Now we are out in our gardens more: catching up with friends or working on that outdoor project. It's important to make sure you have the right cover for your home and garden. Taking care of your belongings outside 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, we see an increase in thefts in the home and garden. 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. Motion sensor flood lights can also be a good way of deterring burglars".
“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.”
We have broken up our guide into 9 simple sections when reviewing your garden security.
1. Sheds and outbuildings
Most of us have a shed or something similar to store our garden items. Making sure you store garden furniture and tools when not in use in a secure shed, garage or outbuilding is very important 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 are securely shut. Obscure the view to ensure no one can see inside and view your belongings.
If you store expensive items in your garage, shed, or outbuildings you may want to install an alarm to alert you of an intruder.
We include in our contents insurance as standard, up to £3,000 for items stored in garages, sheds, and outbuildings.
2. Lighting and CCTV
Having good lighting around your home and garden can make you feel more reassured when going to and from your home at night. And, lighting can discourage thieves too. Lights coming on can alert you that someone is out in your garden.
By installing CCTV or motion-detecting lights it can be a big deterrent. Though expensive. There are options to link the system up to your mobile phone. That way you are alerted when you're out too.
3. Gates and fences
Making sure gates and fences are secure is very important. Repairing any damage: holes or rusty screws, it all helps.
You may think having high fences and lots of greenery to screen your home will help but that’s not always the case. Having a low boundary at the front of your property, for example, a low fence or small plants and shrubs (less than 1 metre) can make it more difficult for burglars to hide.
If you have a garden making sure there is nothing to climb on to aid getting into your garden can help. If you wish you can put padlocks on gates to restrict access around your property. This might be a good option if you are away from your home, for example on holiday.
Recently, the number of pet thefts has increased. Ensuring there are no holes your pet can get through will help. Staying with your pet when he or she is in your garden can help too.
4. Drives and pathways
The type of material you use for your drive can act as a deterrent. Gravel is a great material because it makes a noise as a person approaches and can slow a getaway, for example, if someone is using a wheelbarrow.
Consider how you park your car. Don’t keep your drive clear or leave large spaces because it can aid thieves to escape.
5. Remove climbable items
These are items that can help burglars gain access to your home, such as a ladder 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 for thieves.
Once finished using them, put them away in a secure place. If left unattended keep them out of sight.
A good tip is to add your postcode using invisible ink because if they are stolen and found it will aid recovery.
Another useful hint 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 them to weigh them down.
You can buy tree anchors for your 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
Planting prickly plants and shrubs around the boundary of your home and near your home can help deter potential intruders. Even the Metropolitan Police recommend doing this. 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 hiding places, making sure 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. Check your home insurance to see if your cover includes bikes. At MORE THAN we have an optional add-on for covering bicycles out and about.
9. Get adequate cover
Make sure your home insurance is up to date. If you have made any home garden improvements, such as a summer house, make sure these are covered. This includes all your garden items in sheds or outbuildings and belongings left out in your garden.