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Helping to secure your home - crime prevention tips from unique garden can add security to your home

The Secured by Design (SBD) crime prevention garden that proved such a hit at the at this year’s Royal Horticultural Society’s Hampton Court Palace Flower Show had many techniques incorporated into it to deter opportunistic burglars – and these techniques can be used in any front or rear garden.

The key security features which made the garden safe, secure and sustainable included fencing topped with trellis to provide a high boundary; prickly plants, such as pyracantha or climbing roses, to protect windows, fencing and drainpipes; and fixed concrete benches topped with wood panels so they can’t be repositioned to access windows.

The garden also featured dawn-to-dusk low voltage lighting; solar globe lights in sandstone finish to provide low level illumination at night as well as sculptural interest to borders; and a pergola with a roof made of round poles with lose fitting wrap-around metal tubes to discourage climbing.

Other measures included gravel paths to hear the crunch of approaching footsteps; and a secure shed, topped with a green defensive planted roof, with items inside like bicycles and gardening tools marked with Smartwater Forensic traceable liquids to identify them if stolen.

Ring Spotlight Cams- battery/solar powered wifi HD CCTV camera – were included in order that the garden can be checked from anywhere using a smartphone.

Discussing garden security on BBC2’s Hampton Court Palace Flower Show programme last week, gardener, garden designer, best-selling author, columnist and BBC Gardeners' World presenter Nick Bailey said “We all want our gardens to be safe spaces, but it may surprise you to know that 75% of burglaries occur via the rear garden”.

Commenting on the “great physical barrier” and “clever ideas” contained in the SBD garden, Nick concluded that “I think you have done a brilliant job of being able to integrate what is beautiful, very subtle planting, with this fantastic security idea”.

Sergeant David Lucy from the Met Police said; “Simple and affordable crime prevention measures, such as those on display in this garden, add an extra layer of security and will help protect your home”.

1. Gravel close to the house can alert owners to intruders.
2. Dusk till dawn lighting.
3. Secure padlocks on a shed.
4. Prickly plants to perimeter and under windows.
5. Secured by Design accredited windows and doors.
6. SmartWater forensic marking of valuable items.
7. Ring Spotlight Cam - battery/solar powered wifi HD CCTV camera, so you can check your garden from anywhere.
8. Green screens provide a sustainable secure privacy fence.
9. Green roof including spiky plants.
10. Pergola with bars that rotate preventing climbing.

For details of our member companies’ accredited products visit:

The SBD crime prevention garden was created by two students at Capel Manor College’s School of Garden Design and Plantsmanship in Enfield, after they won a competition sponsored by SBD and run in close collaboration with the Met Police Designing Out Crime Team in North East London and the College. The two students, Lucy Glover and Jacqueline Poll, won the competition whilst in the final year of their foundation degree course in garden design at Capel Manor College.

They were given four weeks to design their city or urban garden, which could be for a front or rear garden and should ‘provide an enjoyable and safe space, which has well protected boundaries, preventing easy access to the rear and protects everything within’.

Lucy Glover: Lucy has just completed the Royal Horticultural Society accredited Foundation Degree in Garden Design and Plantsmanship at Capel Manor College.

Jacqueline Poll: Jacqueline has just completed the Royal Horticultural Society accredited Foundation Degree in Garden Design and Plantsmanship at Capel Manor College.

Capel Manor College: Capel Manor College is London’s leading land-based college, offering a wide range of full and part-time courses for young people and adults, including their renowned floristry, garden design and horticulture programs.

Secured by Design: Secured by Design, the national police crime prevention initiative, aim to achieve sustainable reductions in crime through design and other approaches to enable people to live in a safer society.

We have more than 200 SBD trained police officers and staff in Police Forces around the UK. These Designing Out Crime Officers work with architects, developers and local authority planners to build in tried, tested and proven crime prevention techniques at the planning stage to reduce crime and keep communities safe.

SBD seeks to reduce crime by combining minimum standards of physical security like doors, windows and locks that achieve SBD’s Police Preferred Specification standard and proven design principles of the built environment such as natural surveillance and defensible space.

Whilst police are unable to recommend specific products, SBD can act as an effective gatekeeper and signposting service to our 650 member companies and their products, which meet our rigorous Police Preferred Specification standards.

Members’ products range from secure and robust doors, windows and locks through to cutting-edge IT products, CCTV components, and shutters and barriers. SBD is the only way for companies to obtain police accreditation for security products in the UK.