We all know to lock our doors, set our alarms, and close our blinds/curtains in order to protect our home from potential burglars – but one thing we’ve admittedly never considered, is the effect our hedges might be having on our home security. Yes, really!

John Lewis Home Insurance (opens in new tab) recently surveyed 1000 UK households, and discovered that many of us aren’t clued up on the ways in which our hedges can keep our homes safe – or not.

67% of those asked, revealed that their front hedge(s) stands at 1 metre or higher. One third admitted that theirs was double that. So why is this a problem? According to the police, and the charity CrimeStoppers, our front hedges should actually be as low as possible, to deter criminals from breaking in.

large house and garden with pathway, hedges and oudoor seating area

(Image credit: Future Publishing Ltd / Polly Eltes)

The thought behind this, is that burglars are less likely to be spotted breaking in behind tall hedges in our front gardens – making high hedges attractive to potential criminals. 

Mick Duthie, Director of Operations at CrimeStoppers (opens in new tab) explained: ‘Those surveyed said they keep their front hedge high to prevent people climbing on it, or seeing in. But we know that what matters most to criminals is not being seen. A high front hedge gives them cover while they’re in your property or garden.’

But cutting our hedges isn’t all Mick recommends doing in order to keep burglars out. ‘We also recommend keeping all hedges thick, prickly and dense to further deter intruders,’ he said. 

If you’re wondering what sort of hedge in particular would be most secure, John Blackstaff, Plant Nursery Manager at the John Lewis Partnership’s Leckford Estate, has some recommendations that will look good and put off burglars. He said, ‘I recommend Pyracantha (firethorn), which is evergreen, vigorous and thorny, as its name suggests. A Holly bush (Ilex aquifolium), is also a good traditional evergreen species, whose prickly leaves will ward off intruders.’

Garden with hedge row border and sofa set

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Douglas Gibb)

And it’s not only our front hedges we should be considering when it comes to making our homes as secure as possible.

According to Mick, it’s just as important to keep the hedges in your back garden high, as it is to keep those in your front garden low when planning garden ideas

He explained, ‘a low rear hedge gives them easy access to escape out the back.’ As such, a prickly, thorny hedge is ‘particularly effective for back hedges, as a robust hedge can block the escape of thieves who attempt to exit via the back garden.’

Who knew? We’re off to grab the strimmer!