Garden sheds can be the ideal place to store inexpensive gardening supplies like compost and plant pots, but they are also a great place to keep your tools and garden furniture when they are not in use. However, these buildings may be targeted by thieves. If you are planning on keeping any tools or high value items in your shed, then you must make sure that you take shed security seriously. Even if your tools are not worth very much, it is still worth making sure that they are locked up properly, because thieves may be able to use your tools to make it easier to break into your car or house.
Reduce Access to your Garden
The first line of defence for your shed should start well before the shed itself. Keeping your garden more secure can deter criminals from trying to get to your shed in the first place. If at all possible, site the shed in a secure back garden rather than in the front garden. Higher fences and secure gates will make it more difficult for criminals to get into the garden. Thick hedges or plants like blackberry brambles can also dissuade criminals from trying to enter. The bonus of surrounding your garden with blackberry brambles is that they will give you a delicious blackberry harvest every autumn!
Consider installing a motion sensor light in the garden so that the garden will become illuminated if an intruder starts to move around near to your shed. Many criminals are scared off by motion sensor lights, because these lights help to draw attention to their presence. Illuminating the garden also means that you are far more likely to see the face of an intruder if you do see anyone who shouldn’t be there. This can make it much easier to identify them.
Take Care of Your Shed
Because garden sheds are situated outside, they are very exposed to the elements. The actual structure itself can start to degrade quite quickly if you do not take steps to take care of it. Window frames, door frames and the door itself are particularly vulnerable to rotting. Unfortunately, these are also the places where criminals are most likely to gain access to the shed. Rotting wood is much easier to break through, and therefore leaves the shed less secure. Roof areas might also peel away or start to leak if they are not assessed and treated regularly. You should take steps to treat the shed with special wood care products to reduce the likelihood of the wood starting to rot. If you do notice that the wood is starting to rot, you should replace the affected areas as soon as possible. This should also help to protect the things that are stored inside your shed from being affected by the wind and rain.
The type of lock that you will be able to use on your shed door will depend a lot on the construction of the shed. The most secure locks for shed doors are mortice sash locks, however these types of locks can only be used on doors and frames that are at least 44mm thick. Thinner doors should be locked with a hasp, staple and padlock. A padlock alone is not normally a sufficient lock for a shed door, unless you use a very strong type of reinforced padlock.
Alarm your Shed
Get a special alarm just for your shed. This will alert you or your neighbours if somebody does try to enter your shed without your permission. What is more, the loud noise may help to scare them away from the building before they can take anything from it. It is easier to fit an alarm system to your shed if the shed can be wired up to your home electrics. However, there are some options available for wireless alarm systems if this is not a possibility. Battery-powered alarms only have a limited lifespan and should be checked regularly so that you can make sure that the alarm still works. Battery-powered systems also tend to be much quieter than standard alarm systems.
What‘s on Show?
Think about what might be on show through your shed windows. If a criminal can see that there are lots of goodies available inside the shed, they will be more inclined to take the risk and try to break in. Avoid showing off the content of your shed by taking steps to make it harder to see in. Consider installing curtains on the inside of your shed windows so that passers-by cannot see what is inside. Consider what type of fabric you use for this, because sheds can get cold and damp during winter. This may lead to some fabrics going mouldy and developing holes quite quickly. Alternatively, consider using darkened glass for the windows. People shouldn’t be able to see through this glass unless they go right up to the windows and use a torch to see into the shed.
If your shed is in a private garden area, you may want to invest in a CCTV camera to point directly towards your shed. Make sure that the camera is in a highly visible position so that any criminals who venture into your garden will be able to see it. Using CCTV can help to put some criminals off, but it should also help to make it easier to catch the criminals if they do decide to go ahead with their plan to break into your outbuilding.
Keep an Inventory
It is always a good idea to keep an inventory of what you have got locked up in your shed. This will help you to identify what has been taken if someone does break into it. Some people also like to mark all of their belongings with a UV pen. These markings can only be seen under special UV lights, but can help to make it easier for the police to return your belongings if they do catch the person who broke into your shed.