Busy Millennials choosing 'Multiple-Duty' Gardens
Millennial home buyers are increasingly shopping for multiple-duty gardens.
That’s according to Shaun Rademeyer, CEO of MultiNET Home Loans, who says today’s buyers want gardens that are not only visually appealing and low maintenance but also offer good perimeter security. And if the garden is water-wise, so much the better.
“The large open lawns and high-maintenance flower beds of yesteryear are making way for much smaller, more secure gardens with multiple features,” he says, adding that perimeter security has now become a key selling point for buyers.
The layered security angle
The country’s recently released crime statistics, in which 507 975 property-related crimes were recorded during 2017/2018, are likely to further stimulate demand for secure gardens, believes Rademeyer. “Buyers understand that a protected garden is the first layer of a good security system, so their focus has shifted from purely aesthetics to one that combines the elements of prevention, detection and response along with practical good looks.”
The ideal system for a growing number of buyers, he says, is a three layered one that makes unwanted access as difficult as possible while not being overly intrusive. Typically, a three tiered system comprises the outer perimeter or boundary, the inner perimeter or garden and backyard, and the interior of the home. Electric fences which are connected to reputable armed response companies are widely considered to be the optimum first layer, says Rademeyer, and the more so if they come with add-ons such as closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras, anti-lift loops, and exterior and motion-sensing lights. “It’s also important to have a solid gate which cannot be lifted off its tracks or forced open, and an intercom with a decent camera for easy, safe identification of visitors,” he adds.
The second layer of security lies in the area between the perimeter and the house, where suggested deterrents include free roaming dogs and outdoor beams. What’s also worth considering are the principals of Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED), which, he says, advocate the use of clear lines of sight between the house and the road. “By trimming shrubs and trees regularly, you get rid of potential hiding places for intruders, which is one of the fundamental principles of CPTED landscaping and design.”
Included in the third layer of protection are robust burglar proofing on all windows, high quality locks on all access doors, and reinforced door frames, he continues. “Having various forms of security is the best way of deterring opportunistic criminals, or failing that, catching them before they can do any harm.”
Other elements of a good security system, according to the South African Police Services (SAPS) website are panic buttons, sirens and alarms on roof tops which are particularly useful in rural areas provided they are powerful enough to be heard over long distances, outside lighting which is directed away from the house so that occupants can see out of the windows without being observed from the outside, and having at least one dog inside the house at night. The police also urge home owners to lock away tools such as axes, spades, picks and hammers which could be used as weapons against them.
The way gardens ‘live’ is also becoming increasingly important to current buyers, says Rademeyer. “Millennials want enough space for children and dogs to play. They want an entertainment area where they can braai and eat el fresco, enjoy sundowners and early morning coffee, and they want an attractive outlook. What they don’t want are large, labour-intensive gardens that require lots of water and upkeep. Following on South Africa’s widespread drought conditions, water-wise has become a big selling point for buyers who are looking at indigenous gardens with new eyes.”
Rain water harvesting is also gaining in popularity, according to Rademeyer. “People are buying into the concept of making every drop count, especially those in drought-ravaged areas, so rain water tanks are popping up in gardens all over the country.”
Solar lighting is another selling point for modern-day buyers, who are both budget-savvy and environmentally concerned, he says further. “Reducing electricity costs, which are on an upward trajectory, is becoming increasingly important for today’s home owners, who are also having to factor regular petrol price increases and the rising cost of living into their budgets.”
Gravel pathways and courtyards have also become design staples in modern gardens, not only because they are attractive, water-wise features but also because they deter intruders owing to how noisy they are underfoot, he notes further.
Concludes Rademeyer: “It is possible to have a secure home without feeling as if you’re living in a prison. And today’s technology isn’t just about security. You can use it to enhance your life as well, whether by switching your lights on or off remotely, checking on the babysitter while you’re at work, or arming or disarming your security system from afar. What’s important is to install the best system you can afford, be vigilant about your home security, and then enjoy all the perks of the modern-day lifestyle.”