my front door is 12).

        If I put in these planter barriers and if they want to be a bigger problem, then they have to approach from my 12 and 6 position from where they live.

        The only way they can access my 3 and 9 o’clock is if they leave their homes and come into my property via my 12 and 6.

        If they are forced to do that, my security cameras will pick them up before they get a chance to take out my cameras. I have 8 cameras wrapped on my house but the problem ones on my 6 position have been packing up. The police are aware but because of our young offender act, it’s pretty tough to nail them. I was told when he turns twelve (he looks 18).

        The way the security lights work, I need to get them into a particular position to get a good image if there is a problem. I have IR on my cameras, but not facial recognition, which I really regret. Without a clear and really good image the police do nothing. My next cameras are going to have facial recognition. For now, I have to work with what I have.

        I thought I could incorporate some stealth growing of edible plants as a way to expand my prep garden and not make any of it look too out of the ordinary.

        I’m hoping to eventually sell and get out of here and find a different house. I hope I’m wrong about how things are going here, but things aren’t looking good.

        There is a real decline in rural communities. No employment, businesses closing and what’s left, but the rental of homes no longer occupied by locals? That leaves the rest of us in an unenviable position.

        I’ve tried over and over to encourage economic development and tell them how to get businesses to move here, but it is “but we’ve always done it this way” response.

        I’m hoping for some of the worst ones that have moved here to leave and go back to the city or wherever they came from, but I would rather be proactive about getting the houses more secure in a way that will add value but not scare people off but looking like I’m fortressed.

      • 4

        Ubique, In Emergency Management literature, a phrase frequently shows up: “rapidly changing circumstances”.

        Above ments 2 distinct aspects of security program; the fencing and the passive cameras … step 2 is required if a camera image can be deemed a threat.

        Understand the prohibitive cost feature of actual fences that can protect a boundry. I forgot the name but had seen in China some hedges grown instead of fencing because of costs.  This type of hedge was thick and would stop a small pickup truck.

        Here, I once grew thorns.  By coincidence they were on my property boundary…. and much less expensive to maintain than a fence with energizer with costly joules output. 

        What must be always considered is FEMA’s philosophy: “Prepare for realistic, worst-case scenarios”.

      • 4

        Hi Bob, 

        “Rapidly changing circumstances” – apt term for what preppers must consider.

        Very good point about the camera step 2 – proving intent/threat.

        I also have to correct threat positions are 9 and 6 not 3 and 6. My 3 position is a vacant house which is a vulnerability of a different kind. 

        The thorny hedges are a part of my plan. They are going to be installed in certain spots like my 6 where I can access them for maintenance off the back lane. They will go a long way to discouraging the problem at my 6. They will also provide a second layer of security as needed in certain spots.

        My lot is too narrow to plant them on the long side of the lot. I still have to be able to get in their with the snow blower and apply the long handled roof rake to remove snow off the roof in heavy winters.

        There is a type of hedge they used to grow in city of Richmond BC. It had long skinny thorns and if it touched your skin it made you itchy immediately. They grew it under the windows of all their public buildings so that they didn’t have to use bars on the windows.

        If that won’t grow here, I can use a couple of other plants as deterrents. Sea buckthorn is thorny and also has a fruit that contains a very high amount of Vitamin C. It can be canned into jam.

        I am ever mindful of that FEMA philosophy “Prepare for realistic worst-case scenarios.”

        Everything around me is confirmed for what it is and what has been and what it can easily become.

        Gardening and planters are a type of defence that won’t appear obvious to anyone. It will just look like I’m really getting into gardening which I am and I have been slowly expanding what I do outside for a couple of years. It won’t look odd.

        When I’m done with everything, value should be added to the property, peace of mind in the interim and the bonus is I get to experiment with growing certain nutrient rich food crops in amongst my flowers and herbs.

      • 4

        I’m sure you’ve done this but walk around the perimeter of your property and look for places you could hide, spy on, or break into your yard and house. Look for the weak spots. Looking at an image on google maps could be a good way to get a birds eye view to plan and map things out too. 

        Not knowing your exact situation but just in general, if I were trying to lock down a property, I would fence off 3 of the 4 sides of your property and only have one main entrance way in or out. Burglars and other creeps are lazy and should take the path of least resistance and will hopefully go in through that main entrance. Still keep cameras all over your house and cover all angles, but if you do just have that once entrance where someone is more likely to come or go, then I would place a camera pointing at that entrance way maybe at like eye level hidden in a bush. This camera will be much closer to capture the face or license plate info of people and vehicles coming in and out of your property. Does that make sense? 

        Just something I thought of while reading your posts. 

      • 6

        Hey Bradical – Yes, you make sense. Your description of how to assess for risks around the property is a great and very helpful.

        I have to do this in stages and for now the long rows of planters with trellis backing will act to block anyone from coming straight through certain spots.

        Today in my planning I am adding another 4 planters bolted together on each side of the back yard so there will be 1 x 4 planter row – 32′ on each side of the front yard and the same in the back yard.

        Eventually I will add fence between the front and back yard planters on each side of the house. This will keep the fence cost down and people out.

        Across the back lane is where I am adding chain link. When I am done the entire yard will be enclosed.

        There will be privacy in the back yard (finally) and I can bbq in peace.

        I will also have found a way to bypass the 3′ high limit on front yard fences by using 3′ high planters with attached trellis in frames. Plus I have created a whole pile of extra food/plant growing space without looking obvious about it.

        I really wanted to block out the peeping tom on the one side of me and this should fix that problem outdoors.

        I’m getting my cedar lumber list together and building it soon. If I can get photo’s loaded, I’ll post them so you and the others can see what I did.

        Also, there are extra cameras going in on the van front and back plus the shed until the garage is built.

        Thanks for replying, Bradical.