Security of gardens, outbuildings and garden sheds

Don’t leave it until it is too late, secure your outbuildings and sheds now

Security of gardens, outbuildings and garden sheds

Theft from gardens of properties seems to be an ongoing problem and one which is rarely dealt with by the homeowner until ‘after the horse has bolted’. If you are a landlord or homeowner it pays to take basic and inexpensive steps to make life a little more difficult for the thieves. Most theft from residential gardens is carried out by the opportunist thief, caused by a gate left open, an exposed unfenced property, and obvious items of value in the garden etc.

Security lighting

One of the most effective security measures is security lighting. Floodlights can be purchased inexpensively and coupled with passive infrared detection devices (PIR’s) which turn on the lights when sensing movement, can be a very effective deterrent. Intruders do not like being ‘lit up’ particularly if the garden is overlooked by the home, or by neighbours. An investment in a couple of these lights will always be worthwhile. Make sure you locate them in the most suitable position and that a qualified electrician fits them for you. Running costs of garden floodlights has been highlighted as being an issue as many of the bulbs were 500 watts. These types of lights are still available in many DIY superstores but look out for the LED floodlights. The running costs for these LED floodlights is a fraction of the cost of the older style lights and although more expensive to purchase, they will pay you back in lower consumption of your electricity.

Protecting your shed

Domestic garden sheds by their very nature are vulnerable as most are made of timber. More expensive sheds use stronger, thicker timber so you would imagine would pose less of a risk. The problem is that most domestic sheds rarely have decent locks, the metal hardware is of poor quality and is screwed into the timber using conventional screws. It is relatively simple to improve security of sheds. Firstly you can buy good quality metal hardware for the doors and fit them using non-return screws. Use of the non-return screws means that an intruder cannot simply unscrew the lock and metal fittings with a screwdriver. You could also bolt these devices through to the inside as long as the exterior bolt head is rounded.

If you have high value items in your shed such as cycles and expensive garden machinery then it is advisable to put up an old sheet, curtain or net curtain to anybody peering into the window will not be able to see what is inside. Alarms are available for sheds but battery life is a problem with these, particularly in cold weather and if you are relying on the alarm to wake you up, then you need to be disciplined with checking the operation of the battery. If a shed is of good, sturdy construction and there are high value items contained inside then mesh or frills at the windows can be effective. Their very presence however will indicate there is something inside worth having!

Ladders and tools

If you have ladders in the garden, typically alongside the house, garage or wall, then make sure they are locked up securely. It is common for unsecured ladders to be used to gain entry to dwellings, using upstairs windows which are often left open for ventilation. Equally, tools in an unsecure garage can be used to gain access to your home. If an intruder finds a sledge hammer in the garage or shed then it will make short work of your back door or patio doors. So keep your domestic outbuildings securely locked to reduce the risk of this happening.

Defensive planting

Planting shrubs near to vulnerable areas such as a ground floor window that is not overlooked it a very effective measure to take to reduce the chance of a break in from the rear garden. Plants such as hawthorn, pyracantha, gorse etc, which have vicious thorns can offer a great physical defence to property. Most species grow pretty quickly which make them ideal for use in the garden. The birds will thank you as they love the berries!

Fences and gates

If your property is fenced then it makes sense to ensure it remains in good condition and any repairs are carried out quickly. If your fencing is less than 6ft tall, you may wish to increase the height of it. It is relatively straight forward to increase the height of fencing by using post extensions and trellis. Though not strong enough to deter an intruder, it makes your property less vulnerable as the potential intruder cannot see what is over the top. If they cannot see then they are likely to move on.

As you can see there are many different ways in which you can improve the security of your garden. Depending on your own situation there will be some ideas which are more suitable than others and using a combination of these will reduce your chance of becoming a victim of theft or malicious damage. Anything you can do to reduce the risk will be worthwhile, so make it as difficult as possible for the potential thief.

Household Insurance & Landlords Property Owners Insurance

If you have had problems with insurance companies declining to offer you cover for theft / malicious damage or imposing terms and restrictions on your policy due to poor experience then please give us a call. If you can demonstrate to a potential insurer that you have improved the security of your home then they are more likely to offer you a quotation for household insurance or landlords insurance.

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