Height matters when it comes to the hedge in your front garden, with foliage recommended not to be higher than a metre – and preferably lower.
This is because a tall hedge reduces security and could increase your risk of being burgled, according to experts.
Crimestoppers recommends a hedge of one metre or lower as it means that neighbours and passers by can see if somebody is trying to break in and alert the authorities.
The charity says that a higher hedge at the front of a property can allow burglars extra privacy and make them less visible.
Homeowners are being urged to look at their garden hedges this summer and check their height
Mick Duthie, from Crimestoppers, said: ‘In these difficult financial times, protecting yourself as much as possible from crime is always wise, especially from the harm caused by burglary, which can have a devastating impact.
‘We therefore strongly urge people to look at their garden hedges this summer and if needed cut them to help cut crime. It’s a simple and free way to keep your home more secure.’
A survey of 1,000 households by John Lewis Home Insurance has revealed a lack of awareness about how to keep homes secure.
It found that more than two thirds of those surveyed with a front hedge said it exceeds the one metre height recommended by Crimestoppers.
And nearly a third keep their hedge at double the recommended height, or even higher.
Less than one in five people consider the impact the height of their front hedge has in securing their home.
Nearly half -of those asked don’t change the height of their hedge, or keep it at the height that’s practical for them – while one in ten choose the height based on their neighbour’s hedge.
Less than one in five people consider the impact the height of their front hedge has in securing their home
There is a misconception that higher hedges are more secure as they stop people walking past from looking in the window.
Mr Duthie said: ‘Those surveyed said they keep their front hedge high to prevent people climbing on it, or seeing in but we know that what matters most to criminals is not being seen.
‘A high front hedge gives them cover while they’re in a property or garden, and a low rear hedge gives them easy access to escape out the back.
‘It’s understandable that some may feel having a high hedge at the front would help keep belongings safe, but this could make your home more vulnerable by providing privacy to potential burglars, whereas a low hedge would leave them exposed.’
The advice for rear garden hedges is for them to be the opposite of those in the front garden.
It is recommended that they are kept at least 1.8 metres high to make it hard for thieves to climb up and over them.
However, nearly half of households with a hedge surveyed said it’s 1.5 metres or lower.
Mr Duthie added: ‘It’s not just the height of your hedge which can put off burglars. We recommend keeping all hedges thick, prickly and dense to further deter intruders.
‘This is particularly effective for back hedges, as a robust hedge can block the escape of thieves who attempt to exit via the back garden.’
A hedge of one metre or lower at the front of a property means that neighbours and passers by can see if somebody is trying to break in
James Barwell, of John Lewis Home Insurance, said: ‘As people prepare to go away this summer they’ll be thinking about how they can keep their homes secure.
‘Our survey found a lack of awareness of the importance of hedge height and confusion about whether hedges should be high, or low to deter burglars.
John Lewis says there are plenty of hedge species that provide additional security without compromising the appearance of your garden.
These include Pyracantha, Firethorn – an evergreen, vigorous and thorny plant, as its name suggests.
A Holly bush is also a good traditional evergreen whose prickly leaves will ward off intruders.
For something a bit brighter, it suggests Rose Glow, with its copper and pink leaves, or Blackthorn, which blossoms in spring. Both can act as impenetrable yet stylish barriers.