Yardwork Increases Security

Plant petunias to add beauty and thorny bushes for protection:
5 landscape design tips to increase curb appeal and home security

The change to daylight saving time brings longer days, warmer weather, and more chances to get outdoors. It’s also a great time to look around and make a “to do” list of fun projects to spruce up your home’s curb appeal – and security.

Remember: Under your garden gnome is a bad place to hide spare keys
Unfortunately, statistics show that crime and burglaries typically increase during the warmer months. Whether you take a do-it-yourself landscape approach or hire landscaping professionals, as you plan for petunias and fertilizer to add beauty, there are a few easy steps you can take to also make your home less attractive to burglars. Keep these easy, no- or low-cost yard care and home improvement tips in mind to help make your home more secure and protect against break-ins.

  • Prune shrubs, trees and bushes and reduce hiding places for thieves, especially around doors and windows.
  • Consider planting thorny or prickly bushes and shrubs, such as holly, roses, or pyracantha (firethorn), around windows at ground level and trim limbs near windows to upper levels. Both steps can prevent easy entry into your home.
  • Plant or hang annuals for fresh color each year. When you’re done, put away items that might aid a burglar in accessing your home, such as ladders, trash cans, and buckets.
  • Install motion lights especially in vulnerable or isolated areas, near entrances
  • Add personality to your home with outdoor accessories. However, when you buy that cute new welcome mat, adorable gnome, or ceramic frog, resist the urge to hide a spare key under them. Everyone knows to look there, including bad guys. Consider keeping a spare with a trusted neighbor instead or installing keyless entry.

Relax … but don’t let your guard down
While it’s easy to feel carefree as summer approaches, these few, additional steps can help deter crime during warm weather months and year-round:

  • Lock all windows and doors, including those upstairs, and install deadbolt locks on all exterior entrances.
  • If you have a home security or home automation provider, don’t hesitate to ask for a security evaluation anytime. Have your consultant do a walk around of your home once a year, especially if you’re considering or have completed any significant home improvement projects.
  • When possible, even if you’re in the backyard, keep your garage doors closed. Burglars, driving by, are quick and know when they see an easy opportunity.
  • Screen visitors before opening the door. It’s the season of door-to-door sales, and while some visitors who come to our doors don’t appear threatening, it’s wise to be cautious of scams. A good rule? Never let someone into your home if he or she doesn’t have an appointment. Also, never sign a contract on the spot or provide sensitive account information to someone who came to your door uninvited. (It’s also a good idea to call a service provider if someone is claiming to represent a company you do business with, to see if the representative should be there or if they have had reports of imposters.)

The best part about this time of year? Lounging outside and visiting with guests. Once you take these simple steps to increase awareness and security, you can sit back and enjoy that cold glass of tea and the sweet sounds of spring. Next up? Summer!

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