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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Security Landscaping - Part Two - The “3 - 7” Rule

While most police will say that dense landscaping is an invitation to trouble and that statistically houses that cannot be seen from the street are at a higher risk for break-ins than houses that are, there are other landscaping tips they do not stress that they really should. Like their own "3-7" rule, especially if combined with thorny plants. IE: security landscaping.

The 3-7 Rule is to keep shrubs near the house no more than 3 feet high to deprive a potential intruder of a hiding place; Keep tree limbs at least 7 feet away from the side of the house and at least 12 feet off the ground, to deprive the intruder of easy access to a second level window or balcony.

This means thin out overgrown foliage on large shrubs to expose branch structure; if you can see through large plants, no one can hide behind or in them. If a plant is too overgrown, remove it and start over with one that's slower growing or lower to the ground. Prune shrubs for clear views from windows.

If you live in an urban or suburban area and you are considering building a wall or fence, you need to think about building codes. Securing an area usually requires complete enclosure and possibly a structure eight to 10 feet high. Most local building codes allow only six to seven feet, unless you obtain a variance. Vines on walls can help discourage graffiti but some vines will make the wall or fence climbable. Thinking security may dictate where walls or fences are installed and how high they should be. And high cinderblock or other thick walls can muffle noises like a neighbor of mine found out after he raised his backyard walls to 12 feet and an intruder accosted his wife. Us neighbors heard some muffled noises but could not quickly determine if it was kids playing one block over or from their house. As a result, we were a little slow to alert the authorities and help.

If you are determined to have a fence in these populated areas, consider picket fences, lattice with large openings, walls with open patterns or other see-through design, chain link (not pretty but cheap) or solid iron picket (nice looking but expensive).

If these walls or fences need a gate, avoid one from a deserted alley or pathway or blind corner and the like.

Seating in a fenced or walled area should be placed not only for relaxation, but in a place where you can see passersby, around your compound and so forth.

If you are in a rural area, a fenced courtyard or backyard would be nice to keep the kiddies and pets in and others out. To accomplish this and still more or less, follow the 3-7 Rule, my farmstead friend created a solid straw bale four and half foot high wall and imbedded broken, very sharp wine and beer bottle glass all along the outside and top of it. She has told me it was high enough that her children could not touch the top until they were old enough to know it was sharp and the deer were discouraged from the wall, even at night, as the motion sensor lights would reflect off the glass on the outside and top of the wall. She also told me that the glass did not stop a two legged intruder, but the wireless driveway alarm alerted her at the same time the lights startled him and even though he continued to intrude, she was alerted in time to give the bugger a very armed “welcome” and detention (tied up in her root cellar) until the county sheriff arrived to take him away.

The next installment in this special series on security landscaping will be:

Security Landscaping-Part Three-The “3-7” Rule Continued

CK, a 50 something, soon to be rural homesteading Prepper.

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