Hi Ferfal, LOVE the blog, thanks for having it. I have a question on home security. Right now in the US having bars on the windows in suburbia land will instantly label you the local nut job. So I'm trying to be creative. What do you think of using bouganvillia and firethorn bushes instead? I just bought some to put under the windows and to start growing along the privacy fences. In your experience, are they as effective as bars or at least a good enough substitute? Also, are you neighbors close to you? My neighbors can easily see over the fence and see the gardens I'm building. My thought is to go the extra step of really bonding with them, offering to teach them gardening, etc. I figure it's better to make friends than worry about them as well. Again, thoughts? Thanks again for providing real world experience to refer to vs. the zombie biker gangs! Tina
Yes, my neighbors are close. That’s the way it is in Buenos Aires where houses are directly one next to the other and the garden are usually upfront and in the back yard. This isn’t very nice but the truth is that it is much safer and makes sense from a strategic point of view, forming a ring around the block. Kids can play safely in the back yards of the different houses. Of course, you guys don’t have this kind of crime problem, at least not spread all over the country.
The thorny plants under the window works but not nearly as good as actual burglar bars. Burglar bars can be made so as to look a bit (just a bit) less nutty when they are well designed. For example white, horizontal ones tend to look ok in modern houses. Black ones with a bit more detail (iron artist pieces can sometimes be soldered into them) look well in traditional homes.
The plants are better than nothing, but burglar bars they are not. Now on the other hand, thorny plants placed all along the perimeter fence and allowed to grow to a nice thickness, THAT I know to work better. You need both a couple feet worth of thickness and 5 to 6 feet high. No need to let it grow wild. Properly kept and trimmed natural barriers tend to get stronger, ticker and do the intended role very well.
On the meantime while these grow along you privacy fence, plant those under the windows as you said. Every little bit helps.
Another trick you might use is using crushed stone for the patios and paths around the house’s perimeter. These make a good amount of noise when people walk on them and this work well when combined with dogs that have a keen sense of haring. Obviously it makes it more likely to be detected by people as well. Combine this with motion sensing lights and the intruder will feel pretty exposed; making noise with each step, a light going on as he approaches.
Just a few tips to keep in mind, thanks for your email!