It’s important to feel safe and secure in your home, so it makes sense to install suitable outside security lighting and plants that will deter unwelcome visitors.
There are several varieties of hedging plant that will act as a very effective barrier when planted around the perimeter of your property, and an added bonus is these shrubs also provide shelter and food for wildlife.
For a coastal garden, the Carissa macrocarpa (large num num) shrub is ideal as it can withstand salt-laden winds. It has long, sharp, forked spines which make it an impenetrable hedge. It has evergreen, waxy leaves with fragrant flowers which are white star-shaped, followed by delicious red fruits that are about the size of a small plum. This shrub is incredibly hardy, easy to grow and a reliably effective security barrier.
Pyracantha (Firethorn), planted closely together makes another impenetrable evergreen hedge, with masses of small white flowers, followed by gorgeous orange, red or yellow coloured berries in summer, which are very attractive to birds. Choose a hybrid variety as other varieties of Pyracantha can be invasive.
The Berberis Thunbergii (Barberry) has a vast amount of very sharp thorns lining its stems, making it a popular choice for security hedging. This plant is available in a range of colour varieties, some with purple foliage and yellow/orange flowers.
For a really attractive, indigenous shrub that will provide a very effective dense barrier a Ziziphus Meuronata (Buffalo Thorn), is hard to beat as it bears some really vicious thorns! Prune heavily as it can also grow into a tree. This shrub will attract birds and wildlife.
The Kei Apple (Douyalis Caffra) is another indigenous shrub with a dense, impenetrable growth and very nasty thorns. The edible yellow fruit is sometimes used for jam-making. This shrub also attracts useful insects and butterflies.
Bougainvillea, despite its beautiful, showy flowers of red, pink, white, purple and orange, is a rampant, drought-resistant, hardy and low-maintenance plant with vicious thorns which add a vital security element to boundary planting.
The Acacia Dauyii shrub (Cork-bark Thorn), is aptly named as it has extremely thorny branches, so another good choice for a security hedge. It is a deciduous shrub that bears bright yellow puffball flowers which birds and insects will enjoy.
Acacia Hebeclada (Candle Thorn) is a large deciduous shrub with very sharp spines and flaking dark brown to grey bark, which is loved by birds searching for insects under the bark.
Roses are generally known to have thorns, but the Rosa Bracteata (Macartney Rose) is a different type of Rose as it is an evergreen variety and has vicious, sharp thorns along its stems. It’s very fast-growing and impossible to penetrate.
The Common Holly (Ilex Aquifolium) is an evergreen slow-growing shrub with a dense form of glossy green prickly leaves which are an excellent deterrent to intruders. This plant needs to have both separate male and female plants in order to produce berries. Holly is a very hardy plant and pollution resistant.
Before planting the shrubs prepare the soil well by adding plenty of compost and some bonemeal to the planting hole. Allow space between each shrub when planting to prevent root competition and overcrowding.
It’s important to remember, when planting a security hedge near a road verge to make sure it is pruned regularity to avoid snagging any pedestrians.
To keep the hedge dense and encourage growth making it impenetrable trim the shrubs often, with either a hedge trimmer, or manually, though this option will need thick gardening gloves and long-handled loppers.
Once established, a natural thorny security barrier planted around the boundary of your home will look attractive and colourful, provide a safe haven for wildlife and discourage potential intruders
Tracey Cole | Village gardens