Ultimate Guide to Garden Fence Security
This part of the ultimate guide to home security we look at your garden fence. The garden fence acts as an entry point to the home and is often overlooked when it comes to home security. Along with security lights and motion sensors, we look at the other forms of garden security that will help keep your house safe and burglars deterred.
Types of Fences used in a Garden
Close-board / Featherboard Fencing
This type of fencing for garden security is known for being strong and solid. It’s constructed with overlapping vertical feather-edge wooden boards. Featherboard fencing is most commonly used in back gardens. It’s not too expensive (but is not the cheapest either) and looks neat and attractive. Normally you would have this type of fencing standing at 6ft tall. However you will need to check with your local authority if there are any height restrictions on fencing in your area.
Larch-Lap Panel Fencing
This type of fencing is one of the most common budget fencing out there. It’s made of horizontal slats and like close board fencing, timber or concreate posts as well as gravel boards can be used. Larch-lap panel fencing may be the most budget friendly option for garden security, but it is not as sturdy as close board fencing and can be more prone to damage in high winds.
Timber Palisade / Picket Fencing
This type of fencing is normally picked for its atheistic properties, as it is considered a decorative fence. These types of fences are normally found in front gardens as they provide minimal security. Picket fences are traditionally made from wood, however you can get them in uPVC option, but these can have some maintenance issues and can be more expensive than wood. As these fences tend to be quite low, they are less prone to wind damage.
Slatted Fence Panels
These gaps in these panels offer a more modern look, which is great if you are not focusing on garden security. You can even use them to spate different parts of your garden. The gaps between the slats mean your garden will still receive a good amount of light. The gaps in the fence mean it will be less affected by strong winds; therefore it will need repairing less.
Best Type of Fence to use in Garden for Security
According to Staffordshire police for you fence to be effective for security is must be;
Rear garden fencing
- Install 1.8m high fencing to rear gardens. Planning permission is not normally required, but it is always better to check before you go ahead.
- Install as close to the ground as possible to prevent an intruder crawling under it. On uneven surfaces, use shorter fencing panels to achieve this.
- Keep horizontal bracing in the inside and chamfer it by 45 degrees. This reduces the opportunity for criminals to use it as a climbing aid to get out of your garden.
- Secure fencing panels to the fence posts to prevent them from being lifted out. You can use a variety of brackets for this purpose.
- Keep your fence or wall in good repair. Old and rotten fences or crumbling walls are not only weak, but advertise that the rest of your home may not be secure as well height.
Front garden fencing
- Low fencing to the front of your home helps to provide a clear boundary to your property. It can make it more difficult for someone to claim that they are on your property by mistake.
- Check with your local planning department first before installing a fence or wall.
- We recommend that any wall or fence to the front of your home does not exceed 1m in height. Higher fences (or tall shrubs) reduce visibility and can be counterproductive.
Garden Fence Security Spikes
Although adding security spikes to your fences and gates is another security measure, they may cause you more hassle than they are worth due to needing planning permission and strict legal requirements.
Are Fence Security Spikes Legal?
So, are fence spikes legal? Yes they are, but only if you adhere to the strict rules that follow. If you wish to install fence spikes you will need to ensure you are doing so within the law and you may be required to seek planning permission. If you do decide to implement security spikes (this includes broken glass, barbed wire etc.) to your property boundaries you will need to clearly state that they are in place by securing a warning sign to the wall.
You will need to acquire planning permission for the following:
- Any fence, gate or wall over 2m in height needs to be accepted. If your new fence or wall borders a public highway you may need planning permission for anything over 1m.
- If your property is a listed building or borders a listed property you will need to seek planning permission before any work is carried out.
- You wouldn’t normally need planning permission to grow a thorny plant along the top of your fence unless there are restrictions so it is best to check with your local council before doing so. The same rule applies for a hedge.
- Before carrying out any work along the borders of your property it is worth seeking advice from the local planning authority, you don’t want to spend loads of money upgrading your boundaries only to be told they’re illegal and all your hard work is wasted.
As mentioned above, there are also laws around what you can and cannot do to your fence, wall or gates in order to protect the safety of others. Brush up on the relevant laws below to ensure your property is not a cause for concern.
