Keeping a summerhouse or log cabin secure is essential to protect valuable contents inside. An alarm system provides both a deterrent and a notification if an intruder tries to access your garden building.
The installation of summerhouses and log cabins has seen a huge rise in demand in recent years, as more of us look to make the most of our gardens. At the same time, the equipment being stored in these buildings has also increased in value. It’s important for all garden building owners to take additional steps to keep their items secure.
Summerhouses & log cabins are now commonly used as garden offices, cinema rooms and home bars. All of these result in storing expensive equipment such as computers, TVs and speaker systems that can be the target of opportunistic theft. At the same time, we need a security system that is easy to use and doesn’t get in the way of daily use of the equipment inside.
Garden buildings are often an easy target for potential thieves as they can be easier to gain access to compared with a house. During the winter, most summerhouses get less use and it could be days before the owner notices their contents are missing from inside. Dark nights provide the ideal cover for breaking into a log cabin at the bottom of the garden completely undisturbed.
The structure of many garden buildings also makes them more vulnerable to break-ins. Timber windows & doors can be easier to force open compared with the uPVC equivalents on a residential home. Lots of large windows on a summerhouse also allow thieves to view through them and see exactly what items are inside.
How does an alarm protect a summerhouse or log cabin?
An alarm system is there in case the worst did happen and an intruder gained access to your garden room. The first important role of the alarm is to deter an intruder. A high decibel siren lets a burglar know they’ve been noticed and it’s time to get out of there. Some louder piercing sirens make it difficult for anyone to stay inside for more than a few seconds, not allowing time to pick up valuable items.
The second job of an alarm system is to notify the owner that someone has gained access to their summerhouse or log cabin. Even during the night, the loud noise coming from the alarm siren can be enough to alert the homeowner or neighbours. Also, a visible alarm can be enough to put off an opportunistic burglar.
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Best summerhouse & log cabin alarm systems
It can sometimes be a challenge to find the best alarm system for a summerhouse or log cabin due to the unique features required. We often need more functionality than a shed alarm provides, but not a complete home system due to most garden buildings only having one entry point. Let’s take a look at the best summerhouse & log cabin alarms.
Tiiwee Alarm System (Amazon)
Our choice. Flexible eco-system and wireless installation
The Tiiwee alarm system is the current alarm we use in our garden office summerhouse and is easy to recommend. The Tiiwee eco-system contains a number of different components that can be used together including contact sensors and motion sensors. If you need any further components for a large garden building, it’s easy to add them to your current system.
The system is battery operated and we change the batteries around every six months. Everything connects together wirelessly to make the alarm system very easy to use, and it doesn’t need internet or electricity.
When the alarm is triggered, the siren will sound for two minutes with a high decibel siren unless silenced from the remote control. The volume is loud enough to deter intruders and alert homeowners even from the other side of the garden. As well as an alarm, the device can also be used as a chime to notify when somebody enters and provide an instant alert.
A number of different components are available including indoor sirens, an outdoor siren, window sensor, PIR sensor and remote controls. For a summerhouse with lots of opening windows, the sensors make a great solution. We use the combined PIR and siren system and the remote control allows the alarm to be enabled when leaving the summerhouse.
Yale SAA5015 (Amazon)
A simple and low cost alarm for small garden buildings
Sometimes, only a simple alarm system is required and the Yale SAA5015 does the job very well. Yale is a trusted brand when it comes to alarm systems, where you can usually find the name attached to more advanced systems.
This alarm is a standalone system designed for ease of use and installation. For smaller garden buildings where there’s less valuable equipment, we really like the Yale SAA5015. When someone enters the summerhouse, 10 seconds is given before the alarm sounds. During this time the pin can be entered onto the alarm to prevent the siren from triggering.
A PIR sensor is used with a 12m detection range that is fine for most small summerhouses and log cabins. We recommend attaching the alarm securely to the wall with the sensor facing towards the entrance area. No electricity is required as the alarm uses 4x AA batteries and a red light indicator will warn when they are low.
Time2 Noah Smart Alarm System (Amazon)
An entry smart alarm with expandability and optional outdoor siren
Smart alarm systems can quickly become complex and expensive. The Noah system from Time2 is good value and brings the essential features needed to secure a summerhouse or log cabin.
