10 Ways To Improve Your Fence Security

burglar attempting to climb over a metal fence with spikes on top

For many people, the backyard is an extension of your home’s living area, so it makes sense to protect it like your home. Knowing how to improve your fence security is key to protecting your pets, little ones, and valuables from miscreants.

But before you start adding locks and security systems to your fence, there are easy steps you can take to increase its resistance. Let’s look at 10 ways to bolster your fence security and keep your home safe.

1. Use Low Fencing In Front

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Higher fences aren’t necessarily more secure. In fact, lower fencing gives you greater visibility and reduces the places would-be burglars can take cover to avoid detection.

We know what you’re thinking: Isn’t it easier to climb a low fence? Sure, but the tradeoff is worth it. A low fence discourages burglars by eliminating the cover that higher fences provide. This added visibility can be supplemented by robust security floodlights or even some burglar-proof shrubs.

What About a Tall Fence?

While there are distinct advantages to a low fence in the front of your yard, height can be an advantage everywhere else. A fence that’s 6-8 feet is tough to scale quickly.

Of course, you should check with your local building department and HOA to make sure you’re following guidelines before building a fence, as they may have specific requirements for height and fence type.

2. Face the Rough Side In

a post of Vinyl Fence
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If you have a wood fence, make sure the rough side is facing in toward your property and not out toward the street or your neighbor’s property. That way, your post, and cross members won’t provide any footholds intruders can use to scale the fence.

If you’ve already built your fence with the rough side out (which, by the way, is prohibited by most building codes), don’t fret. You can simply install some lattice fence toppers to deter climbers. What’s more, these additions are generally pretty inexpensive.

Again, check with your local city or county, as well as your HOA, before making any significant changes to your fence. You’ll generally need a permit or some other approvals.

3. Climbing Aids Are a Burglar’s Best Friend

Climbing aids can make intruders’ jobs easier. Playhouses placed near your fence, garden nursery walls, and especially trees can make it easier for bad guys to get up and over fences.  Make sure you keep your backyard free from such items.

On the flip side, you can use a trellis on top of your fence as an extra height boost and deterrent. Add some thorny plants around your fence to make an intruder’s life even harder, and you’ve got a formidable defense against break-in attempts.

4. Apply Anti-Climb Paint

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Have you considered adding anti-climb paint to your fence? It’s a thick, oil-based paint that makes a fence slippery and much harder for thieves to scale. It can last up to three years before it needs to be reapplied. And installation is a breeze.

Don’t forget to include warning signs when you add anti-climb paint, as the paint can be a hazard if an unsuspecting person unwittingly comes into contact with it.

5. Fence Inspection Is Key

Bent pickets in a fence
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Your fence should be in good condition if you want to keep burglars out. Old wooden fences rot over time, meaning they can become weak and easy to scale.

Have a look around your yard, both inside and outside the fence, and check it for any damage or gaps that might compromise it. If you don’t have the time or knowledge to inspect it properly, consider calling a fencing specialist to take a look.

6. Add Spikes

Spearhead Iron Fence of a lawn of a house
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Adding small anti-climb security features to your fence is actually pretty simple. Spikes and razor wire are great deterrents because prowlers have a difficult time gripping the fence and scaling it. It’s a simple measure, but it can certainly put off the more determined thief.

Make sure that you install anti-climbing spikes or wire high enough so they are out of reach of children and pets, and avoid barbed wire. It’s not only dangerous but also illegal in some cities and states.

7. Invest In Security Signs and Motion Lights

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Fancy a low-cost deterrent that works? A security sign may be exactly what you’re looking for. Even if your home doesn’t have an actual security system, placing signs around the entry points of your house gives the impression that it does.

In addition, motion-activated lights are great for detecting burglars trying to cross your fence. If a burglar sees your lights switch on, he’ll think twice about entering your backyard.

8. Use Vertical Panels For Maximum Strength

A beautiful wooden fence
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Use vertical fence panels when possible. Vertical panels allow your fence to span greater distances, making it hard for intruders to climb up and over. They aren’t only visually appealing, but they offer greater strength and are difficult to climb.

Just remember to place regular security lighting around them, so you can easily spot any suspicious activity in your backyard.

If vertical panels aren’t your style, you can also use chain link fencing. This kind of fence is highly versatile, secure, and durable and will stand up to extreme weather conditions.

9. Consider Spinning Fence Toppers

A fence topper is simply an extension of your fence. It adds height and acts as an additional physical barrier. You can find spinning models that make it almost impossible for anyone, pets included, to climb over the fence.

They’re also easy to install and are low maintenance, perfect for those straining to find the optimal balance between a secure garden and an aesthetically pleasing one.

10. Border With Thorny Plants

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Thorny plants and shrubs like roses, bougainvillea, or red sandalwood can be an effective barrier against burglars, as well as small animals.

When planting them around your fence, keep in mind that they’re not very child-friendly. If you have kids or pets playing in the backyard, opt for prickly plants that reach no lower than your waist.

On the plus side, these plants require little maintenance, so you won’t have to worry about them too much.

FAQ About Ways To Make Your Fence More Secure

Can I use a wood fence for security?

Yes, wood fences can provide adequate security if you choose a solid fence like a privacy fence, ensure that the wood is sturdy and thick enough, and regularly maintain it. You may also need to check with your local authority to make sure the height of the fence meets their guidelines.

How can I make my fence stronger?

You can reinforce your privacy fence’s rails and posts to make it sturdier and harder to topple over or hack into. You can also install a rot board, kickboard, or horizontal board along the bottom of the fence panel to make it harder for anyone to crawl underneath.

Should you lock your fence?

It’s always a good idea to lock your fence for added security, especially if you’re living in an area susceptible to crime. However, don’t forget that locks alone are not enough to deter burglars; robust security lighting and anti-climb paint can be great deterrents too.

How do I reinforce the bottom of my fence?

Homeowners usually think of reinforcing the fence posts and rails when considering fence security. But one easy way to make your fence stronger is to place a horizontal board (2 x 6 or 2 x 8 inches) along the bottom of the fence panel. This is also known as a rot board or kickboard and can provide additional strength to the bottom of your fence.

What is the best material to use for a fence?

The best fencing materials for security fences are iron and brick, as both are incredibly solid and hard to breach. You can also opt for vinyl or wood fencing options reinforced with horizontal boards or a rot board, which can offer very good protection.

Fence Security = Peace of Mind

Security measures don’t have to be expensive, and a few simple adjustments can make an incredible difference in your fence’s protection. Taking the right precautions when it comes to your fence’s strength and stability can give you enough peace of mind for a good night’s rest.

Don’t know where to start? We can help you connect with local fencing professionals that can evaluate your fence security and help you find the perfect solution for your needs. Just sit back, relax, and let the pros take care of it.

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Adrian Nita

When he first helped his grandfather build a picket fence, his fascination with fences was born. Adrian is a former marine navigation officer turned writer who enjoys nothing more than discussing the craftsmanship and beauty of fencing systems. He turned his passion for fences into a profession where he shares advice and tips on fence materials, designs, and maintenance.