It is important that the security of your garden is considered together with that of your home. Effective security measures will not only protect your possessions in outbuildings and the garden itself but will also help to deter an attack on the house. The risk is all the greater because in many households both partners are working and so the house is often left unoccupied during the day. It is also not uncommon for delivery drivers to leave parcels around the back if they obtain no answer at the door and so a stranger seen walking around on the premises would not necessarily appear suspicious.
Many sheds and garages are left unlocked even though they may contain garden equipment worth many hundreds of pounds. In addition, tools are likely to be stored inside which would assist thieves. Good quality mortise locks or short shackle padlocks on hasps and shackles should be used to secure exterior doors on outbuildings using coach bolts or standard fixings whose heads have been damaged to deter tampering. Windows should be protected with strong welded mesh grilles or bars.
Ensure that the boundary of the property is in a good state and repair any damage speedily. Keep gates locked and if the catch or bolt can be accessed from the insecure side then it should be padlocked to prevent unauthorised access. It should be noted that a well-established thorny hedge is an excellent deterrent to entry.
Install lighting but ensure that the lights will not be a nuisance to neighbours. Lights can either be manually switched or automatically activated by a PIR detector that detects motion or by a sensor that detects the onset of darkness.
Minimise areas where intruders could hide by pruning foliage and trimming hedges. Any remaining areas which would provide cover should be well lit.
Secure garden ornaments wherever possible or store these securely away in winter time. Valuable ornaments, garden furniture and equipment should be security marked with your postcode.
CCTV cameras and intruder alarms are more affordable nowadays and should be considered. Live video and in many cases audio footage can be displayed on a television and recorded in the same way as a TV programme with infra red illuminators available that will ensure good monochrome images of unlit areas of the garden within typically 10m of cameras. Intruder alarms can either be standalone with a local sounder or interfaced to an existing system in the house. Wireless alarm and CCTV systems are also available that simplify their installation although they will be more expensive than hard-wired systems.
Finally ensure that your household insurance policy covers garden and outbuilding theft.