The smart system connects to the internet and uses its own application to arm or disarm the summerhouse from anywhere. Instant notifications can be provided to a mobile phone if the alarm is triggered by any of the sensors. A smart hub is the main base where each of the components connects back to wirelessly. The hub features a siren, light and SOS button.
Expandability is available and a huge number of additional components can be used including a keypad, outdoor siren and additional accessories. The standard 5 piece kit should be fine for most garden buildings and includes the hub, motion sensor, contact sensor, and remote control. The exterior siren is a useful accessory to improve the audible range when the siren is triggered.
Yale HSA Essentials Alarm System (Amazon)
A high-quality battery powered basic alarm system
For summerhouses and log cabins with lots of valuable equipment, it’s time to get serious about security. Basic house systems can also function great to protect larger garden buildings. The Yale HSA starter kit is more than enough to cover a summerhouse being used as a garden office or cinema room.
The kit is completely wireless and uses batteries, so no electricity or internet is required. The main alarm siren is bright yellow and enough to deter most opportunistic burglars from even attempting a break-in. Two motion sensors and a door & window contact are included but the system can be expanded further. We recommend using the motion sensor to focus on the entry area and the contact alarm on any windows that open.
For daily use, the alarm is activated using a keypad, the simple solution means the alarm can be easily enabled or disabled when leaving the summerhouse. An optional key fob and smoke detector can also be purchased to extend the range further.
Eufy 5 Piece Alarm Kit (Amazon)
Easy to set-up and a well designed smart application
The Eufy security brand provides a number of great security products including cameras and sensors. The alarm kit system is designed as a beginner smart system and makes an excellent choice if you are not that familiar with smart alarms.
Unlike most smart alarms, the set-up is simple and the system can be working within minutes. The contact sensors are attached to windows and mounts are provided for the keypad and motion sensor. We love the clean and modern design of this system, making it a good choice for a contemporary garden office. A Homebase 2 hub is used to connect to the internet and also contains the siren. When paired with Eufy cameras, the single hub can connect to all of the components to provide a simple solution.
The mobile application is one of the best smart alarm apps available and provides a range of functionality. A quick check can let you know the garden building is secure, even when out of the house. The system can also be armed from the application if you forget to set the alarm before leaving.
Choosing a summerhouse or log cabin alarm
Finding the best summerhouse or log cabin alarm system will depend on the features required and the budget available. Factors such as the number of doors & windows and whether the garden building has electricity will affect which alarm is most suitable.
Type of alarm sensor
PIR alarms work by detecting motion inside a room. Passive Infrared uses a pair of sensors to detect heat in the surrounding environment. This type of system is widely used to detect presence inside a house for both alarms and lighting.
As PIR sensors only detect heat, they won’t be triggered by an object falling over or a slight bit of movement in the garden building. Sometimes, the reflection from the sun if facing a window can occasionally trigger the alarms.
Setting up a PIR alarm requires the correct positioning to detect motion as soon as a person steps inside but also reduce false detections. The initial set-up may require a few attempts to adjust the sensors to the best position.
These alarms trigger once the contact between both pieces has been broken. A contact alarm involves two parts, one placed on the frame and the other on the window or door itself. When the window or door is closed, both parts make contact. If it is opened, the contact is broken and the alarm is triggered.
contact alarms are useful to provide an instant notification if an access method to the garden building has been opened when you previously closed it. A slight downside is that some can be large and stand out when placed on a door.
Alarms for vibration sense movement in the item they are attached to that will cause them to trigger. A benefit is that they can sound once the burglar starts trying to gain access, even if they have not yet been successful. For example, if they are placed on a door that a burglar is trying to open, the vibration can set off the alarm.
Vibration alarms are usually positioned on the glass portion of the window or door they are protecting, which also provides a clear visible deterrent. Due to slight movements in garden buildings, they can occasionally false trigger. During set-up, the sensitivity can be adjusted if required.
Consider a smart alarm
With improvements in technology over the last few years, many smart alarm systems are now available. When choosing between summerhouse & log cabin alarms, it’s key to decide early on whether a smart system is required.
