9 in 10 household thefts occur in the garden. So just how safe is your garden?

Experts reveal the best ways to protect gardens from theft

Did you know there are roughly 600,000 reported thefts from gardens every year in the UK?

The study by SunLife, a leading financial services provider, reveals that there were precisely 595,000 thefts ‘outside a dwelling’ last year. An alarming 23 per cent increase from 2017’s figure of 483,000.

This staggering sum amounts to an average of around 11,500 thefts from outside homes every week. That's a whopping 90 per cent of all household thefts.

In other news: Martin Lewis'; top tip that could save you over £1000 on your home insurance

We asked the insurance experts for their advice on how to protect gardens from theft...

red wall house with garden and outdoor dinning table and chair

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Darren Chung)

No longer just a green space for plant pots and the odd watering can, gardens these days house all manner of expensive equipment. From expensive garden furniture to top of the range BBQs, trampolines and even hot tubs.

Gardens are therefore most at risk during the summer months, when more of these expensive items are left out for ease.

Most of us wouldn't think twice about leaving out lawnmowers, paddling pools, bikes, toys and gardening equipment. But after seeing the stats, perhaps we should be doing more to ensure gardens are not at further risk.

We ask Simon Stanney, General Insurance Director at SunLife, to share his five top tips on how to protect ours garden, and their contents from theft this summer.

How to protect gardens from theft

Lock up and secure items away

garden shed with wooden door wooden seat and plants

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Mark Bolton)

'If you are out all day in the garden, it is tempting to leave tools, furniture, bikes and other valuables out, either for use again the next day, or while you pop out for more supplies. But leaving them out makes them prime targets for thieves, so it is important that you put these items away. Lock any sheds, garages and gates.'

Simon goes on to say 'It's a sad fact that thieves use tools they find in gardens to break into houses, so don’t make it easy for them.'

Install outdoor lights

'One of the biggest deterrents for thieves is motion sensitive security lights. They draw attention to your home and put thieves off from targeting it. Making it ‘noisy’ to enter your garden can also discourage would-be thieves, so putting gravel down can help. Having high fences, walls and hedges to make entering your garden more difficult is also a good idea.'

Secure free-standing items to the ground, fence or wall

shelves on pink table drawer and chair fruit basket on wooden flooring

(Image credit: Future PLC/ David Brittain)

'While ideally, all valuable items would be put away to prevent theft, sometimes this is simply not practical. For bigger items which cannot easily be stored, think about anchoring them to the ground. Garden furniture thefts accounts for the majority of garden thefts, so prevent it by using wall or floor anchors.'

'It is also a good idea to secure things like trampolines, water features, bird tables, and valuable plants, hanging brackets and potted trees and shrubs. By anchoring them with wires, or setting in concrete, it makes it almost impossible for thieves to take them away.'

Leave a fingerprint

'It is a good idea to mark all your valuables. Not only does it make them identifiable, which can help with the recovery, if they are stolen you've made it clear to thieves that your items are marked. They may appear less appealing and potentially less valuable, so not worth taking.'

Don’t make it obvious when you're away

red brick wall house with white window and roof

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Spike Powell)

'If you are away, try and get someone to pop over every now and again to water your plants, put your rubbish out on the right day - perhaps even mow your lawn – so it will look like you are still around. Maybe see if someone will park their car on your drive at night too'.

'Think about putting lights on a timer and don’t post pictures of your holiday on social media while you’re still away!'

All sound advice, we think you'll agree.

Related: Are you breaking the law in your own back garden?

'All these measures should be a good deterrent, but nothing can keep your home and garden completely safe. It is imperative you make sure you have good, comprehensive cover in place' Simon concludes.

Make sure your garden is safe before you invest in all new summer accessories.


Tamara was Ideal Home's Digital Editor before joining the Woman & Home team in 2022. She has spent the last 15 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, both now at Future PLC. It’s with these award wining interiors teams that she's honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing. Tamara is always ahead of the curve when it comes to interiors trends – and is great at seeking out designer dupes on the high street.