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Protecting your stuff in the garden

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It’s that time of year when you can start to appreciate your garden once again and begin to use it as an outside living space.

That means getting out your garden furniture, sprinklers, the barbeque, children’s toys, and some of the many tools and machinery you’re likely to use to keep the place looking spic and span.

It also means that you might be leaving some quite valuable possessions lying around the garden, just ripe for picking by thieves or loss or damage during the inevitable summer downpours. According to advice from the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), the value of garden structures, equipment and plants frequently runs into the thousands of pounds.

Although your home insurance might offer some protection against such theft, loss or damage, you still have a responsibility for mitigating any losses by taking all reasonable care – here are some ways you might do that:

The garden shed

  • practically every home has one and whilst some are fitted with a rusty mortice lock or old padlock, other don’t even have that;
  • whether it’s a small, creaky old wooden shed or a more substantial brick one, it clearly needs to be kept a secure store for your expensive garden tools and equipment. 
  • DIY Doctor offers a detailed look at some of the latest security locks for sheds, but also notes that thieves are becoming cleverer and cleverer in dealing with them and you might therefore want to consider closed circuit television (CCTV) as a failsafe;

Motion detector lights

  • a somewhat cheaper alternative to a full-scale CCTV system is a simpler motion detector light; 
  • these have been around for quite some time, but are very effective in lighting up your garden light a football stadium – enough to deter all but the most determined of thieves;
  • remember to adjust the sensitivity of the detector, so that the slightest movement of the leaves blowing about or your cat out on the prowl doesn’t light up the skies; 

Immobilise things

  • some of your garden stuff can be moved all too easily – and those are the items you need to lock away in your shed or storeroom (where you keep them safely enough out of the way for the rest of the year);
  • you might need to find a way to immobilise some items – wheelbarrows, for example, have been cheekily used to wheel away a lawnmower and a patio space heater;
  • another of those items which might be difficult to find enough space are ladders – they are all too often just left by the side of a shed, fence or garage, where they are an open invitation for burglars to shin up and gain access to your house, so make sure to padlock them to something immovable. 

The last thing you want to spoil your summer days and evenings – apart from rainy weather, that is – is hours of paperwork making out a home insurance claim, or, even worse, finding that your particular policy doesn’t cover garden items. 

So, it is worth checking at the end of each day that everything has been put away – or firmly tied down and anchored to something that will not budge.

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