To use a smart system, the garden building needs both electricity and a reliable internet connection. Smart systems require a central hub that all of the alarm components will connect to and this needs to be turned on permanently. An internet connection is also required for the smart alarm to notify your mobile devices over the internet. The Access Point or Wi-Fi extender in the garden building will also need to be always turned on.
The benefits of using a smart internet-connected system are instant notifications, even when away from home. During the night, a notification on a mobile device can often be a better alert if you may not hear the alarm siren when the summerhouse is far away at the bottom of the garden. If an intruder breaks in when the homeowner is out at work during the day, a notification alert is triggered on the mobile phone.
A smart system may not be suitable if you do not wish to leave the electricity and internet on when away from the summerhouse or log cabin. We disconnect our Access Point and turn off all electrical devices when not working from our summerhouse office. For this use case, a loud siren is recommended to alert both the homeowner and neighbours if an intruder gains access.
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Extra steps to secure a summerhouse or log cabin
An alarm system provides a powerful additional layer of security to a garden building. But the main purpose of an alarm is to provide protection once a burglar has already gained access. For the best security, we need to take additional steps to deter opportunistic thieves before they gain entry.
Cover the windows
A common downfall of summerhouse security is large windows that leave the contents inside on display. If the outbuilding is being used as a garden office, lots of computer equipment could be on show for anybody looking through the window. To deter opportunistic thieves, it’s important to keep any valuable items out of view so the building does not look like a worthwhile target.
Privacy window film is available to cover the view when looking inside from the outside of the building. Different types can be used including tinted or frosted film depending on the privacy level required. The tinted window film prevents the contents inside from being visible when looking inwards from outside. As an extra benefit, privacy film blocks some of the UV coming through the glass that could begin to fade furniture and other interior items over time.
An additional step is to place items in front of large windows to prevent anybody from peering inside. Plant pots and garden statues are a simple and effective step to obscure the view inside.
Use a camera system
As most summerhouses & log cabins have electricity, it’s possible to install a camera system to monitor the building. Just like an alarm system, a camera is a visible deterrent to opportunistic thieves. The footage could also be used if a break-in did happen to provide police with the footage.
Lots of options are available for camera systems, and the cost has come down significantly in recent years. We recommend using a system with a mobile phone application that can provide a notification if motion is detected during the night.
Power Over Ethernet camera systems use a single cable to provide both power and an internet data connection to the camera. A wired internet connection in the garden building is needed for the best quality footage. Infrared is used to provide a clear image during the night, especially if there is no other lighting near the outbuilding.
Place security lights
Prevention of burglary is as much about deterrent as it is about securing the building. Security lighting is an easy solution to let intruders know they have been spotted, even before they get close to your outbuilding. The lights use the same PIR motion detection technology as alarms, which allows the infrared heat of a person to be picked up.
Hard-wired lighting will provide the brightest solution that can light up a full garden. If you don’t want to run additional wires, solar LED lights also make a great choice. As they only trigger when a person is detected, there’s no worry around the battery running out. Multiple solar security lights can be placed throughout the garden to provide an effective solution.
The key with security lighting is getting the positioning correct. Near entry locations of a summerhouse or log cabin is effective to pick up anybody trying to gain access. If the garden has a rear fence or side access, placing lighting at common walkway locations will pick up any unwanted guests.
Garden buildings can be targeted as they are easier to gain access to compared with a residential property. Low-cost locks can be breached within minutes using the right tools. Consider upgrading the locks or adding an additional lock to the door to provide an extra level of protection.
Some premium garden buildings can be purchased with optional uPVC windows and doors to provide increased security. Double doors can be easiest for burglars to open and will benefit most from adding an extra lock and bolt system.
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Installing the best summerhouse or log cabin alarm system can provide an additional layer of security. Valuable contents are often stored inside garden buildings, which makes them a target for opportunistic thieves. An alarm deters burglars with a loud siren and also notifies the homeowner as soon as access has been gained.
Our favourite easy to use alarm system is the Tiiwee system. For more advanced protection, smart alarms can provide mobile notifications even when not at home. Additional security steps can also be taken such as installing cameras and covering the windows to prevent opportunistic theft.