Best Protective Garden Plants to Grow to Deter Thieves From Your Home

Updated on January 23, 2017

One of the best ways to deter thieves from your home is to prevent access through your garden.

Most burglars gain entry to property through the back yard, which is usually more sheltered. A thick wall of prickly hedging or bushes should deter all but the most determined thief, who will not want to risk cutting himself in the dark and leaving a DNA trail in the yard or house itself.

The street sides of houses are under the protective eyes of neighbors and drivers on the road, but you can make sure you don't allow a thief a place to hide. Front garden hedges, bushes, and trees should be kept low. Keep your front hedging at around 3 feet high to improve visibility while still giving you some privacy.

Here are the best protective plants that you can grow to protect your home from intruders.

Pyracantha Hedge
Pyracantha Hedge | Source

Firethorn (Pyracantha)

Growing up to 18' tall, the pyracantha is an evergreen bush with serrated and sharp-edged leaves. Its branches grow together to quickly form an impenetrable barrier that even the most determined burglar will really struggle to penetrate.

Covered in vicious thorns, it produces pretty white flowers in the spring and summer, and gorgeous red berries in the autumn. Garden wildlife love this firethorn bush, whose berries attract birds and flowers attract bees. It can easily be pruned or trimmed into shape, and is fairly quick growing.

Holly - ilex agulfolium
Holly - ilex agulfolium | Source

Common Holly (Ilex Agulfolium)

If I was a thief, I'd be put off by a garden ringed with holly, also known as Mexican, Christmas, or European holly. They have jagged dark-green rigid leaves that can cause a lot of damage if you get too close.

The holly produces creamy white flowers in spring and summer, and red berries in autumn which birds and other wildlife love. While they are safe for animals, the berries are not considered safe to humans.

Holly is slow-growing and forms a bush which, if left long enough, will eventually become a tree that can reach 70' tall, but this is over the course of at least 100 years, so don't let that put you off.

Bamboo - Phyllostachys aurea
Bamboo - Phyllostachys aurea | Source

Golden Bamboo (Phyllostachys Aurea)

Very commonly grown in the US, golden bamboo forms a dense impenetrable barrier which is almost impossible for a burglar to break through quietly.

This is the best thing ever about bamboo: it's noisy. It swishes in movement and makes loud snap, cracking sounds when someone breaks through, as well as leaving jagged ends.

This variety is not too invasive I believe, which should make for the perfect barrier hedging round your property. Simply lift clumps for replanting in the spring if you want it to spread further.

Giant Rhubarb - Gunnera manicata
Giant Rhubarb - Gunnera manicata | Source

Giant Rhubarb - Gunnera manicata

A native of Brazil, the giant rhubarb makes a great barrier against unauthorized entry.

The undersides of these giant leaves and stalks are covered with spikes. Not a good plant if you have children or animals, but great for deterring thieves!

These are boggy plants that grow best beside rivers and streams, which is handy if you have one of them running past your back yard, but they dislike cold and snow. They can survive the winter if they are covered with a protective material.

While inedible, the giant rhubarb will certainly make an impression if your yard is big enough to home them. Their leaves can reach 4' in diameter.

blackthorn fruit and spines
blackthorn fruit and spines | Source

Blackthorn (Prunus Spinosa)

The blackthorn grows as a bush up to 15' tall. Great for deterring intruders, it is covered with sharp, lethal spines.

Visually very attractive, in early spring it is covered with white blossoms that by autumn turn to fruits which are blue in color and about the size of small plums. Called 'sloes', these fruit can be eaten but they tend to be astringent. They are used in the making of several liqueurs and are a vital ingredient in 'sloe gin' which is a mixture of vodka, gin, sugar, and sloes.

Blackthorn hedges are commonly used by farmers to prevent cattle straying, and so will work very well as protective plants.

Questions & Answers


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        ant 22 months ago

        hi! there are like forty others you can use- if selected to suit your area, many different cactus can do wonders- plus make fruit for you, also don't forget the common rose bush, that can get prickly. Agave, mesquite, etc

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        shila lewis 2 years ago

        I grow thin long variety cactus with lots of thorn in between the my hedge as a deterrent. It works.