Outside your home
The best we of preventing unauthorised access to your property is to make sure you have secure boundaries. This is especially important if your property adjoins a road, a footpath, a railway line or a public space.
If your fences or walls are easily climbed, broken down on missing altogether, a burglar can get over or through them. He can push through many hedges and other types of perimeter planting. If you have gates that are not bolted or locked, all he has to do is open them. And if you have high walls or hedges at the front of your property, these provide the perfect cover once he is on the property.
To deter anyone trying to get into your back garden, you need 2-metre high perimeter walls or fences that are sturdy and difficult to climb. Impenetrable thorny plants grown up trellises can also do the trick.
A masonry garden wall should be a minimum of 1.8m high; you can build one to a height of 2m without the need for planning permission unless the boundary adjoins a highway, where consent is needed for a wall over 1m high. Consent and professional advice must be sought if you intend building perimeter walls higher than 2m.
The wall should be at least 225mm thick and should have reinforcing piers 450mm square every 3m for strength. A straight run more than 6m long should also include flexible vertical joints running from top to bottom to accommodate any slight movement in the wall structure. To make climbing difficult, joints in the outer face of the wall should be flush-pointed and the top of the wall should be finished with a tailed ridge. Broken glass set in mortar is not recommended, but if you want to prevent unauthorised access a row of steel spikes is an effective deterrent.
As with walls, you can erect fences up to 2-metre high around your back garden without planning permission unless it adjoins a highway when consent is needed for fences over 1m high. The most secure type of fencing is a post and rail type clad on the outer face with overlapping vertical boards since this is both strong and difficult to climb. Top it with trellises 600 mm high to deter intruders further; growing plants up this will also improve your privacy without infringing the planning rules.
Panel fences are less secure for several reasons. Most are only 1.8m high, their horizontal components provide useful footholds, and they are generally relatively flimsy.
Avoid ranch-style fencing with horizontal boards, even if these are closely spaced; they are as simple as a ladder to climb over.
If you have a gate in your back garden that leads to the front of the house, fit barrel bolts to its garden side low enough to prevent anyone reaching over the gate and undoing them. If it leads to a rear access or public property, lock it; use a stout hasp and staple on a wooden gate and a chain on an ornamental metal one, both secured by a sturdy padlock, and keep it locked except when you need to use it
Back Garden Security
If, despite your best efforts, a would-be burglar gains access to your back garden, do not make it easy for him to steal things or to use your garden or DIY equipment to break into the house.
Make sure that outbuildings are securely locked up
If you have to store a ladder in the garden, hang it on stout brackets attached to a wall or fence and secure it to them with a padlocked chain.
Burglars have been known to use garden furniture or ornaments to smash rear windows, especially at remote properties where the noise will not alert anyone, so store furniture under lock and key when it not in use, and if possible secure ornaments to solid masonry.
Front Garden Security
It is more difficult to make your front garden secure, and in general, you need to provide free access to your front door for deliveries and callers. Make sure that your front door is as secure as possible and that accessible windows are fitted with locks or other security devices. Hang nets or cafe curtains at downstairs windows to deter snoopers, and install an automatic light that will come on as soon as someone sets foot on the property. Make sure that there is no easy access around the sides of the house to the back garden, by keeping side gates bolted and fences in good order.