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Creating a secure side / back garden

(14 Posts)
MedicPeso Tue 26-Feb-13 22:38:59

We've viewed a couple of houses recently which have had a smallish back garden and a side garden. I wonder what it would be like to make a secure (fenced?) side + back garden - has anyone done this? Does it look odd?

PigletJohn Tue 26-Feb-13 23:46:12

block off access from the public road or footpath side with a strong, tall fence and gate, secured with at least one padbolt and external padlock (Squire 660 is the best I know). The bolts and padlock should feel heavy, not the sort of thing that costs £2 in the street market. Use hook-and-band hinges which are strong. If you can get into the back garden through the back door of the house, put the bolts and padlock on the garden side, where it will be out of reach of people coming from the road, but you can unlock it. A fit person can jump and climb over a 6ft gate if the feel the need, so either put trellis above it, to make the total height 8ft, and/or fit plastic prickle strips on top of the gate and fence. It will not cause injury but will be painful to anyone climbing over without thick gloves.

If you neighbours have insecure gardens you have to treat the dividing fences in the same way. You are not supposed to use barbed wire. Some good prickly bushes will help a lot. Old-fashioned roses are prickly, but not in winter after they have been pruned. I have holly and (I think the other thing is) cotoneaster.

If you have a back alley or lane behind your garden, it will be a very popular source of attack and escape. Consult your local police station and/or neighbourhood watch in this case because it will be an above-average risk.

MedicPeso Wed 27-Feb-13 07:05:08

Thanks PigletJohn, that's really helpful. I'll keep it to refer to in future. Is it possible to have a lockable gate that can be opened with a key though (but not a key + padlock)? It's just that the most often used door to the house may be beyond the gate.

PigletJohn Wed 27-Feb-13 10:02:21

Yes, you can fit a deadlock. However gates are not usually thick enough to fit a mrtice lock, and gates and posts are usually flexible enough to warp or be pushed apart which will relase the bolt. Putting a wooden lintel over the gate to brace the posts on each side will help.

Outdoor gates with no weather protection mean that ordinary locks will quickly rust and jam.

If your main entry door is beyond the gate pople will start out leaving it unlocked 'just for a minute" and end up not locking it at all because it is inconvenient.

MedicPeso Wed 27-Feb-13 12:20:19

PigletJohn, we want the garden to be secure so that our DS can play outside safely. I wonder if these houses with the side + back garden compromise are worth the hassle?

I'd be happy to pay for a very good gate + fence, but I don't want the lock to keep rusting and jamming.

PigletJohn Wed 27-Feb-13 15:04:12

ah, I was thinking of "burglar" secure. Well if cost is not a top priority, then I'd go for a lock with brass levers (i.e, it has a "chubb" shaped key, not a "yale" shaped key) as the brass mechanism will not rust, and the parts are larger so not easily clogged with dirt. The padlock I mentioned (Squire 660) has large brass levers and is very durable outdoors

Utilities cabins (substations etc) use a good secure rimlock, but they are out of the weather, mounted on the inside surface of the door, so if yours is exposed to rain the case may rust. I found this (rather expensive) brass-case and movement rimlock, that would do the job.

Most cheaper rimlocks as used on garden sheds are very shoddy and insecure, and will quickly rust. Even the ones with brass-looking cases are often thinly plated steel and will not last.

mistlethrush Wed 27-Feb-13 15:11:19

And you need planning consent for fences more than 1m high adjoining the public highway - but if they're set back from the front of your house, I think that this should be fine.

MedicPeso Wed 27-Feb-13 20:10:56

Thanks PigletJohn, the rim lock looks like the kind of thing that I was imagining.

And thanks mistlethrush, I wondered if there were any restrictions on fence height.

PigletJohn Wed 27-Feb-13 22:22:05

inidentally, my gate to the back garden is towards the back of the car port, so sheltered from rain and weather. This gives more options for locks and hinges, but it is quite difficult keeping an exposed lock in good condition.

I have used various so-called weatherproof padlocks, but not found anything to last as well as a mechanism with brass levers.

littlecrystal Thu 28-Feb-13 13:55:44

PigletJohn, you seem to know a lot so can I ask a question? We viewed one house with the back garden facing a residential road. There was a 6ft tall brick back garden wall and a wooden gate. I disregarded the house because of safety - i.e. burglary possibility. However, if I out all those measures in place, i.e. trellis or plastic prickle strips + strong gate +padlocks - would it be secure? The house itself was lovely and the area is considered safe, but you never know...

fussychica Thu 28-Feb-13 14:49:15

If you are considering moving or raising the height of any fence/wall facing/adjoining the pavement/highway you need to talk to your planning dept.

We knocked down an old side wall and wanted to replace it with a fence closer to the highway (but still on our land) to give us more garden at the side. The council agreed without planning permission to a 2 metre fence 1.5 metres from the pavement. We were happy with this but if we had wanted to go closer planning permission would have been required.

PigletJohn Thu 28-Feb-13 15:06:23


I have known a burglar (when being pursued) climb over a 6ft gate, run down the garden, climb on top of the garden shed (putting his foot through the roof) and run away through the next garden which has no gate, into the next road. I have also known one, when frightened, smash down a larchlap-type fence panel to get away.

The main trick is to make your house unattractive so the burglar says "I can't be bothered... I'll burgle the house next door"

An 8-ft barrier is much more difficult to climb over, as you can't just grab the top and haul yourself up. Trellis on top of the gate or fence doesn't look bad, and it will not support a burglar so will noisily break, preferably with plenty of splinters and rusty nails. If it has a prickly old rose climbing up it, so much the better.

Most garden gates and padlocks are very frail, but you can get better ones.

Nosy neighbours are quite useful, as long as they phone the police instead of just watching.

littlecrystal Thu 28-Feb-13 15:52:13

PigletJohn, thanks that is useful to know. Overall, do you think that is acceptable risk to take? I even thought that having the house backed on the pavement/road makes the garden in everyone's sight. In that line of the houses, there are some with 6ft brick wall and trellis on top, and some spiky bushes on the pavement side.
This is the only 3 bed house we can afford in the area. I quite liked the idea of taking our bikes straight to the shed instead of currently having to wheel them through the house. Hmm.. decisions, decisions...

PigletJohn Thu 28-Feb-13 16:39:21

I'd be happy with it. The shed will need a good door and lock as well. You can get several of the Squire 660 padock suited to the same key, so you only need to carry one key. Usually cheapest on Ebay.

If you have a motorbike or expensive cycles, you will need a stronger and more secure lock, which will cost more.

For my car-port and shed, I recently got two second-hand front doors on ebay from people who had bought new. One cost £5 and came with locks and keys, the other cost 99p (but I had to collect them). A door which is exposed to rain on the top and bottom will only last a few years.

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