Garden buildings can be an easy target for criminals. Taking steps to deter theft gives peace of mind with the knowledge your contents are secure. Let’s take a look at our best tips for improving garden room security.
Out-buildings separated from the house make an easy target for criminals. The combination of high-value items and lack of security makes them an obvious choice. Over the winter months, garden buildings are often used less and dark nights provide the perfect cover. It could be days before the owner realises they have been broken into. Even if your house is not targetted, it only takes an opportunistic thief trying their luck for your items to go missing. The damage caused to the building itself can also be en expensive fix if windows, locks or doors need to be replaced.
When securing your garden room, the value of the contents inside should be considered. For a garden office, computer equipment is both expensive and easy to remove. In a garden bar, sound systems and drinking equipment can be targetted. Our aim when planning security, is for it to not become cumbersome and get in the way of regular use. Each security device should be easy to use and not affect any of your regular activities.
The choice between home and shed security can make it difficult to find suitable security for garden rooms, which sit somewhere in-between. Home security systems offer protection for many entry points but come at a cost. Shed security is simple to install but often does not offer the level of protection required for a garden room. Consider some of our top tips below for keeping your building secure.
Invest in an alarm system
If the worse did happen and someone entered your garden room, an alarm system is your last line of defence. A high-quality alarm provides multiple benefits to keep your items safe. Firstly, a piercing alarm sound is often enough to deter most burglars. The high decibel noise makes it difficult to think properly and stay inside the garden room for more than a few seconds. Secondly, an alarm system can quickly alert the owners to an intruder. Often, just the warning signs of an alarm can be enough to put off opportunistic thieves.
When it comes to finding the right alarm, a huge choice is available. House alarms provide the highest level of protection. An alarm kit will be made up of different components including a siren, window opening sensors and PIR motion detectors. Some house alarms can be run on batteries, but many require mains connectivity.
Smart home alarm systems provide the added benefit of smartphone connectivity. Useful for checking whether your garden building is secure when away from the home and also getting notifications if activity is detected. For smart alarm systems, constant internet connectivity is required. Leaving the Wi-Fi on 24/7 in your garden room will be needed to ensure the alarm is always connected.
The drawback to using home systems is that they are designed for more than one entry-point, which is uncommon unless you have a very large garden building. This leads to parts of the kit not being used and money being wasted.
Alarms designed for sheds usually contain one component which integrates both the alarm siren and motion detector. While cost-effective, they often provide less security and can be easier to remove. We use a Tiiwee system in our garden office. Suitable as a home or shed alarm, the system design provides the benefits of both. The siren is easy to install and contains a built-in PIR sensor. Additional sensors can be added to create a larger system suited to larger garden rooms.
Take a look at CCTV
Security camera systems have gone from once very complicated and expensive, to now affordable and super easy to install. Firstly, a camera provides a deterrent to potential thieves to think twice before approaching your garden building. Secondly, if your building is broken into, the camera can provide evidence of those responsible for reporting and insurance purposes. A mobile phone application can be used to view footage live (ideal for monitoring when away from home) or rewind footage at a later date.
The best camera systems require electricity and an internet connection. We would avoid battery-powered cameras due to the charging frequency required and the risk of them running out of power just when you need them most. Some cameras support Power Over Ethernet which allows them to be powered over the same ethernet cable which is providing a network connection.
Features to look out for include infrared night vision to provide clear videos at night when there is no light near your garden room. A higher resolution will also allow for clearer footage which can be zoomed in further to get a close up of an intruders face. Some cameras use cloud storage, and others support storage locally using a hard drive or memory card.
Positioning a camera is crucial to capturing high-quality footage. Often, the camera will be placed too high and will capture the top of a person’s head, rather than a clear facial shot. Ideally, a camera should be placed high enough to be out of reach but also low enough for clear footage. The height of a garden room roof is usually a good choice.
Detect motion with security lighting
Installing security lighting provides an obvious deterrent which aims to stop criminals by drawing attention to their activities. Security lighting detects presence in the same way as an alarm system, by using PIR sensors. These sensors work by measuring the infrared light which is reflected from moving objects that emit heat.
Getting the positioning of security lights correct is important for maximum benefits. Ideally, they should be placed above entry locations (windows and doors). Directing the light and sensors for a long distance such as back towards your house is going to draw the most attention. The set-up usually requires electricity from the installation inside your garden room and will require feeding the wire through the wall. Some security lights including those from Ring combine both a camera and light into the same system. A great idea for those looking for an all in one security system.
Solar security lights provide a simple and low-cost option. As they do not require an electric supply, solar security lights can be positioned throughout the garden to provide an early warning to intruders. While the output will not be as bright, many LED solar lights can provide considerable performance for their size and price.
Obscure the window view
Avoiding valuable items being left on display through a garden room window is a simple way to reduce opportunistic theft. When used as a garden office, computer kit may be left next to the window and on display to anyone looking in. It’s not always possible to keep it out of the way of the window as part of the benefit of a garden room is being able to enjoy the view across your garden.
Fortunately, there are still steps which can be taken. Window film is easy to install and comes in several styles including privacy and frosted film. Privacy film provides a tinted window effect for anyone looking inwards, while still allowing you to look outwards from inside the garden building. An added benefit is heat control over the summer, as privacy film reduces UV coming through the windows to create a more comfortable environment.
Without adding film to windows, you can still place objects near them to discourage peering through. Plant pots and other garden ornaments placed below windows outside make it difficult to get a clear view inside.
Use high-spec locks & fixings
The fixings used for garden rooms, summer houses and log cabins can vary widely. Many summer houses will come with both basic locks and plastic windows offering little security. If you plan on keeping valuable items, we would recommend asking the manufacturer whether any additional security packages are available. These typically include upgraded locks and bolts.
High specification garden rooms will offer house grade fixings as standard. Doors and windows will be UPVC and include multi-lock systems. These offer great protection to ensure a garden room is kept secure. For garden buildings already installed, stronger locks and bolts can be retrofitted. For double doors, a bolt on the interior will increase strength and reduce the chance of the door lock being snapped open.
Garden rooms can contain a lot of valuable items, especially when being used as an office or bar. The winter means less use and dark nights, providing increased changes for burglaries to take place and go unnoticed for days. Keeping a garden building safe doesn’t have to be difficult and just requires steps are taken to improve security. An alarm system is best to prevent theft and provides a warning if anyone tries to gain access. Smart alarm systems can provide alerts to a smartphone if motion is detected. Additional features including cameras and lighting aim to deter opportunists by making it difficult for them to go unnoticed.
Very interesting and useful information. This has given me a point of reference regarding the best ways of securing external garden buildings. I plan to now investigate how much we will need to spend to install a full security system (CCTV, lighting, alarms etc) for property and external buildings.