Everyone wants to enjoy peace of mind and minimise their chance of being a statistic, but you don’t have to lock the place up tighter than Fort Knox to keep your home safe. It’s a simple matter of working smarter, not harder.
Creating a perimeter of gravel around your home makes it virtually impossible for potential intruders to approach silently. If a seamless surround of crushed rock isn’t practical, strategic stretches of gravel below access points like windows are a great start.
Thorny plants such as roses and bougainvillea are as beautiful as they are functional – their naturally spiky branches will make a potential intruder think twice. Plant climbing roses or position rose bushes near windows. Just don’t let them grow big enough to obscure entry points or create hiding places.
Window locks may stymie burglars, who are less likely to make an access attempt that involves noisy breaking glass or the time and effort required to crack a window frame. Screen doors, available in a wide variety of colours and sizes, provide an extra layer of security.
It is simple to install a wall-mounted key safe, and customise the access code to something you and the kids will always remember. If you’re renting, lock a portable version to a fence or handrail.
Deadbolts on exterior doors will make it harder for thieves to make off with larger valuables such as a TV, even if they do manage to get in through a window. However, for safety when you’re at home, leave the key in the deadbolt. If you need to leave in a hurry – for example, to escape a house fire – you won’t need to waste precious seconds fumbling for the key.
If you’ve got a garden shed full of expensive tools, “Opt for a maximum-security padlock with a boron-carbide shackle,” says Steven Swinfield at Master Lock. “This is one of the hardest materials known, and it is nearly impossible to cut.”
Today’s security cameras are simple to set up. Wi-Fi connectivity allows you to see what’s going on from your smartphone, while units with motorised pan/tilt functions also let you point the camera at exactly what you wish to see. Many cameras, including those integrated into smart doorbells, include a two-way intercom function so you can talk to whoever you’re looking at. It’s just as useful for letting a delivery driver know you’re coming downstairs as it is to scare away someone acting suspiciously.
For maximum versatility, try a smart lock on your front door, which allows you to admit visitors remotely, using your smartphone. Some models include traditional keyed access along with touchpad entry and wireless access, offering you the best of all worlds.
A bluetooth key safe is another high-tech solution for keeping out unwelcome visitors while allowing those you trust to let themselves in. “Simply download the free app to organise access for people such as tradies, home-care nurses and cleaners,” says Steven.
Besides the outdoor sensor lights we’re all familiar with, many of which feature solar charging, smart globes are upping the ante indoors as well. Controlled via your home Wi-Fi, some can learn your natural patterns of what times of day, week and year you switch them on and off. Then, when you’re away on holidays, your lights will pretend you’re still at home!
Check out our step-by-step guide on how to install a security door.
Some products are not available at all Bunnings stores, but may be ordered. Some photographs feature products from suppliers other than Bunnings.
Photo Credit: Anna Robinson and Getty Images
Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page.
When following our advice in our D.I.Y. videos, make sure you use all equipment, including PPE, safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Check that the equipment is suitable for the task and that PPE fits properly. If you are unsure, hire an expert to do the job or talk to a Bunnings Team Member.