How to improve your garden security

Sharon Amos / 09 January 2015

Read our guide to improving your garden security, including tips on deterring intruders and for keeping valuable plants and ornaments secure.

Garden theft has increased over the past few years – hardly surprising since we spend so much money on everything from barbecues to furniture and tools to plants. Here’s our checklist of how to protect your garden from opportunistic thieves.

If you also have a shed full of tools and equipment, read our guide to improving your garden shed security.

Keeping your garden secure from intruders

  • Start with the garden boundary. Dense thorny hedges are seriously unpleasant to push through or climb over. Bushes with vicious thorns include blackthorn (Prunus spinosa), hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna), berberis (the hybrid stenophylla is one of the prickliest), holly (Ilex species), pyracantha and gorse (Ulex europaeus).
  • Make fences harder to climb over by attaching trellis to the top, which won’t hold an intruder’s weight. Use trellis that’s at least 30cm deep and as an extra deterrent grow thorny climbing roses up the fence and trellis – rugosa roses are ideal (they can also be trimmed and grown as a hedge), as are thorny ‘New Dawn’, ‘School Girl’, ‘Iceberg’ and many others.
  • Instead of attaching trellis to the top of a fence, you could add some posts, run parallel wires between them above the height of the fence and train thorny roses along these.
  • Keep front-garden hedges and fences low – 1m is ideal – so that intruders can’t hide behind them.
  • If your back garden has an access gate, keep it padlocked. Use clutch-head screws to attach the hasp and latch, so that thieves can’t simply unscrew them without bothering to remove the padlock. Use clutch-head screws to attach the hinges too, for the same reason. And make sure that the gate can’t simply be lifted off its hinges.
  • Use gravel for paths and driveways – it’s impossible to sneak about quietly on a gravel path.
  • Consider installing CCTV – look for systems you can monitor from your mobile.
  • Motion-sensitive lighting can deter intruders.

Read our guide to buying motion-sensitive security lights.

Keep valuable plants and ornaments secure

  • Secure statues, urns and large planters by cementing them in place or by chaining them to an ‘anchor’ – either a wall bolt or one fixed to the ground. Or bolt planters to the ground by fixing coach bolts through the pot’s drainage holes.
  • Stop thieves making off with expensive trees and shrubs by securing them with a specialist land anchor when you plant them. A low-tech alternative to hang on to newly planted shrubs is to plant them through a layer of chicken wire topped with soil – it makes them harder to dig up or pull out.
  • Make hanging baskets harder to steal by hanging them on lockable brackets or by threading chain through the basket rim and attaching it to the wall.
  • Mark valuable planters, urns and statues with your postcode – use a UV pen, paint or even engrave it, on the base, under the rim or somewhere inconspicuous.

Keep your oil tank secure

  • Reduce the risk of theft from an oil tank for oil-fired central heating by siting the tank where it can be seen from the house. Fit a closed-shackle padlock to the inlet lid – the design is bolt-cutter proof.
  • Install a motion-sensitive light near the tank and an electronic oil gauge that will trigger an alarm if the oil level in the tank falls rapidly.

As well as providing insurance for your home and its contents, we can also offer extra protection for your shed and gardening equipment. Get a Saga Home Insurance quote now.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.