Garden furniture, plants and children's toys can be easy pickings for thieves as the days get lighter. With the contents of the average British garden now worth almost £2,000, it's important to ensure your garden is secure. In this guide we explain how to maximize your garden security with gates, locks and lights.
Create a fence
Your garden should be the first line of defence from burglars, so it's important to install strong fences or gates surrounding your patch.
Ideally any gates, fencing, walls or hedges at the FRONT of your house should not be more than 1.2m (4ft), so the front of your property can be seen by passers-by.
A standard 1.8m (6ft) wall or fence at the BACK of your house is usually enough. However, if there is public access on the other side you should increase the height to 2m (6ft 6inches). Normally anything higher requires planning permission.
You can increase the height of fences with trellis fixed to the top, as this is difficult to climb over. Planting prickly plants or a hedge, such as firethorn, climbing rose or hawthorn, around the perimeter of your garden can also be a deterrent against burglars.
If there is an access point to your garden at the side of the house you should have a strong lockable gate. Garden gates should be at least the same height as your fence with hinges securely attached to the gateposts.
Don't tempt thieves by leaving your valuable possessions lying around on display in your garden. With the average UK garden now worth £1,928, according to Halifax, there may be plenty on offer for light fingers.
Garden tools, children's toys, paddling pools, lawn mowers and bikes should all be stored inside at the end of the day. Bulky items such as large gas barbecues or furniture should be covered up.
Your garden should be the first line of defence from burglars, so it's important to install strong fences or gates surrounding your patch
Never leave a ladder in your garden as this could be used by a thief to climb into an upstairs window. Similarly do not leave tools or gardening equipment lying around as this could be used to smash your windows.
Bolt down furniture
Beware that garden furniture and wheelie bins can be used to climb on and access upstairs windows. Use chains to anchor garden furniture to the ground, or at least position these items away from the house. You could also put bricks or stones in the bottom of patio tubs to make them more difficult for thieves to carry.
Mark your territory
Police advise homeowners to mark valuable items such as furniture and ornaments with your postcode, followed by your house number. This could be painted or etched onto items. It is best if the burglar can easily spot this marking as it will make the item less tempting to steal. But if the item is stolen, there is more chance of you being reunited with your possessions.
You should also keep photos of your garden valuables in case anything is stolen or vandalised, as this will help when dealing with the police and your insurer.
Don't forget that lighting for your garden is very important, especially in areas near to doors and windows. Choose lights that can either be triggered by movement, or triggered by light so that it comes on automatically from dusk to dawn.