A GUIDE TO SECURING YOUR GARDEN

25th July 2019

Once upon a time, the worst that would happen to your garden would be that someone may dig up a few of your prized flowers or vegetables, but times have changed and we are keeping more and more expensive garden furniture and accessories in our gardens making them very appealing to burglars.

June to August is thought to be peak season for thefts’, this is not only inconvenient but can also be upsetting if something of sentimental value is taken. To-day’s green-fingered thieves go equipped with devices more sophisticated than a small trowel and have been known to remove hanging baskets by the lorryload, secure yours with a locking bracket.

Plus if a sculpture or stone statue is too heavy to move by hand they won’t hesitate to bring heavy lifting equipment. They might wait until you are away and tell any enquiring neighbours that you are having some work done in your garden !! As summer approaches many of us will be looking forward to spending time in the garden, but with long days and light evenings, crime is on an upward slope.

It is much easier now that it is light to see through a window of a shed, or maybe after a day’s gardening forget to put your tools away. Garden furniture and children’s toys can be easy pickings for thieves. It is important to maximise your garden security with gates, locks and lights. It is equally as important to install strong fences and gates surrounding your patch.

Adding Garden Security Cameras

For added security add garden security cameras to secure your garden shed and/or outbuilding.

Police believe that garden security camera systems help deter burglary attempts. Burglars will often bypass your garden/yard if it is protected by outdoor security cameras.

After you have installed the security cameras put up an obvious sign in both front and rear gardens to show that your garden is protected by security cameras.

If you do not have a power supply available you can install a battery-powered security camera so that you can still protect your garden, sheds and outside storage, even without a power source. Also, consider extending your house alarm to cover outbuildings

Home Security Lights

Another easy way to secure your garden sheds and outbuildings is to install lighting.

LED lights that are motion-activated, as a sudden bright light is a superb deterrent for burglars and will startle any potential burglar causing them to leave your property hastily.

Lights situated near doors and windows which are triggered by movement can also create an element of surprise.

Garden Fencing

Secure garden boundaries and access as these are the first line to protect your garden and home from invasion. It is essential you take some measures to secure your boundaries especially the rear as that is often overlooked. Any measures taken must be legal, avoid using barbed wire or broken glass.

Secure your garden fencing as garden fencing that is difficult to climb is an effective way to secure your garden/outbuildings. It should be of solid construction, make sure they are high enough to prevent burglars from climbing, a picket fence with sharp points is a good option. If you have pets you will wish to secure your garden to prevent them from escaping - or from being stolen.

Another good deterrent is the humble garden hedge, and also planting low growing and thorny shrubs at the base of fences is very effective. Thorny shrubs are also useful to protect windows from break-ins. Ideally, any gates, fences or hedges at the front of your house should not be more than 1.2m (4ft) so that the front of your property can be seen by passers-by.

A standard 1.8m (6ft) wall, fence or hedge at the rear of your property is usually enough, however if there is public access at the rear it is wise to increase the height to 2m (6ft 6in). Normally anything higher requires planning permission. Many people increase the height of fences with trellis fixed to the top as this is difficult to climb over and will probably break. Planting prickly plants or hedges can also act as a good deterrent.

Keep Your Gates Locked

If there is an access point at the side of the house you should have a strong lockable gate, a useful tip is to secure the gate with two locks, one to the top and one to the bottom.

Garden gates should be at least the same height as your fence, with strong hinges attached to the gateposts. Keep garden gates locked with a heavy-duty padlock, and replace screws and fastenings which have become rusted.

Both front and rear garden gates play an important role in securing your garden from burglars, and keeping them locked is the most direct way to secure your garden. Don’t assume it is fine to leave your garden gate open while you just pop out for a short while - one lapse like that is all it takes to open your home up to invasion.

Gravel Drives and Paths

Secure your garden driveways and pathways and one of the best ways of doing this is to pave your drive and pathway with gravel as anyone that walks on them will make a sound which makes it impossible to approach your property quietly.

If your car is parked in your driveway it is a great temptation for thieves as 92% of vehicle thefts occur from driveways, or cars parked in the street.

If someone is moving around your car and making a noise, they are more likely to move on.

You could consider a driveway security camera to enable you to check what’s going on around your garden and driveway.

Safely Store Expensive Items

Don’t tempt thieves by leaving your possessions lying about. Garden tools, children’s toys, paddling pools, bikes and lawnmowers should be stored away at the end of the day.

Sheds and outbuildings can be useful for storing these but make sure your shed is secure, perhaps fit a strong hasp and staple lock to the door, together with a padlock. You should also check your shed for disrepair as it has no protective measures if it is rotten, you should maintain it and keep it in perfect condition so that it is difficult to break into. Screen the windows in your shed or outbuildings so that thieves cannot see what is stored inside and it is a good idea to chain all tools together with a bicycle padlock.

Bulky items such as a gas BBQ, garden heater and garden furniture should be covered up. Never leave a ladder in your garden, as this could be used by a thief to climb into an upstairs window. Position garden furniture and wheelie bins away from the house so they cannot be used for climbing on to access upstairs windows.

Make Items Hard To Move

A simple idea to protect your large pots and deter thieves from making off with them is to place bricks in the bottom of them to make them heavy to carry.

Use chains and locks for heavier items such as hot tubs. Tag items such as patio furniture BBQ’s, chimineas, outdoor heaters and garden machinery with your postcode using invisible ink.

Bicycles are a popular item for thieves as they are light, valuable and easy to sell, and many of us leave them in the garden unattended. Find a quality security device and anchor your bicycle to an immovable object as this will deter criminals.

Check Your Home Insurance Cover

Never assume you are protected as some policies won’t payout if you leave expensive items out on display and some may only payout so long as items are locked away in a shed or garage. And a third of policies don’t cover plants.

You might be surprised at how much your garden items are worth, then check your contents insurance to see what is and what is not covered, as policies vary greatly.

If the contents of your garden are particularly valuable it may be worth topping up your insurance or consider a specialist garden insurance policy offering high cover levels.

It is also a good idea to keep photographs of your garden valuables in case anything is stolen or vandalised as this will help when dealing with the police and your insurers.

Mark Valuable Items

Police advise homeowners to mark valuable items such as furniture, ornaments and bicycles with your postcode followed by your house number. This could be painted or etched onto items and it is best if a burglar can easily spot this marking as it will make the item less tempting to steal, but if it is stolen there is a better chance of your being reunited with it.

Make your lawnmower distinctive by painting it with motifs. In addition, take photographs of your valuable items.

And Finally...

Develop a good relationship with your neighbours as you can both benefit by helping to look out for each others garden security.

The most natural protection for your home and garden is a dog - if a potential burglar hears the fierce barking of a dog and if you are lucky enough to own one you will probably find the burglar will run away to avoid being caught.

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