Your essential guide to keeping your garden safe this summer as you dust off the patio furniture and bring out the kids’ swimming pool
We love our gardens here in the UK. And with summer approaching, we’re all likely to be spending more of our evenings and weekends inviting the neighbours round for a BBQ or enjoying a beer on the patio after a stressful day at work.
And with the increasing popularity of expensive outdoor furniture, high tech barbeques, sports equipment and gardening tools, it’s not unusual for the average garden to contain £5,000 worth of belongings. So how do you decrease the chance of being targeted by thieves?
Admiral’s data reveals that theft from outside of the home – including sheds, outbuildings, garages and gardens – accounted for 22% of all theft claims in 2016 and 2017.
Noel Summerfield, Head of Home Insurance at Admiral says: Unfortunately, gardens, sheds and outbuildings are popular with thieves because they tend to be easier to access than a house, whether the owners are at home or not.
“Many people don’t realise their garden sheds and garages hold items with a lot of value and for that reason often don’t consider whether they are covered with their insurance. Tools, lawnmowers and garden equipment are the obvious items to be targeted by thieves, but the value of garden furniture, BBQs and sporting equipment all adds up.
“As summer approaches, it’s a good time to take stock of what you have in your garden and storage space outside of the home, especially if you’re considering investing in new furniture, outdoor toys or sports equipment. As well as being clear on what is covered by your insurance policy, taking care to protect your garden and outbuildings is equally important. Investing in a good, secure lock for sheds and making sure they are locked at all times, as well as investing in security lights to alert you when someone is in your garden are just some measures you can take to help prevent a theft.”
We've got a few top tips to keep your garden safe through the year.
Check for winter damage
As the temperature rises, it’s wise to make sure that previous harsher climates haven’t caused any damage to your outside space. For example, you should check to make sure your sheds or garden walls are still in a decent condition and, if not, make the necessary repairs.
Trim back the bushes
Now it’s getting warmer, we don’t have the same excuse to postpone cutting the grass or tackling the garden. From a security perspective, having overgrown trees or plants in your garden can provide an ideal location for thieves to hide before entering your property.
Secure garden ornaments
At this time of year, chances are you’ll be having more guests in your garden and could feel a greater urge to decorate these outside areas.
But, be vigilant. As the price of scrap metal rises, garden ornaments are increasingly attractive to thieves. Lock them down with a secure land anchor.
While it might sound obvious, you should lock your home’s doors and windows before popping out into the garden on a balmy evening. Otherwise, a burglar could be in and out in a minute and leave with your belongings.
And, of course, you should always lock your shed or garage and install secure locks on these premises. If you have cover for outbuildings and fail to do so, your insurer might determine you have been negligent and refuse to pay out if you need to make a claim.
For added security you might even decide to add a locked box or cage inside the shed to keep things in.
Build strong borders
Strong borders keep thieves out, but that doesn’t mean surrounding yourself with an ugly brick wall. Try growing thorny bushes – it’ll look nice and create an impassable obstacle. If you have a fence, why not make it higher with a trellis that will be difficult to climb over and will not take a burglar’s weight? To make it even more difficult, try decorating it with a thorny climbing rose.
Motion-sensing lighting and CCTV cameras also act as a great deterrent.
Find the right level of cover
All these measures can do a great deal to deter thieves, but they can’t keep items completely safe so it pays to have a good home insurance policy in place. Find out more about how home insurance can protect your garden with our handy guide.
At Admiral, our new MultiCover policy is a great catch-all product that provides protection for home, contents, and cars. It offers various levels of cover so speak to us and see how we can help you keep your garden safe.