Tips on Garden Security
When you take into account the combined value of lawnmowers, bikes, children’s toys and garden tools, the items you might find in the average British garden could be worth a substantial amount of money and can be a real temptation for burglars.
What’s more, a garden can provide a nicely shielded spot for would-be burglars to break into a home without interruption. Perhaps it’s surprising that our gardens are sometimes forgotten when we think about securing our homes.
We offer a few tips that could help to make your garden and its contents, a little more secure.
A garden isn’t a proper British garden without a shed. Typically we use our sheds as a home for tools, bikes and gardening equipment. Some of these items are not just valuable but could prove useful to a burglar who wanted to break into your home. This makes sheds a frequent target for thieves.
However, there are ways you can make life as difficult as possible for would-be shed burglars:
- Position the shed so that it can be seen from your home, but not from the street.
- Secure your shed to the ground using L-brackets or put breeze blocks inside to make it difficult to lift or move.
- Fit door hinges with nuts and bolts rather than screws and superglue the nut to the bolt on the inside of the door.
- Use a pad bolt and padlock to secure the door. A closed shackle padlock is especially difficult to break with bolt-cutters or saws.
- Install an alarm with motion and door sensors.
- Use a lockable box to store valuable items within the shed.
- Lock valuable items together with a bike lock – bikes, lawnmowers and ladders are going to be a lot more difficult for thieves to walk away with, if they’re attached to one another.
- Block out windows, so thieves can’t see what’s inside. If you only use your shed for storage, either get rid of windows completely or cover them with opaque stick-on sheets, which also make the windows difficult to shatter. If you work in your shed, simply add blinds or curtains.
Ideas for greater garden fence security
When considering fence security, it’s important to differentiate between front and rear fences, as well as any other barriers.
Fences, walls and plants at the front of your home should be kept below one metre in height, to avoid providing cover for potential burglars.
At the rear of your home, the standard height for walls and fences is 1.8 metres, going up to two metres if there's public access on the other side. You can also add a trellis to the top, which will support plants but will be too flimsy for anyone to climb over. Anything taller than two metres is likely to need planning permission.
Gates should be solid, secured with bolts and padlocks, top and bottom and be at least the same height as the wall or fence.
Garden security lights
A well-lit garden can be a major deterrent to thieves. You can use energy-saving bulbs in lights that are activated by a dusk-to-dawn sensor. Alternatively, you can install motion-activated lights that will draw attention to anyone approaching your home after dark. These are best positioned close to doors and windows, or out-buildings like sheds.
Marking your valuables
You can improve the chances of any stolen garden items being returned by the police by marking them with a UV pen or other marker. Write your postcode and your house number to make identification easy. Some believe that making the marking easy to spot will deter would-be thieves, as long as it doesn’t spoil an otherwise decorative item.
You might also want to photograph items, which will help the police identify them and could also help if you make an insurance claim.
Other ways to help with garden security
Attach plant pots directly to the ground with a bolt and retaining anchor plate to stop anyone stealing them .
Use gravel for paths and around entrances, doors and ground-floor windows, as it’s noisy to walk on and can deter burglars.
Keep your garden tidy – putting away garden tools could stop thieves using them to force a lock, break windows, or, if you leave a ladder out, accessing upstairs windows.
Anchor wheelie bins and garden furniture to the ground to avoid them being climbed on as a way to access upstairs windows. You can use chains to secure wheelie bins, after positioning them away from the house.
Does Home Insurance cover gardens and out-buildings?
The rules for what is and isn’t covered change between insurance companies. Our Contents Insurance covers household goods and personal belongings, including those in your garage or domestic outbuildings, up to a maximum total worth of £150,000, which includes up to £5,000 with our Gold Home Insurance (£2,500 with our Silver Home Insurance) for theft from outbuildings. Storm and flood damage to fences, gates and hedges isn't covered.
As with all Home Insurance policies limitations and exclusions apply further product details can be found in the key documents.