Is your garden shed secure?

by Adam Pasco

Totting up the value of everything in my garden shed this week, I was amazed at how much it came to.

Padlock on a shed doorTotting up the value of everything in my garden shed this week, I was amazed at how much it came to. There are the big items like a mower, shredder and pressure washer, then all the smaller things from forks and spades to secateurs, greenhouse heaters, netting, cloches, and much, much more. (I've shared shameful pictures of the state of my shed before on this blog, so some of you will already have an idea of where I'm coming from).

So, just how secure is my shed? Well, it is at the far end of my garden, and out of sight of the road or passers-by. Access to my garden is via gates on either side of my house, and both are locked and secure.

However, the door to the shed itself remains shut but not locked!

I feel an Easter job coming on … to fully secure my shed and so deter anyone from getting in. The problem is that if anyone was really intent on gaining access at all cost I'm sure that even a padlock would stop them.  Most sheds are quite flimsy structures after all, and if you didn't care about doing serious damage to the structure you could break in with a crow bar or other tools.

I've heard the argument in the past that it's sometimes better to leave sheds unlocked and risk having items taken than lock them only to have the structure seriously damaged during a break in.

What's the answer? Don't leave valuables in your shed? So where else can they go? I'd always recommend making your garden as secure as possible by locking gates and putting up fences and walls. Police often recommend planting thorny hedges around the perimeter, and while this may not be ideal in all situations it's worth considering.

I also have several outdoor lights activated by movement detectors, and these are a useful deterrent. You can also buy shed alarms that go off if doors are opened. Of course these rely on someone actually responding to the alarm if you don't hear it yourself, but they could scare off burglars before they have a chance to take anything.

And, of course, there's always the dog. I don't own a dangerous breed, but Magic (my black poodle) sounds ferocious, even if she would only try and lick you to death should you get close!

I haven't investigated where I stand on the insurance front, and whether tools in my shed are covered, or whether the insurance policy states that the shed must be locked. Yes, another job for the weekend, to get out my content insurance policy and read the small print. What fun that will be...

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Talkback: Is your garden shed secure?
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Gardeners' World Web User 22/03/2010 at 19:29

i would be well cross if my shed got broken into ,its only got the bare essentails in hoe,spade,fork,rake and my rotavator but i would miss them if they got took like losing a finger and being on a tight budget at the moment it would take a few weeks to replace,what really annots me at the moment is the kids climbing the fence at the allotment not to nick stuff just vandalise sheds and tread and pull up fruit and veg

Gardeners' World Web User 23/03/2010 at 07:02

I have a shed made from breize blocks. A couple of years ago some local youths decided they wanted my housemates bike and tried to lever off the door with a scaffold pole. The door did not yield but the wall did - it fell off! Security measures since then have revolved around better perimeter fencing, a rebuilt shed which has now been rendered as well. The range of the outside light which I thouught would keep things safe turned out to be not reaching the shed area. You also need to take into account your neighbours security as these guys came in through their garden. The major point was not to keep anything highly desirable to others in your shed - had I known how much my friend's bike was worth I would not have been happy for her to keep it there. The rebuilt shed now has better lighting around it but at the end of the day if they want something in there they will get it!

Gardeners' World Web User 23/03/2010 at 09:55

Thieves one "did" all the outbuildings in our road and as my strimmer was in the back of the locked garage they took out the window (from next door's garden), smashed it in the process, and left it and dangerous shards of glass in my neighbour's garden. Luckily my insurance company agreed not to replace the window but to brick it up. My strimmer was not worthy of a place on the getaway van and was found by another neighbour in his hedgerow. All that damage for nothing. I try to keep my favourite secateurs etc in the kitchen, not in the back of the garage anymore.

Gardeners' World Web User 23/03/2010 at 15:10

My shed has also been broken into, althought once I purchased some shed security i've had no issues or problems since. They're absolutely brilliant, I only paid £12.99 off this brilliant gardening website and comes with a two year guarantee. It's definately worth buying.

Gardeners' World Web User 23/03/2010 at 16:39

Further to Caroline's comment, there is a wide range of shed alarms/security systems on the market. Search results at Google:

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