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Author Topic: Defensive Landscaping & Terrain Features  (Read 28143 times)

PaineOfThought

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Defensive Landscaping & Terrain Features
« on: February 14, 2006, 01:58:19 am »

I've been thinking recently of terrain features and landscaping changes that could be used to impede movement of both vehicles and people near my home.  This was briefly touched upon on Survival Blog recently but an email excerpt brought on more questions for me.  Specifically, the blurb mentioned how features like dense hedges, trenches and roadblocks not only act as impediments to movement but also offer cover and protection to those outside (i.e. those trying to get to you).

So, anyone have any suggestions on defensive features or landscaping techniques which block movement to your home but also provide very little protection to the intruders?  What about spacing?  Put a trench 50 yards out?  100?  150?

In my mind it seems the greatestbarrier would be a moat, but logistically and financially I am never going to be able to dig a moat and besides the volume of water needed to keep the moat filled is not available at my site.

Any thoughts or insight?  Oh, and I would like the features to seem as normal as possible and not make the property look like a fortified retreat so no big metal tank stoppers that look like big X's.
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NuclearDruid

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Re: Defensive Landscaping & Terrain Features
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2006, 09:44:52 am »

First thing that comes to mind is a hedgerow of locust, hawthorn, buckthorn for the really big thorns. Maybe follwed by an inner row of cane-type blackberries & raspberries (obviously not the thornless cultivars.) ^_^ Let's not forget the beehives. Effective for 2/3 of the year. Nothing provokes a flight-repsonse (and therefore continued pursuit) in humans quite like the sounds of a few hundred thousand pissed bees. This assume that you're not allergic!

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Pagan

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Re: Defensive Landscaping & Terrain Features
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2006, 10:39:30 am »

An electric fence around the property, with a ditch immediately adjacent to it on the outside. The electricity could be turned on and off at the gate/s (one or two) by remote control -- much as a car is locked/unlocked by remote key.
Of course you'd need your own energy source inside the compound to make sure noone could deactivate your fence from the outside by turning off the electricity.

I see no reason a property shouldn't look like it's protected or fortified, if the landscaping looks normally liveable to the general public. E.g. a swath of trees (say clump bamboo which grows high and fast), or any high hedgerow or shrubbery in front of the ditch on the outside can hide the electric fence till one gets to the gate or tries to jump the ditch itself around the perimeter. Any friend, family or good guy will come in by the gate, a bad guy will see the warning signs and/or simply get fried if he tries to penetrate from elsewhere around the property.
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velojym

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Re: Defensive Landscaping & Terrain Features
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2006, 02:41:33 pm »

Seems like a conveniently placed bit of cover could contain some other nasty surprises, in addition to the bees.
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Doug_Carlton

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Re: Defensive Landscaping & Terrain Features
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2006, 08:11:17 am »

When an area can be used as a postion of cover (i.e. stop bullets) because you can't bring fire on it, such as using a trench, or opposite side of a log, wall, etc.  It's called "deadspace".  When you set up your defense, and this goes for a short halt on the move, or a stationary postion, you always do several things, and one of them is identify deadspace, and figure out how to deal with it. 

Normally you don't want deadspace within a certain distance of your postions.  Like hand grenade distance was the logical one to use in the Army.  You can cover deadspace with greande launchers, or mortars, etc, but since most of us lack that type of equippment you can do some other things.  Things like an improvised flame weapon (called a Fougass) can be used, along with simple barriers like foot stakes, barbed wire, etc.  The Soviets would use persistant never agent in deadspace around their compounds in Afghanistan.  I don't think I'd wanna deal with that stuff post-TEOTWAWKI, but it's been done.  having positions higher than the deadspace gives you options.  A drain pipe running down to the deadspace can be used to run gasoline into the deadspace and then set alight.  There's no end of ideas, you just have to come up with ones that are best for you and your situation.  Things as simple as filling in depressions will solve alot of it.  The key is since you're the one planning the defense, you simply plan for dealing with the deadspace as well.  It shouldn't be a problem in the first place, because you should already have it plotted and planned for if it's your own location.

A moat has some cool points to it, but any standing water like that is going to attract bugs that can be more dangerous than an enemy.  Frankly a moat is crossed just as easily as a dry trench, with the same techniques. 

A chainlink fence is pretty simple and provides no cover to an enemy.  They're easy enough to defeat, but if used to reinforce obstacles they can come in handy.  If you place an anti-vehicle barrier far enough in front of it, like a ditch, posts, or those steel "X"s you mentioned, etc. that you can still shoot through it to cover the anti-vehicle barriers, but anyone in the ditch, or using a stuck vehicle for cover can't get to the fence to breech it.  It ends up being a completely different obstacle that needs reduction in it's own right.  A normal version of this is a drainage ditch (well dug), with the chainlink fence several meters behind it.  So that the only way you can get to the fence to breech it is to come out of the ditch and into the open.

