Make Your Garden Shed Secure

| April 9, 2015

Are you confident that your Shed Security is up to the job? Most houses have numerous security devices fitted to keep their owners possessions (and the owners themselves) safe. Deadbolts and chains are fitted to doors, windows are fitted with locks, security lighting is installed at the front and back door. All of this, of course, is sensible and entirely recommended. Your house contains thousands of pounds worth of property which could be carried away in minutes by a burglar.

Now stop for a minute and think about what you have in your shed. And then think about what you do to secure it. Research by M&S Money shows that the average shed contains nearly one thousand pounds worth of property yet only 12% of people think they secure their shed adequately. Even if you only have a couple of bikes and a few tools in your shed, the cost of replacing them could still be several hundred pounds. On top of that, tools stored in your unsecured shed could be used to gain access to your house.

The problem with Sheds

  • Construction Material – Sheds are, for the most part, made of fairly thin planks of wood. This is obviously never going to be as secure as a brick structure.
  • Windows – Shed windows are often fairly flimsy and are not embedded into the structure as securely as they could be.
  • Doors and Locks – Many shed doors are secured with only a wire hasp and staple or a simple sliding bolt. Even if they are padlocked, the padlock itself is often small and easy to cut.
  • Location – Sheds are often positioned away from the house, even out of sight of the house completely. This makes them a tempting target for opportunist thieves, even when the house is occupied.

Securing your Shed – The Basics

We don’t want to be scare-mongers here. We aren’t suggesting that every shed should have a 8ft electrified fence and patrolling attack dogs to stop the hordes of marauding shed bandits who roam every street just waiting to steal your lawnmower. It is probable, however, that your shed could be more secure than it currently is, and that adding a little extra security will not cost you the earth.

Locks and Bolts

As mentioned above, even when sheds are locked, the padlocks use are often something of an afterthought or the screws fixing the bolt to the door are exposed and can be unscrewed in a matter of minutes. Invest in a good quality Hasp and Staple which, when closed, covers the heads of the fixing screws. These can be bought for less than a pound, although it is probably worth spending a bit more if your shed contains expensive tools, etc. Fix the Hasp and staple to the door or wall of the shed with long screws (at least 60mm long), and try to screw into a thick part of the door or frame.

Invest in a good quality padlock, preferably one which is weather-proof and comes with a spare key. Keep the spare key in a safe place indoors and remember to treat the padlock with a little oil from time to time. If the padlock breaks, or you lose the key/s, replace it straight away.

Hinges

The hinges of sheds are often exposed on the outside of the door. If this is the case, use non-returnable screws (screws which can only be screwed in and not back out again) or coach bolts.

Windows

Windows provide not only an easy access point to your shed, but they also allow thieves to see what sort of valuables are stored inside. Fit some old curtains or paint out the window if you don’t need the light source. If you have very expensive things in your shed, it is also worth considering fitting a simple metal grille on the outside of the window (fixed with non-returnable screws).

Alarm Stickers

You can buy fake alarm stickers which you can attach to your shed to try to trick would-be thieves that your shed is alarmed. On their own these are pretty pointless, but combined with the other measures shown here, can be a useful additional deterrent.

Securing your Shed – Additional Security

The security measures listed above are things that anyone can do, for very little cost. There are several additional measures you can take to make your shed even more secure and safe from thieves. Some of these ideas may cost more than fitting a good hasp and staple, but they are certainly worth considering if you live in an area prone to this sort of crime, or if you store very expensive equipment in your shed.

Shed Alarm

You can buy a small battery operated alarm for your shed (or garage/outhouse) from as little as £5. Most small shed alarms are motion sensing, so fitting them so that they face the door is important. That said, they are easy to install, usually requiring just a few screws. As with house alarms, shed alarms differ in their operation so check to see how long you get to lock up after setting the alarm, etc. You also need to remember to check the batteries regularly. We recommend the Friedland Mini MA6 Remote Controlled Motion Alarm. It is unobtrusive and easy to install and comes complete with door and window stickers so that you can tell would-be thieves that your shed is alarmed.

Gravel

Laying a margin of gravel around your shed, or along the access points to your garden, can help to deter thieves. Gravel is noisy to walk on and unless you live in the middle of nowhere and have advertised the fact that the house is empty, thieves are unlikely to want to make more noise than is totally necessary. Read our guide to Laying a Gravel Path.

Security Lighting

If you have a very secluded garden you should already have considered fitting motion sensing security lighting for the rear of your house. However, you might not have considered getting some for your shed. You can buy reliable PIR controlled security lights from as little as £10 and even pick up solar-powered versions for a little bit more. The solar power option is obviously great if your shed is too far away from your house to consider running cables to the mains supply. If you do plan of fitting mains powered lighting, please seek advice from a professional electrician.

Secure Fixing Point

If you are unsure of just how strong the fabric of your shed is, and you are worried that even a good hasp and staple could be pulled out of the wood by force, it is worth thinking about creating a solid fixing point inside. This can be as simple as a loop of steel bolted to the floor, to which you can chain your bikes or other expensive equipment. If you have a heavy table or bench in the shed, this can also be used as a fixing point.

If you don’t have a secure point, or the ability to fit one, you can chain several of the more expensive items together to make it hard for a thief to carry them away. If you are worried about how much force your shed lock will withstand, it is worth investing in a large, lockable box to safely store smaller tools. Although spades or chisels are relatively cheap to replace, they can be used by thieves to gain access to your house.

Foliage

If your shed is obscured from view from the house by hedges, trees, etc, consider cutting them back. This obviously helps by making it easier to see if anything is going on from the safety of your house, but it should also make a thief think twice about breaking in if they think there is a chance of being seen.

And if all of that fails? It might be worth investing in a metal shed…
Metal Sheds can offer a lot more protection than a wooden shed, and are particularly good if you have very expensive equipment to store or you live in an area with a high crime rate. They are available in a wide variety of styles, including timber-look, plain and painted. Properly cared for, metal sheds can last for many years longer than a wooden shed.

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Category: Garden, Home Security, Outdoor

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