10 Ways to Stop People From Stealing Your Plants

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Ways to Stop People From Stealing your Plants

When we think of home burglaries, it’s often intruders breaking windows and making off with expensive jewellery that springs to mind. But most burglaries are a lot more brazen than the meticulously planned missions we see on TV, and often involve passers-by helping themselves to items in your garden!

Studies have shown that one in seven homes have had plants stolen. It can be devastating knowing that someone has made off with your favourite plants, homegrown vegetables or expensive flowers. Unfortunately, many people believe in a ‘self-service’ option when it comes to gardens – often helping themselves to an entire plant in broad daylight!

Fortunately, there’s a number of ways you can secure your garden and prevent intruders from stealing your plants. These top 10 tips should make potential thieves think again. 

1. Place Rare Plants Where They Can’t Be Seen

We don’t mean hiding your beautiful flowers and shrubs behind your wheelie bin, but you should place valuable plants in a spot that they can’t be seen from the front of the house. This will reduce the number of people popping into your front garden to help themselves! 

Most plant thieves aren’t going to break into your garden and search for the best plants to steal. Instead, they might catch sight of an expensive plant from the street and fancy their chances. 

Make your garden look unappealing by not planting rare bulbs in plain view of the road. While you may want passers-by and neighbours to appreciate your gorgeous garden, thieves may not be able to resist temptation. 

Another tip is to stick to low-growing flowers in your front yard, and taller plants in your back garden. Taller flowers are often stolen and sold for flower arrangements. 

2. Keep your Front Boundary Low

A garden filled with ornamental grasses and tall flowers can provide plenty of spots for an intruder to hide in, especially at night time.

With this in mind, you should keep your front boundary low and the front of your house exposed. 

This will make it much easier to spot someone nabbing your plants, even from inside your home.

Plant thieves are less likely to try their luck if they might be spotted from a kitchen window. Plus, a low front boundary gives intruders who want to break into your home fewer dark corners to hide in. 

3. Plant Larger Plants Directly Into the Ground

Digging up plants is time consuming. It requires tools and makes it much less likely that a plant thief will be able to get in and out quickly, quietly and undetected. 

Instead, thieves target potted plants, as they can simply run off with the entire pot. 

If you’re planting new shrubs and you’re worried about them going missing, you should plant them through chicken wire, before covering the area with soil and mulch. Once the shrubs are established, the chicken wire will be invisible – and the plants will be secured into the ground. 

4. Weigh Down your Pots

It’s small potted plants which are most vulnerable to theft. Smaller pots are easy to pick up and wander off with. There’s no digging required, and stealing a potted plant is unlikely to take more than a few seconds, making it easy for a thief to avoid being caught. 

The solution is to make your pots more difficult to lift. Use heavy planters and fill them with organic materials to give them some extra weight. Pieces of bricks and broken up pieces of clay will weigh down your planter without affecting the drainage.

This method has the added benefit of protecting your potted plants from strong winds.

5. Bolt the Plants Into the Ground

If you want to really make your planters unmovable, you could bolt them directly into the ground

Ground anchors can be used to secure plant pots to the ground, as well as other items such as garden furniture, containers and garden ornaments. They use a permanent stake to which the plant or other item can be bolted.

This is a great option for homeowners (not renters!) who have large numbers of potted plants in their front garden. 

6. Get a Yappy Dog

If you’re seriously worried about garden security, a barking dog can be a real deterrent. 

While there are some dogs which are specifically bred to defend their territory, yappy dogs can be just as effective when it comes to home security. A barking dog will warn you if there’s an intruder, while also scaring them off.

Rottweilers and German Shepherds are very good at defending their territory, but if you’ve not got the confidence or experience to train one of these breeds, Yorkshire Terriers, Jack Russel Terriers and Dachshunds can be just as frightening for an unsuspecting plant thief!

Not a dog person? You could go for a barking dog security system. When motion is detected in a certain area, an alarm will imitate the sound of a barking dog. The sound of a yapping dog (albeit fake) should send any potential plant thieves running. 

Alternatively, a ‘Beware of the Dog’ sign on your front garden fence should be enough to put most criminals off. 

7. Opt for Motion Detecting Sprinklers

What better way to get revenge on intruders than by soaking them? While motion detecting sprinklers are unlikely to deter experienced thieves, they will give plant-thieving opportunists a shock!

Motion detecting sprinklers have the added benefit of deterring cats, deer and foxes, all of which can wreak havoc in your flower beds.

When motion is detected, a sprinkler will release a jet of water. They can be set to work either day or night – just be careful to switch them off when you’ve got the neighbours round for a BBQ.

8. Install a CCTV Camera

If you’re wanting to up the ante when it comes to security, you could install a security camera system outside your front door.

The cost of a full surveillance system across your property is likely going to be more than the value of the odd plant that goes missing from your garden, but if you’re concerned about your household security overall a camera can give you peace of mind. You can purchase both indoor and outdoor security cameras, often with HD resolution, night vision and even smart controls. 

Outdoor security cameras are either wired or wireless. Battery powered cameras have an easy set up, with no wiring required. The battery life does need considering, but often lasts up to 6 months on one charge. Advanced battery powered cameras often come with a PIR motion sensor, so can alert you to movement outside your home. 

If you’re installing a CCTV camera to monitor your garden, you should ensure that it is weather resistant and has good quality night vision.

Another option is a video doorbell. Better for smaller budgets, video doorbells allow you to view the outside of your home from your smartphone. The data is stored, so you can view the recorded footage (and hopefully catch sight of the criminal!) if a plant goes missing. 

9. Install Warning Signs

Those without the budget for an extensive home security system should consider making criminals think they have an extensive home security system.

Plant-thieves are likely to be opportunistic and such thieves, thankfully, are easily spooked. They’ll go for homes that look like an easy target, whether that’s because it’s obvious no one’s home, the plants are clearly visible and easy to nab, or there’s no sign of a security system.

Make potential thieves think you’ve got an extensive security system in place with warning signs. While this may not deter experienced burglars, it’ll be enough to make an opportunistic passer-by think twice. 

We’ve already talked about a ‘Beware of the Dog’ sign, but you could also have a sign warning potential burglars that there’s a surveillance camera or burglar alarm system in place. If an intruder thinks there’s a chance they’ll be caught on camera, they’ll likely give your garden a wide berth! 

10. Lock your Garden Gate

Forget scaling your fence, the first thing a burglar will do is try to enter through a garden gate. This is your first line of defence against intruders. If you’ve left it unlocked, they’ll think it’s their lucky day!

Plant theft usually happens during the day, so you should keep your garden gate locked as often as you can. Force a potential intruder to find a more creative (and therefore less inconspicuous!) way to get into your garden. 

There’s a range of types of locks to choose from, most either operating using a key or a combination. Digital smart locks are perfect if you want to be able to control who has access to your garden remotely. They can be set to unlock at certain times (perhaps to let a dog walker or gardener in), and then locked again.

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