Many of us tend to think home security ends at the door – but there is plenty of value to be found in gardens for opportunist thieves.

And theft of garden valuables isn’t the only reason for a secure garden. They can be an easy entry point to the home, too.

Many of us have more time on our hands at the moment due to lockdown measures and with the nicer weather now in full-swing, Izzy Schulman at Keys 4 U gives his top tips for keeping your garden secure this summer.

Outdoor security

Visible outdoor security is the most effective way to warn off burglars. For example, ex-convicts claim CCTV is the biggest deterrent when targeting a property. So, make sure cameras and alarm boxes are clearly on display around the house.

Those looking for an affordable alternative could invest in a dummy CCTV replica or even motion-activated lights, which illuminate your garden if someone tries to break in.

Plus, adding a gravel or stone pathway leading to your property warns off potential intruders, as they give off a distinctive crunching sound underfoot as they move around the garden.

Green fingers

Even when you’re home, there are often blind spots in the garden which allow opportunist thieves to enter and exit your property unseen and hide out while they plan their next move.

Cut back any overgrown bushes which could act as a hiding place and trim overhanging trees which leave large shaded areas you can’t see from inside.

An unkempt front garden also gives the impression your property is empty and encourages thieves to try their luck. So, keep your front garden tidy, mowing the lawn and watering plants to let passersby know the home is occupied.

To give your property an extra layer of security, consider adding thorny plants or bushes around the edges of your garden. Alternatively, adding spikes to the top of fences or gates will stop intruders attempting to climb them.

An animal kingdom

It’s not just human intruders that can cause chaos in your garden. Foxes and cats can trample plants, eat fruits and vegetables and leave waste.

Make sure all rubbish and food waste are tied up and consider using a plant-based fertiliser when gardening, instead of one containing blood or bonemeal, as the smell of these can attract foxes.

Animal-repellant scents and ultrasonic sound devices are also humane ways of preventing unwanted four-legged visitors.

However, domestic pets could work in your favour. Ex-criminals reveal the sounds of a dog barking is one of the biggest deterrents when targeting a home.

So, if you have a pet pup, adding a ‘beware of the dog’ sign in your windows can warn off potential intruders. And if you don’t, you can now buy alarms which mimic the sound of barking dogs.

Secure storage

An estimated £4 billion is spent on garden supplies and decorative features each year, so there’s value to be found in the garden for those looking.

Store valuables away in a locked shed or garage each night for peace of mind. However, if you don’t have access to these, lockable containers are a space-saving alternative.

While padlocks provide a strong layer of security, even the strongest of locks can be broken with the right tools. Some extreme cases have seen burglars using blowtorches to blast through locks.

For extra security, install a shed alarm. Even if intruders force entry, an alarm system is likely to scare them off as it alerts homeowners and neighbours.

Stashing your tools and belongings away each night not only prevents them from getting stolen but also stops potential intruders using them to break into your home. Heavy tools can be used to break windows and ladders can even be used to gain access to the upper floors.

Take care of your shed

With over 22,000 shed break-ins reported every year in the UK – with common valuables like bicycles and garden tools among the items regularly stolen – keeping yours secure could save you thousands.

Sheds ideally need yearly maintenance as they tend to rot if the wood isn’t treated regularly. And if the material becomes brittle and weak, it’s easier for thieves to break-in.

Treat wooden panels with spirit-based preserver to prevent rotting and replace any broken panels to make it difficult for intruders to gain access to your valuables.