- Highways Act 1980: Section 164 (Injurious toppings): In short, this section entails barbed wire; local authorities have the right to issue a notice if the fence causes a nuisance to the highway.
- Highways Act 1980: Section 154 (Overhanging the highway): If your property has overhanging trees or hedges that cover the light from streetlamps or pose a danger to vehicles or pedestrians then you could be served a notice to remove the danger within 14 days of the notice being served.
- Occupiers’ Liability Act 1984: ‘Duty of occupier to persons other than his visitors’ If you are being burgled and the thief injures themselves on your property, you may be responsible for their injury. To avoid this if you use security spikes they must be able to be seen, therefore they cannot be hidden on the underside of your wall and you must put up a sign that clearly states that there are spikes in place. As with security spikes you must also be careful when using anti-vandal paint, if a burglar were to climb up and injure themselves due to slipping on
The information above does not cover everything you need to know in regards to what you can and cannot do to protect your home boundaries so if you need more information it is worth checking the government’s legislation, link below.
Can I put Barbed Wire on my Garden Fence?
As long as it is on your property and fence are able to use barbed wire as a deterrent. However, it is strongly advised against as under the Occupier’s Liability Act 1984 homeowners have a ‘duty of care’ to protect people on their property from foreseen harm, and yes this does include trespassers and even burglars. Furthermore, if your property borders that of a public route it must not cause a nuisance to people or animals.
Anti-Climb Garden Fence Security Measures
So what can you do to secure your fence from thieves climbing over the top? Take a look at our list below for our top recommendations to upgrade your fence security, after all it is the first obstacle a burglar will face when trying to enter your property.
- Height: A tall garden fence or wall will deter burglars simply because they cannot easily climb over it. A 2m fence is recommended as it taller than most people and it complies within the law so you do not have to apply for planning permission
- Fence material: A strong garden fence such as a wooden or brick wall fence will prevent burglars from simply damaging or removing the fence all together like they would be able to with one made from bamboo.
- Trellis with thorny plants: This method deters burglars for two reasons; if a burglar tried to climb over the trellis it would probably break under their weight, by adding a thorny climber it is more off putting to a burglar as they will get cuts from climbing over it. It should be noted that a trellis cannot exceed the 2m height limit but there are no rules for how tall the thorny climbers can be as long as they do not pose any potential threat to the public.
Best Plants that can be used as a Anti-Climb Deterrent on your garden fence
The Metropolitan Police created a list of some of the best bushes to plant to act as a deterrent this list includes:
Creeping Juniper; also known as ‘Blue Rug’ this plant has a thorny stem and blue hued foliage.
Blue Spruce; this plant has rigid branches with irregular dense blue and spiky needles.
Common Holly; large evergreen shrub, dark green spiked leaves.
Giant Rhubarb; this abrasive foliage can grow up to 2.5m high and has leaves on erected stems.
Firethorn; this plant has a thorny stem acting as a deterrent but also blooms white flowers in the summer with bright orange-red berries.
Can you use Anti-Climb Paint on your Garden Fence?
Yes, as long as the garden fence is yours and within your property boundaries, you are within your rights to paint anti-climb deterrents on your fence as long as you use it in conjunction with signs that clearly state the dangers of climbing. The Crime Prevention Website suggests that you don’t put it on fences or walls less than 2.4m in height to avoid innocent persons getting covered in the substance as it can damage clothing and furnishes.
Read more about garden security here!
Garden Fence Security FAQs
Fence spikes, Trellis with thorny plants, and anti-climb paints are the most popular legal ways to increase garden security and stop burglars.
The anti-climb spikes on the top of the fence are permissible, as long as a clear and conspicuous warning is included, such as: ‘Caution: danger of harm from fence spikes’.
As long as it is on your property and fence you are technically able to use barbed wire as a deterrent however, there are several laws that you should carefully consider before doing so – Section 164 of the Highways Act 1980, The Criminal Justice Act 2003 & Occupiers Liability Act 1984 to name a few. As barbed wire can seriously injure, we therefore recommend other deterrents.
If you do decide to implement security spikes to your property boundaries you will need to clearly state that they are in place by securing a warning sign to the wall.
Burglars are usually in hurry and will pick a garden that has low or no fencing over for an easy break in. Therefore, having a home fence is vital to garden security.