Defensive Landscaping

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

What do we mean by defensive landscaping?

In military terms this is also referred to as the killing zone, which is a cleared area around a base. But this is not the way it works in the civilian setting of protecting a property.

However, to a degree similarities exist but there is more to it when it comes to landscaping for protection and defense than barbed wire and such as in protecting a military base.

Defensive landscaping has your security at heart and is intended to make it as hard as possible for an intruder or assailant to reach you in your home, which is supposed to be your castle. And, yes, a moat is a good idea also at times but not always practical.

Much like at an FOB (Forward Operating Base) and other military installations you chose what you want to be your perimeter to be around your homestead. The closer you are to your neighbors the narrower the margin but that is the way things are.

The first part of your defensive landscape is going to be the fence, on, in this case you plant a hedge. If you need an instant perimeter protection then, obviously, we start with a good solid fence and depending where you live, rural, semi-rural, sub-division, or whatever, the size depends on what you can put up.

If the instant one is required then we start a hedge behind it and this hedge is going to be made of any type of thorny shrub that will grow where you live and will make what is called a stock-proof hedge.

No one in his or her right mind is going to try to go through a four foot six to five foot hedge made up of the nastiest thorns possible.

My choice of plants would be:

  • Hawthorn

  • Blackthorn

  • Berberis (Nature's barbed wire, as far as I am concerned)

  • Pyracantha (Firethorn)

All of those, bar berberis, can be laid, as is the common practice to create stock-proof hedges and laying a hedge will make for a closer structure. Having berberis mixed inside of it will make anyone think more than twice about trying to get to your home that way.

Aside from the protection factor all of those shrubs I mentioned above have berried which the birds love, bar the Blackthorn, which are sloes which can be used to make Sloe Gin. So some for the birds and some for the man or woman.

Directly behind the hedge, as far as I am concerned, should come a ha-ha or haw-haw, which is a sunken ditch to impede any access even further.

All paths should be gravel or pea shingle, which means that no one can approach the house itself silently, even if he or she crossed planted areas. The house itself should be surrounded by a wide strip/path of shingle or gravel which will make a silent approach entirely out of the question.

In the previously mentioned ha-ha or haw-haw it would be a good idea, is possible, to plant vegetation that also can impede anyone falling into this, after managing to cross the hedge, such as Maguey, which is an American agave and one variety is known as Spanish bayonet. I would not like to fall into one of them.

If you really want to make the defensive landscaping extra tight, so to speak, then plant hedges aside all of the paths. This will give anyone attempting to cross to the hose itself even more difficulties, especially at night when the obstacles are not, necessarily, easy to see.

Gates and other means, including man-made obstacles, fall under a different category of perimeter defense and those also include electronic means, such as sensors. It is all a case of “horses for courses”.

© 2013