• Lisa Gardener

How to design a secure home


When it comes to securing your home against intruders, prevention is better than cure. If you're investing time and money into a self-build or renovation project, it follows that you'd want to do everything possible to protect your dream house and its contents.



Consider your home's position

If you're building a house from scratch, security will be one of your designer's considerations when it comes to assessing how the property should be oriented on the land. Your architect should be able to identify any vulnerable areas - primarily the spots where intruders could gain access to the site - and come up with creative solutions to help offset the risk of unwanted visitors.


Stand outside your house or plot and look at it through a burglar's eyes. Would it be easy to get in around the back, for instance? Are there any hiding places behind hedges or outbuildings where a bugler would not be detected.


Secure the boundaries

Establishing a secure perimeter around your plot will not only provide a physical barrier for unwanted visitors to overcome but can also act as a deterrent for opportunists. Timber fence panels provide the most cost-effective solution. Installing higher fences at particularly vulnerable parts of the plot can be a smart way to deter intruders.


Brick and stone walls provide a robust, long-lasting solution, however, there will be a cost for extra labour. Incorporating a trellis with roses growing up it can be another alternative to deter people from climbing up. If anyone tries to jump the wall and breaks the trellis, they'll be heard.


Landscaping tips

When it comes to choosing hard landscaping, laying gravel or wood chipping can be a powerful deterrent to burglars. The crunching sound underfoot can alert occupants to the presence of any unwanted guests.


Defensive gardening - planting thorny shrubs around the borders of your plot, for example - can also be a great help when it comes to putting off opportunists.


Exterior illumination

While motion detector floodlights might be the knee-jerk solution when it comes to installing exterior security lighting, they can sometimes end up being more of a hindrance than a help - particularly if they're repeatedly activated by local wildlife passing through your garden at night.


You can find more discreet options, like spike floodlights in a dark colour which gives a lovely wash of uplight to trees or the facade of a property while remaining hidden in planting. Setting these fittings up with a motion sensor might offer a greater shock to burglars when they're activated.


Consider the interior layout

Security should be a key consideration when it comes to planning the configuration of the rooms in your house. Your first objective should be to discourage potential intruders by establishing a sense of occupancy that is evident from the outside.


Open plan layouts are exceptionally popular. This layout allows for plenty of natural light and an efficient footprint. It also means occupants have views out onto the driveway and rear garden, so guests can be seen coming to and going from the house.


Focus on entry points

It's important to ensure your property is kitted out with dependable fenestration that can withstand an attempted break in. Look out for products that come with Secured By Design accreditation. For front doors, multi-point locking is always advisable. Glass in your front door should be laminated. This means that when it's broken it holds its form, rather than shattering so intruders can gain access.


Smart security solutions

Arming your property with a burglar alarm is a must if you're serious about safeguarding it from intruders. All homes need different levels of protection depending on their size, location and how often they'll be occupied, so it might be that a smart system offers a better fit for your lifestyle. A raft of options are available, operable via a few swipes on the screen of your smartphone.


Most setups can also be programmed so that they work alongside your smart heating and lighting systems, too. Some products can also be programmed to learn your daily routine, so when you're out of the house or on holiday, they can replicate your movements around the property using lighting and music, creating the impression that someone is in.