Our top ten home security tips

Your home is your sanctuary, somewhere to feel safe. If you’re thinking about going away or just looking to add some extra security measures, here are our top home security tips.

cameras home security tips
It might seem obvious, but many people don’t have security cameras

Home Security Tip 1 – Install security cameras

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This might seem like an obvious choice for number one on our list! However, many people still do not have any security cameras installed in their homes. It’s easier now than ever with Smart technology that doesn’t cost the earth to install or run. Smart security cameras come with apps to monitor your home from wherever you are. They work with whatever devices you use – smartphone, computer or tablet. You can even get Smart camera doorbells now, allowing you to see and speak to people at your door remotely. This means that even if you’re home you can decide who to let in before you answer. Many of these cameras have motion detectors and recording. They’re a must-have.

Home Security Tip 2 – Garden security lights

Another classic security measure that’s easy to install in your garden or driveway. Motion-activated security lights can help you and your loved ones see and move safely in the dark, but will also deter any intruders with a sudden burst of light. They can be installed in your front and back garden or anywhere where there is access to the property. You don’t even need to wire them in. Some are solar-powered, and some can be plugged into standard sockets. Our Handyperson team can advise on the best type for you.

Tip 3 – Make sure your gates and fences are up to scratch

Making sure your fences are good quality and in good condition is of paramount importance. Any holes, gaps or other damage can allow intruders to gain access or get a good look at your property before entering. Not to mention that fallen fences are easy for someone to climb over. Once your fences are fixed up, consider having some extensions to the top, such as trellis panels. They can also be attached to walls for some extra height, as well as having climbing plants growing up them as an extra deterrent.

Gates should also be well maintained and easy to lock with bolts or padlocks. Check the hinges as well as the condition of the wood or metal frame. if you have a rear gate that adjoins the fencing, make sure the door is at the same height as the fence itself. Ideally you should secure this gate with two different locks so that it can’t be forced open.

strong iron garden gate home security
A gate as high as your bushes and fences will heighten security

Home Security Tip 4 – Keysafes – a secure key storage solution

Keysafes are surprisingly a very safe way to store your keys, outdoors as well as indoors. We only supply the Supra C500, which is one of only a few models that are recommended by the police. If you’re buying your own, make sure you do your homework and find out just how secure it is. We’ll still happily install it for you. Your keysafe will be mounted to the wall in a discreet location, with a cover to hide the combination lock. The Supra C500 is reinforced so that it cannot be broken into. In an emergency they can be a lifesaver – but only give out the code to the emergency services or people you trust.

Tip 5 – Lock down your shed and outdoor buildings

Tools in your shed can be desirable to would-be thieves, so make sure that you have decent locks on your shed door. Even if some of the items aren’t very valuable, remember that they could be used to aid someone breaking into your home. You can lock away tools inside units in the shed or secure things like ladders to posts, racks and walls by using a padlock and chain. For larger sheds and outdoor buildings, you might consider window locks or bars.

rusted shed padlock home security
Rusted old shed bolts and padlocks present a security risk

Tip 6 – Graveled paths and driveways – a surprising deterrent

Keep your gravel paths and drives topped up with gravel – the noise from someone walking on it can alert you to their presence. You’ll need to be sure that there’s enough gravel remaining on the top layer so that it makes as loud a noise as possible under feet. You can also put gravel around plants and shrubs so that there’s nothing for someone to hide behind in the garden without making some noise.

garden gravel home security
Gravel – it’s great for making noise! The more topped up the better

Home Security Tip 7 – Door and window locks, front and rear

Most burglars will try to enter via the rear of the property. This is because it is generally a more vulnerable point. It’s more likely to be neglected and isn’t near the street where someone might see or hear. You should make sure that forced entry into your home is very difficult. You could put a chain or bolt on wooden rear or side doors. For French doors, you can install a patlock, which fits on the internal side handles. A patlock is as much a visual deterrent as a barrier to breaking in and succeeds at both. It releases quickly with no need for a code or key.

