• Brazil;
  • gardens;
  • gated communities;
  • security;
  • service workers

ABSTRACT. This study examines the role of service workers in creating a secure landscape in a zone of gated communities near Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Most research on gated communities emphasizes their segregation and formal security apparatuses. In fact, gated communities interact with surrounding rural settlements because they draw their service employees from them. Security emerges from informal relationships of trust that property owners establish with service workers. Gardeners, especially, enable homeowners to project their property investment to others through landscaping. Equally of importance, a manicured garden conveys the message that a home is receiving daily attention—and is secure—even if the owner is not present. The study probes this interdependence from the point of view of gardeners in the context of one gated community in an area south of Belo Horizonte and the attempts by members of its homeowners association to minimize the sense of fear they associate with the Brazilian city.