Thick hedges with thorns is one of the best things to use for a perimeter.  Usually you can shoot through them, but it's almost impossible to get through them without alot of diffculty.  Plant them to channel people far out into the areas that you want them to go.  They're natural looking, so people won't be as worried as if a Jersey wall was funnelling them into one spot.  Have aiming stakes set-up in your positions to put fire on those particular areas at night when you can't see anything. 

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sin419

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Re: Defensive Landscaping & Terrain Features
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2006, 08:46:29 pm »

Of all the natural barriers in my area I would hate to wade through is guajilla bushes (wa-hee a).  They will grow fairly tall, it has thin leaves and thorns like freakin nails.
I have run into this stuff hog hunting and you will get bogged down .  It grabs everything and hurts like hell.  An added bonus for bee keepers is it makes an outstanding honey. and those little boxes would be fairly innocuous. another spot for defensive tools 

 Another good defense would be arming your pipe entrance and cattle guard with nasty stuff.  Hell even your fenceline. 

                                                                                                                                                                   sin
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Bear

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Re: Defensive Landscaping & Terrain Features
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2006, 11:21:25 pm »

PaineofThought,

You forgot to mention the climate. Wet? Dry? Warm? Cold?

I'll try and make some general suggestions. Some of this has already been suggested.

1. Since it's your property, landscape it to remove deadspaces.

2. Use thorny plants suitable to your area to make a natural barier.

3. If it wouldn't look too out of place, make a trellis for your thorny plants out of 3 inch pipe filled
with concrete, just close enough together to stop a vehicle from coming through your hedge,
but far enough apart to not look like a defensive wall. String cable between the poles to support
the vines/hedge.

4. DO NOT plant your hedge rows in a wall, like they did in Normandy. The bottom of the wall
would provide cover.

5. If you need a dead space, say for parking, consider designing it so that it could be modified
later to include Party Favors.  :ph34r:


Bear

About  moats --- put fish in them to eat the insects, then you can eat the fish. If anyone  comments
on your  moat, point out that it's for fire safety. Aren't the firefighters always talking about defensible space?

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Ian

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Re: Defensive Landscaping & Terrain Features
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2006, 09:00:29 am »

In addition to providing a safe area in case of fire, a moat would presumably also provide a convenient source of water for firefighting. I know one guy who lives out in the boonies who got a fairly significant chunbk knocked off his home insurance bill when he put in a fish pond that could be used by firefighters to douse his home.
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Rawles

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Re: Defensive Landscaping & Terrain Features
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2006, 04:32:47 pm »

RE:
>... An added bonus for bee keepers is it makes an outstanding honey. and those little boxes would be fairly innocuous. another spot for defensive tools.

Don't forget that the bee boxes themselves can be a defensive tool.  Position them just above any dead space that you cannot cover with rifle fire. By installing an eye bolt at the top of each box, and running a length of rope or commo wire back to your house, you can rig the boxes to topple, at will.  "Cry havoc and let loose the bees of war!"
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merlin419

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Re: Defensive Landscaping & Terrain Features
« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2006, 03:53:43 pm »

Read up some on Medieval fortifications, afterall they had only archers for defense like rifles. They had a trench type they would dig that had an open gentle rise towards the castle with an abrupt drop at it back. The attackers would have to drop into the trench with the wall like drop that shilouette them with the slope between them and the defenders. Left them no place to hide except behind the dead.
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AnotherArmchair

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Re: Defensive Landscaping & Terrain Features
« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2006, 01:08:33 pm »

That open, gentle rise is called a glacis, and it's basically a prepared killing ground.

Things never quite go out of style, do they? I was just thinking today that the ol' firearms collection ought to have at least one sturdy flintlock, along with a fair supply of extra flints, powder, and lead.

The MZB scenario can easily become a (short-duration) siege. Of course, if you don't control all the property out to the effective range of a grenade launcher, all you can do is what you can do.
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securitysix

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Re: Defensive Landscaping & Terrain Features
« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2006, 11:51:35 am »

Things never quite go out of style, do they? I was just thinking today that the ol' firearms collection ought to have at least one sturdy flintlock, along with a fair supply of extra flints, powder, and lead.

I'd probably go for a percussion gun with more than plenty of caps, myself, but I get why you prefer a flintlock.  Problem is, I know of no left-handed flintlocks and I have to shoot long guns left-handed to hit anything.

