Many of us love spending time in our gardens, whether it be catching up with friends or putting finishing touches to an outdoor project. So, it's important to get the right cover to protect your outdoor belongings against theft, loss or damage.
This guide will give you some top tips about how to improve the security of your home and garden.
Ways to protect your garden
Over the summer months, thefts in the home and garden tend to increase. By making our gardens and the spaces around our homes safer we can help prevent theft to our properties.
Andrew Moore, our Home Claims Director at MORE THAN, said: “Items of unsecured garden furniture can be easy pickings for opportunistic thieves. As more people are staying at home and enjoying their gardens, there could be an increased risk of theft."
“As the summer months approach, it’s good practice to store garden furniture in your garage, outbuildings or home when you aren’t using it.”
"If you are using garages or outbuildings for storage, remember to lock them. Alternatively, you could use cable locks or ground anchors to secure your garden furniture to something sturdy."
8 key areas for good garden security
We’ve broken up our guide into 8 simple sections when reviewing your garden security.
1. Sheds and outbuildings
Most of us keep our garden items in a shed or secure storage space. It’s important you lock away garden furniture and tools when not in use to prevent theft.
Here are some areas you need to consider for your outbuildings:
Use a secure lock or padlock. A lock can act as a deterrent and slows down thieves when trying to access your property.
Make sure they’re securely shut. Obscure the view to ensure no-one sees your belongings inside.
If you store expensive items in your garage, shed, or outbuildings you may want to install an alarm to alert you of an intruder.
If you choose Standard or Extra cover, our contents insurance can cover you for theft from outbuildings. You'll get up to £5,000 cover with our Standard cover. This goes up to £10,000 if you choose Extra. Sports equipment, like bicycles, is also included. It's not included with Essentials.
2. Lighting and CCTV
Having good lighting around your home and garden can help give you extra peace of mind. Lighting often discourages thieves and alerts you when someone is out in your garden.
Though expensive, CCTV or motion-detecting lights also act as a deterrent. There are options to link the system up to your mobile phone, so you get alerts while out and about.
Andrew Moore adds that “Motion sensor flood lights can also be a good way of deterring burglars".
3. Gates and fences
Make sure your gates and fences are secure and try to repair any damage, from holes to rusty screws.
You may think having high fences and lots of greenery to screen your home will help, but this isn’t always the case. Having a low boundary at the front of your property, like a low fence, small plants or shrubs (less than 1 metre), can make it trickier for burglars to hide.
Make sure there’s nothing to climb on to aid getting into your garden. If you wish, you can put padlocks on gates to restrict access around your property. This might be a good option if you’re away from your home.
If you have a pet, you should check there are no holes in your garden that they can escape through.
4. Drives and pathways
The type of material you use for your drive also has an impact. For example, the sound of footsteps can be clearer on gravel and might even slow a getaway if the burglar is using a wheelbarrow.
Consider how you park your car. Don’t keep your drive clear or leave large spaces because it can help thieves make a quicker escape.
5. Remove climbable items
These are items that can help burglars gain access to your home, like ladders or bins. These should be hidden out of sight or stored away securely.
6. Garden equipment
Leaving your belongings out in the open can be an open invitation for thieves. Children’s toys, BBQs and lawnmowers are all potential targets.
Once you’ve finished using them, put them away in a safe spot.
Try marking your equipment using invisible ink. This will aid recovery if they’re stolen and found, so make sure to write your postcode.
Another trick is to take photographs of your valuable possessions, such as garden furniture and bikes, to help the police recover them and when making a claim on your insurance.
To prevent your plant pots from being stolen, you can place bricks inside to weigh them down. You can also buy tree anchors for larger shrubs and trees to secure them in the ground.
You must check your contents insurance cover because it doesn’t always include garden items and plants as standard. Learn more about our contents cover and what’s included.
7. Prickly plants
The Metropolitan Police recommend planting prickly plants around your home to help deter potential intruders. Talk to your local garden centre for advice or read this prickly guide about what plants are best to deter thieves.
Here are a few good options:
- Blackberry, gooseberry (any soft fruits with thorns)
- Ilex or holly
- Climbing roses
- Ligustrum (privet), or laurel
- Smilax and Zanthoxylum
Pampas, yucca, and gooseberry bushes can all help keep burglars at bay. Prune trees to remove any potential hiding spots and check there are no spaces between bushes for anyone to slip through or hide.
Bikes are a popular item for thieves as they’re light, valuable, easy to sell and many of us leave them lying around in our gardens. Buy a quality security device such as a lock and chain or anchor to help deter criminals.
Our contents insurance covers bikes that are stolen from your home.
If you'd like to cover your bikes when you take them out, you'll need personal possessions cover.
With this additional cover, your bikes will be covered anywhere in the UK and for up to 90 days abroad.
Get adequate cover
Make sure your home insurance is up to date. As Andrew Moore suggests, “If you’re worried about your garden furniture being stolen, it’s also worth reviewing your contents insurance to make sure you’re covered."
"Many insurers only include limited cover for items kept in the garden, but you may be able to purchase upgraded cover for added peace of mind. If in doubt, speak to your insurer and they will be able to help.”
Also, if you have made any home garden improvements, like a summer house, make sure these are covered too. This includes all your garden items in sheds or outbuildings and belongings left out in your garden.