Tip 8 – Prickly or thorny plants can also deter burglars

You don’t always need fancy gizmos and gadgets to make your home secure. Certain plants can be very effective at deterring burglars, such as prickly pyracantha or gorse bushes. Dense shrubs and evergreens can be a physical barrier, especially coupled with gravel around them to make noise if someone is pushing against them. Thorny climbers can be grown up trellises and fences to make them much more difficult to climb.

Just remember not to let them overgrow! Not only could they be hazardous to you or any family or guests, but overgrown and overhanging plants and shrubs can block entrances. They also provide the opportunity for unwanted guests to hide behind or underneath them.

Holly garden prickly prickle bush berries
Holly bushes – not just for Christmas! Those prickly leaves will deter any would-be burglars

Tip 9 – Curtains and blinds are still a top home security measure

A curtain or blind might not seem like a substantial security measure, but they help to keep people from seeing into your home from outside. If someone was looking for quick access into your home, an open window is a much less attractive option with noisy blinds to contend with. When windows are covered with a blind or curtain it’s also much harder for someone to know if there is anyone inside the house.

Standard curtains are fine, but a net curtain also adds an extra layer of privacy. A handyperson can easily install one for you, as well as sort out any curtain poles that might be coming away from the wall. Many people opt for blinds nowadays. Depending on the type they can be a very stylish addition to your home. Remote operated electric blinds have come down in price in the last few years, making them more accessible to more homeowners regardless of their income and ability.

stylish security blinds living room home security
Stylish blinds can add a lot to a home, and not just in terms of extra privacy

Home Security Tip 10 – Be smart when you’re going on holiday

It should go without saying, but make sure all doors and windows are locked, including your shed. If you’ve got a security alarm then definitely set it before you leave. It’s important to cancel deliveries coming to your home, particularly if you have milk or papers delivered. You might ask a friend or neighbour to come around now and then to pick up your mail or any parcels. This also makes it look like someone is still at the house. You could even ask your neighbour to use your driveway a few times during the week. Your lights can also be put on timers to come on at night.

It’s a good idea to think about getting a safe to store away any of your valuables. You might also take photographs of your valuables and mark them with your postcode and house number. This will help the police to identify and potentially recover your items if they are stolen. Photos also help if you are making an insurance claim.

Perhaps most importantly though – try not to share that you’re on holiday on social media. If your posts and profile are public then you are advertising that you are on holiday! So save the snaps for when you return safely.

Ask us for advice

If there’s any aspect of home security that you need some help with or advice on, contact our Customer Service team for an obligation-free chat. We Care about your security.

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    How to create an accessible garden

    Just because your needs have changed, it doesn’t mean that you have to stop enjoying your garden. Make it more accessible with some smart changes and adaptations!

    Gardens and gardening. A great British passion and pastime. Your garden might be your haven in a hectic city and a busy life. A place where you entertain guests on summer evenings. A place where you grow plants, flowers and vegetables. Or maybe it’s just the place you hang the laundry when the sun is out!

    In any case, we all love this special part of our home that lives and breathes outside of the four walls we spend most of our time in. Many people would love to spend more time in their gardens, if they weren’t harder to get around now that their health has changed. Some people find it daunting to downsize to a patio or terrace, or tackling a garden that’s now overgrown.

    There are laws in place now that advise on how accessible new build homes must be, but there are no rules around gardens. It’s well known that gardens can help with mental health and wellbeing, so why not transform your garden into a place that is accessible to you and anyone that enters it.

    Accessible garden paths enable access for all

    The first thing that you might think of when making your garden more accessible is paths. The path certainly needs to be wide enough for two people to walk side by side. It may need to be slightly wider if one of them is a wheelchair user. The path doesn’t necessarily have to be brick or tarmac. Concrete doesn’t quite scream garden does it! However, laying gravel is a cost-effective way of making a pathway that is also safe, even for wheelchair users. As long as it is laid properly with a secure base and a top layer pounded down to compact it, it will be absolutely fine for wheels.