Quote
The MZB scenario can easily become a (short-duration) siege. Of course, if you don't control all the property out to the effective range of a grenade launcher, all you can do is what you can do.

Which would, of course, beg the question "What is the effective range of a grenade launcher?"

Back on topic, here's my take:  If you get enough rainfall to justify a drainage ditch, set one up around the peremiter of your property with a fence ten or fifteen feet from it.  The ditch should be deep and steep sided.  A 2.5 foot deep ditch will stop a car if the walls are steep enough.  If you're worried about stopping tanks, A) you have bigger problems and 2) just make the ditch deeper and/or wider.  I know some people like the idea of making the wall near your position less steep to provide less cover value, but if you're trying to make it not look like a fortified position, you want your ditch to look like a drainage ditch, and those have steep sides...or at least all of them I've ever seen.

There is one flaw with the deep, steep walled ditch.  You have to cross it to leave the property.  This leaves at least one weak point.  You'll have to have a bridge or culvert.   If you can set this up to be burned or blown, shiny.  If not, offset it from your gate so someone can't get a good run up in a vehicle straight at your gate.

Research different fence types.  Chain link would work well since it provides no cover.  Also, the fence posts used in chain link fencing are hollow and usually made of galvanized steel.  You can pour concrete into the fence posts and set them close enough together to keep a car from driving through.  A Honda Accord is only about 6 feet wide, the Audi TT is 5.7 feet wide.  So, I'm thinking 5 feet of space between your fence posts ought to do.  It might be tempting to plant your hedgerow on this fence, but I don't think I would, since it would allow the fence to provide concealment.  It still wouldn't do any good as cover.

Another option would be ornamental fencing.  Chain link is easy enough to bypass with a set of wire cutters.  Ornamental fencing takes a little more than a set of wire cutters, especially if you can get it made out of iron or steel.  I don't know how well it would stand up to a car trying to drive through it, but it would be a bit harder for people to bypass.

If your house is far enough from the perimeter of your property, put a chain link fence around it, complete with concrete filled posts.  Put your hedgerow here.  If your hedgerow completely overgrows your fence, they'll get to have the fun of trying to crawl through the hedges, only to find themselves running into the fence.  Anyone deciding to ram a car through has to worry about where the fence posts are, and if you put them close enough together, it won't matter.
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AnotherArmchair

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Re: Defensive Landscaping & Terrain Features
« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2006, 01:14:50 pm »

I'd probably go for a percussion gun with more than plenty of caps, myself, but I get why you prefer a flintlock.  Problem is, I know of no left-handed flintlocks and I have to shoot long guns left-handed to hit anything.

For once I get to provide some useful information. ^_^

http://www.tjgeneralstore.com/traditio.htm

Scroll down 'til you hit the Traditions Deerhunter (the Hawken Woodsman also is supposed to be available in LH, scroll down some more). Both are under $300, and the Traditions shows at $206.

In the spendier line, I found:

http://www.tjgeneralstore.com/lyman.htm

Scroll to the Great Plains Rifle--also, the Great Plains Deerhunter is available in LH flintlock at less than $300.

Ironically, I'm in the same boat as you, securitysix. I had the distinct pleasure the other week of renting a Winchester 94AE in .45LC from the range where I have a membership. Top eject means I could shoot a rifle the way God meant me to for the first time in ages, and it was just about a gorram religious experience. Even though it's not top-eject, I'm thinking real hard about a BLR in .308.

Edit to add: Just to get back on topic, I'm not sure what the effective range of a thumper is, but it has to be more than my 60' by 130' lot.  :laugh:
« Last Edit: April 04, 2006, 01:18:52 pm by AnotherArmchair »
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securitysix

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Re: Defensive Landscaping & Terrain Features
« Reply #13 on: April 04, 2006, 05:42:02 pm »

Oooh!  Neat!  Bookmarked!  Thanks, AnotherArmchair.
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eeyore

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Re: Defensive Landscaping & Terrain Features
« Reply #14 on: April 29, 2006, 02:14:56 pm »

If you fabricated raised beds for flowers or gardens made them two feet wide but about a foot tall, this would stop most vehicles.  Most vehicles even trucks have 8 or 9 inches of ground clearance.  They would go up on it and when the front wheels went over it they would not reach the ground  again and strand the vehicle.  Yes it could be used for cover but it would get mighty uncomfortable and would still leave most adults exposed.

In my way of thinking you would want to at least leave 50 yards or more if possible around the house (shelter) with out any cover or concealment.  The hedges i would stick to the thorned blackberry or roses something that is eatable at least.
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