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  • Writer's pictureAndy Murphy

How to Secure Your Backyard

Learn how to make your backyard safer

Today I wanted to cover how we as Protector Parents can secure our backyard. I think that generally, people don’t think their backyard is an area of concern. If we’re not careful, we can think our backyard is somehow off-limits to bad guys.

I’ll remind you that one of the most popular ways criminals enter homes during an invasion is by going through the back door. We can’t get caught slipping in the back. Home security is a 360° operation.

Fence It In

The easiest way to deny access to our backyard is a fence. Experts will argue all day long about the best type of fence you can have. Honestly, if you have some sort of fence up, it’s a deterrent.

Claiming your property and putting up a boundary, lets people know that they shouldn’t be there. Plus, if the cops catch someone in the back, the trespasser can’t claim he didn’t know he wasn’t supposed to be there.

The two most popular types of fencing are chain-link and wooden privacy fencing. Chain-link is cost-effective and allows you to see into your backyard from the outside. The bad part is that most chain-link fencing is only installed at waist height and can be easily jumped. Plus, people can see through the fence and watch what you’re doing. That makes you feel uneasy, right?

Wooden privacy fences offer just as the name implies, privacy. Normally at 6 feet in height, these fences can block people from looking in at what you’re doing and what you keep in your backyard. And since they are so tall, they are harder to get over. If you have a fence like this, make sure it’s in good condition with no gaps and can’t be easily pushed over.

On the downside, they do cost a lot, especially with today’s lumber prices. And privacy cuts both ways. Yes, it can keep others from seeing you inside, but it can also shield criminal activity once someone is inside.

So there are a few things to consider with fencing. Regardless of the type of fence you have, make sure the gates are locked. You can have the best fence in the world with razor wire and motion detection, but if you leave the gate open, it doesn’t matter.

A tip from my Family Home Security Assessment is to use a combination lock on any fence door that opens up to the street. This way no one can come up and just open the door.

If you have a 6-foot privacy fence that opens to the backyard, you can use a galvanized outdoor carabiner to lock the gate. This way the carabiner acts as a lock shackle but doesn't require a key. Do this so your family can exit the back quickly in an emergency. Just make sure people can reach through or over the fence.

And my last note about fences is to think bout what you store near them. Your trash cans can be used as ladders to jump a privacy fence. So put on your criminal thinking cap and see your property the way a problem-solving bad guy would. Be careful of what you leave out because it can be used against you and I’ll talk about that more in a moment.


With home security, a lot of attention is given to landscaping your front yard, and rightfully so. But we can’t get lazy in the back. Landscaping the backyard is important, too.

Any shrubs that you have in the back need to be trimmed so that no one can hide behind them. That means you trim them from the bottom up so you can see feet under them. Also, trim them below the window line of your home. If you can do this, you’ll be able to take away a criminal’s hiding spot.

A big thing that most of us can get lazy about is cleaning up our tools and toys in the backyard. We think that since it’s in the back and no one should be looking back there, we can be relaxed about putting everything away. I get that, I do.

However, tools like hammers and ladders can be used to break into your home or be used as weapons against you. So those items need to be locked up. If you can’t store a ladder in a shed or garage, you can use a bike lock to secure it to a tree or other heavy object.

Also, your kid's toys like a baseball bat can also be used as a break-in tool or weapon, so think about what you have in plain sight in your backyard and put it up. And your patio furniture can be used to break a window, so keep that in mind.

Securing Buildings

If you have a detached garage or shed in your backyard, make sure they are locked up. You don’t want your tools being stolen and pawned or as I just mentioned, used against you. I know it’s a pain to lock and unlock the door, but it’s going to be worth it. You can curse my name when you do it, but you’re going to be glad you did it.

If you have a deck box, I’d throw a lock on that too so you can keep bad guys out of it, and also keep your kids from getting in it and getting stuck. Also, any doors that lead to a porch or back door need to be locked when not in use. A lot of people will leave the back door unlocked to let the kids and dogs come and go. Don’t get complacent, teach your kids to lock up after themselves.

Backyard Tech

When it comes to alarm systems and surveillance cameras, you need to keep your backyard in check. Make sure your back door is on the alarm system this includes sliding glass doors as well.

Add motion sensor flood lights to your yard, too. These are great so your kids can play after dark, but also alerting you to something moving around in your yard, too. Remember bad guys like the dark. They don’t want to be seen. So when your floodlights go off, check on what tripped them. It could be a raccoon or it could be a burglar.

Don’t forget your surveillance cameras in the back of your home. Put cameras out that cover all points of entry to your home. If you can, cover the gates and sheds with cameras, too. The fun thing is that your backyard offers you fun hiding spots for wireless cameras, so be creative when you place them.

Lastly, it won’t hurt to put out a generic home security sign or sticker on a window in the back. This is a tip from my Family Home Security Assessment.

Let anyone know that’s looking that you are aware and that your home is going to be a hard target, even from the backyard. Don’t think that just because people can’t see it from the street, no one will go back there. These are criminals, they specialize in going places no one should be.

And like I say with home security in general, don’t make your house look and feel like a prison. With these simple steps, you can increase the security of your home and still enjoy the peace of your backyard.


Andy Murphy

Andy Murphy founded The Secure Dad in 2016 with the aspiration to help families live safer, happier lives. What started as a personal blog about family safety has turned into an award-winning podcast, an Amazon best-selling book, and online courses. He focuses his efforts in the areas of home security, situational awareness, and online safety.


Andy is a husband and father. His interests include coaching youth basketball, hiking, and trying to figure out his 3D printer.

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