How to Design a Home with Security in Mind

Designing a home or home extension is an exciting time.  It is a chance to reimagine how you live and create a space which is perfect for you.  Of course, there are numerous aspects to consider, including layout, materials and cost – all things an architect will help you with.

But one factor that can be overlooked is security.  While working on a home build, homeowners often, and understandably, focus on the final look and feel of the rooms.  A home must also be practical and safe, especially with research revealing that police forces across England and Wales investigate 283 reports of criminal damage to properties every day.  The research from Direct Line for Business points out that this is the equivalent of one every five minutes, with problems including vandalism and arson. 


Protecting your home during a build or renovations 

While a property is being built or renovated, the site could be a bit messy and potentially unoccupied.  This makes it a bit of a target for opportunistic criminals, particularly those who just want to vandalise or believe there may be valuable tools left behind after a day’s work. 

The advice from police forces is often better suited for larger building sites and budgets, but many tips can be applied to home projects, such as: 

  • Set up good portable lighting to deter intruders
  • Encourage everyone working on the site to mark their tools and take them away to be stored somewhere secure overnight
  • Similarly, take away or securely store any valuable materials, such as copper pipe, electrical cable and lead
  • Be extra vigilant when you’re coming close to the end of the project, when things such as kitchen units, central heating boilers and white goods have been installed
  • Report any suspicious behaviour or thefts to the police immediately


Design factors with security in mind 

For the long-term security of your home, you will also want to consider security in the design phase.  When you think of security, you might think of high fences, big security alarms or other ugly features which may detract from the overall appearance of your new home. 

When done right, the extra security of your home should be seamless and an unnoticeable feature.  For example, when thinking about securing the perimeter of your home, you can use higher fences at vulnerable parts of the plot (such as any hidden spots around the back), and then stagger the heights down to create a more aesthetically pleasing boundary. 

Timber fences are an affordable choice, and planting can further soften the look.  Brick and stone walls are a more expensive and labour-intensive choice.  Many experts also recommend incorporating a trellis with roses or other prickly plants growing up it.  Not only will it deter people from climbing up, but if they tried, it’ll make a loud crash when the trellis breaks.

Other things to consider include:

  • Outdoor lighting. No vandal or burglar wants to be in the spotlight.  You can get discreet lighting options that are hidden in planting, give the trees and plants a nice uplight, but also keep your property and plot seen.  For extra protection, you can consider sensor-triggered spotlights. 
  • The interior layout. If you have the chance to redesign or create a layout, consider the visibility you have of the perimeter and approach from inside.  Open plan designs are a popular choice and often give clear views of the back or front.  If you have the privacy to use a lot of glazing, it can also act as a deterrent.  But always check the quality of sliding or patio doors, as there are requirements for all doors and windows to maximise security.
  • Burglar alarms. Alarms have upgraded over the years, with smart systems operated by your smartphone.  There is a huge range of security systems you can choose from, with options for cameras, alarms, door looks and motion detectors.

If you need more information on designing a well-protected home, feel free to get in touch with us.

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