    Anyone using a wheelchair or with a visual impairment will greatly appreciate decent edging. Edging means clear borders showing where the path ends. You might consider raised brick, stones, coloured timber, short knee-height hedges, and LED lighting running along the path when it’s dark.

    Your needs will determine how to make the garden accessible

    Some things will be dependent on your specific needs. For example, low hedges might be hard for you to trim yourself if you can’t reach down or kneel. However, for a wheelchair user, they can be at the perfect height. It’s also important to think about who will be joining you in your garden. It’s a good idea to have a variety of seats and benches at different heights if you’ll have tall or short guests, young children, or those who might find it difficult getting on and off low chairs. You might also have benches or seats with and without armrests – wheelchair users will find it easier to transfer to a chair without an armrest.

    It’s worth considering lightweight folding tables and chairs too. That way you could host a party but still make your garden accessible at other times when you’ll need the space. Remember that a garden by its nature might not always be accessible for everyone, but you can do as much as you can to make it as simple and as easy for yourself and the main group of people who will join you in your garden.

    Handrails can make your garden easily accessible again

    Handrails will make sure that anyone who needs some support whilst walking can access parts of the garden that they otherwise wouldn’t reach. Kee Klamp rails are very strong and secure galvanised tubular rails that won’t rust. You can have them painted or buy powder coated ones that will complement the garden or stand out so that they are easy to spot for those with visual impairments. You may also be interested in some bespoke rails; there are many steel and iron railings that might add some style to steps or raised platforms for a fancy finish as well as extra safety.

    we care home improvements accessible garden rails older disabled person
    We Care’s Handyperson service can help by installing rails

    Raised beds are a great idea

    If you’re looking to keep working in your garden then making sure that your garden is at a manageable height is key. Raised beds are great for those who can’t kneel or are wheelchair users. Raised beds are good for plants and flowers like perennials, shrubs, vegetables and soft fruits. They are easier to manage and water, with a bigger soil volume than containers. Just make sure that they aren’t too wide and are definitely at the right height for you.

    They also need to be in a place where you can easily access them, but also where the plants contained inside them are going to get the amount of sun or shade that they need. Clever planning here is key, which means that the layout of the garden will need to be considered before any raised beds are put in. Alternatives would be smaller tabletop style beds or containers, preferably ones with locking wheels if you need to move them about to give them more sun or make space at any point.

    raised bed accessible garden wheelchair user
    An example of a raised bed

    Vertical gardens are quirky and easy to reach

    Another alternative to a raised bed is a vertical garden. This means vertically suspended panels either free-standing or attached to a wall, that contain plants, flowers or vegetables. Some even come with the ability to store pots inside so you can easily swap out the plants that are growing in them. They are great if you are short on space or can’t bend over or twist your body to access a raised bed. They can also liven up drab walls!

    It’s a good idea to think about where plants and branches might be hanging. You don’t want to be brushed or hit in the face with something sharp or that obscures your vision. If you want plants that are low maintenance then grasses and perennials are the best, as you won’t need to do much pruning or cutting.

    Garden maintenance is important

    It’s easy for gardens to get overgrown during the autumn and winter, especially if you find it harder getting around than you used to. Making a garden accessible is only possible once it’s cleared and tidied. It’s worth getting a home maintenance technician or handyperson to tackle the lawn, bushes and weeds. That way the rest of the improvements can be made with ease. An experienced gardener might need a few hours to take care of everything efficiently, saving you time and money. Tell them what you want them to do and what you’re planning to do to the garden afterwards. They’ll be able to give you some great advice about what is possible with the space you have.

    If you need advice about accessible homes and gardens, you know what to do

    Contact us to discuss your needs. We’re always happy to help, even if it’s just mowing the grass or giving some practical advice. We’ve got experience in garden maintenance as well as home independence. We’ll do what it takes to improve your home around you. After all, you should be able to enjoy your garden, now and always.

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