The idea of protecting your property is usually limited to the main building. But the outdoor structures like sheds, garages, gazebos and greenhouses also form part of your property and are certainly not overlooked by burglars. Considering their flimsy structure, it is sometimes deemed better to leave a shed unlocked rather than have it seriously damaged after a forced entry. Obviously, this is not the best solution considering that you might as well be inviting intruders with a huge Welcome sign, encouraging them to leisurely empty your shed and target the main building next. Therefore, the security of your garden shed, which can be achieved through some straightforward steps, is of high priority.

a good security lock securing an external garden shed at the rear of a property in London

Assess the surroundings of your garden

It is essential to check if walls, panels, fences and gates are firmly fixed as physical barriers in disrepair signal lax security to opportunistic intruders. Calculate the worth of your stored valuables. Since owners often undervalue the items stored, thieves see outbuildings, or their treasure trove, as easy pickings.

Lock up

Keeping your shed as well as gates padlocked will efficiently deter thieves and keep your contents safe. Another option is to attach a strong hasp and staple, also known as a ‘padbar’ to the padlock. You may also consider locks that are difficult to cut through such as a cylinder lock because – unlike a padlock – it cannot be cut with a bolt cutter.

Regularly maintain and reinforce the existing structure of your shed

Install durable doors and windows followed by regular checks on their hinges or screws to ensure they can withstand forced entry. If they are rotten or weak, immediately replace the frames or invest in a better, robust shed. Shed hinges should be secured with coach bolts or non-returnable screws. Additionally, fix bars, screens, grilles (see RSG Security Grilles), wire mesh, curtains or netting to windows as well as a shed bar. Moreover, verify the shed is firmly anchored to the ground, as sheds can even be lifted up and moved.

Secure your garden tools and valuables

Do not leave belongings lying around or ‘well-hidden’ in your garden that can aid intruders’ access. Besides, your home insurance policy could be nullified if a thief uses your own keys, hammer or ladder to gain entry to your house. Bicycles, garden toys or a lawnmower in plain sight advertises your wealth and adds you on the burglar’s target list.

Install gadgets

Fitting a sensor light, motion sensor and a mains or battery-powered alarm to your shed will activate and prevent intruders who try to break in. Shed alarms are available from DIY stores for as little as £15. They are user friendly and convenient to fix and operate as you simply type a number into a keypad within twenty seconds of entering and leaving the shed.


Police often recommend planting thorny hedges around the perimeter, and although this may not be ideal in all situations it’s worth considering. While gardening can embellish your property, it can also be useful in keeping burglars at bay.

Insuring your shed

Check your insurance policy to see whether tools in your garden shed are covered, or if there are conditions stated such as the shed must be locked. It is equally important to insure your outbuildings for the usual fire, flood and storm damage.

Avoid keeping extremely valuable items in your shed

Although you will be covered by insurance, it is worth remembering that insurers have a ‘single article limit’. Unless you store your gold clubs, power tools or telescopes in your home, you should declare them specifically to your insurer who will arrange additional cover at an extra cost.

And, of course, don’t forget a watchdog

You don’t necessarily have to find one as ferocious as the three-headed Cerberus or as clever as Tintin’s Snowy, as long as it recognises strangers and knows how to inform its owner! However, you should teach your dog to do so, especially as burglars unfortunately use the dog whistle too and can drug your dog if it is not properly trained.

Stay informed.

Find out if there have been burglaries in your neighbourhoods, especially targeting garden sheds, and how they were conducted. Take preventative measures to ensure that you are not the next victim.

Get into the habit of fortifying your garden shed to ensure the security of your whole property. Once criminals have gained access to your outbuilding, it is not complicated to equally break into your house.