There’s a landscaping boom right now as families and property owners work to make the best out of their outdoor spaces. A recent Global News article reported that landscapers like us at Mirage are doing well despite the uncertain times we are in, with some even already fully booked until September. The Cochrane Today also reported that people are looking for ways to enhance their properties to provide more use through installing features like fire pits, patios, and outdoor kitchens. Everyone is looking for spaces to safely socialize outdoors with family members and those within their cohort.
Safely socializing is one thing, but many people don’t realize that they can design their landscaping to prevent crime as well. This is something that can be done without the outside observer even knowing, and smart choices will also enhance your overall landscape design.
What is crime prevention through environmental design?
At a high level, crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) is an area of study that delves into how to increase safety in built environments by encouraging positive social interactions. The Calgary Police Service encourages the use of CPTED to reduce the opportunities for criminal acts to take place. Great use of CPTED strategies in designs should blend in seamlessly, enhance appearances, and generally improve interactions with surroundings.
Simple examples of uses of CPTED that probably totally escaped your notice include:
- Properties that appear well-maintained and cared for. This gives off the impression of pride of ownership, which is a deterrent for criminals.
- Places where community activity is encouraged, such as parks, walking and cycling paths, and seating areas.
- Controlled entrance and exit routes through the use of pathways, landscaping and lighting.
Ways to use landscaping to keep prowlers from your property
As with CPTED, landscaping to prevent crime incorporates four main principles:
- Natural surveillance — allows for clear lines of sight throughout your property. For example, shrubs or trees should never obscure a window.
- Natural access control — provides unobstructed access routes to entrances to the home and outbuildings. This means that someone trying to enter your home through the front door can be easily seen from the street, and someone trying to enter your shed can be easily seen from your home. Don’t give anyone any place to hide by a doorway.
- Territorial reinforcement — taking good care of your home through landscaping signals to intruders that people live there and are often home. Territorial reinforcement can also be determined through the use of peepholes, motion sensors, cameras and security systems, and knowing who your neighbours are.
- Space management and maintenance — do not allow clutter to reduce the ability to move around and make it seem as though nobody cares about the property.
Practical tips and tricks to keep your property safe
- Lay out your walkways and use landscaping to lead people to entrances and away from areas you don’t want them to be.
- Never allow shrubs or trees to cover windows or doors.
- Thorny plants near fences and accessible windows will help deter prowlers from getting too close.
- Don’t allow your landscaping to create places to hide.
- In your front yard, allow open spaces to be visible from the street and by neighbours.
- Retaining walls and fences signal where you want people to go, and where you don’t.
- Employ good lighting at doors, along pathways, and at gates.
Where to learn more about designing for crime prevention
The International Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design Association is actually located right here in Calgary. They define CPTED as “a multi-disciplinary approach of crime prevention that uses urban and architectural design and the management of built and natural environments.” They provide a Learning Portal for anyone interested in finding out more about CPTED, and also schedule webinars, training, and accredited courses.
Contact Mirage for a landscaping quote
We are so proud to be able to help people plan and maintain their landscaping throughout the pandemic, and are looking forward to discovering the great ideas people have for their yards. What we have at home may be the best things that we have, we are realizing, and we want to make the best out of them. If you are a hands-off kind of person, we can complete your project from start to finish. If you are a do-it-yourselfer, we can get you started with the materials and knowledge you need. With three generations of designing and landscaping beautiful backyards in Calgary, we have experience building just about any addition imaginable. Have a look at our portfolio and contact us for a free quote on any outdoor project.