A patio without any furniture is a barren sight to behold. So is a larger garden without at least a few chairs and a table. No one will disagree that adding some furniture to these areas can make them look nicer and add functionality. But unfortunately any furniture left outdoors is an easy target for thieves lurking around the corner.
The best way to secure patio furniture is to store it indoors while you’re away. Alternatively, lock the furniture together with a steel cable and a padlock. Small battery-powered alarms can be placed on pieces of furniture or one piece if they’re all locked together so that any movement triggers the alarm. Also consider monitoring the area with a motion-sensor equipped security camera.
The first problem is that outdoor furniture is usually visible to any passerby near your property. The second problem is that there isn’t a strong barrier such as a wall and a locked door that can prevent the theft of the furniture or at least make it difficult enough to reduce the risk.
So the strategies for protecting outdoor furniture, including patio furniture need to address these two fundamental security tactics: deterrence and actual difficulty of stealing the object in question. Here are 10 very simple but effective tips you can start using today:
1. Store your outdoor furniture indoors
While some furniture might be too large to move and store on a regular basis, other pieces are small enough that it’s usually not an issue.
Keep in mind that smaller items are usually the target of theft more than larger ones simply because they’re easier to carry away. By storing them inside your garage or shed for example, you can drastically reduce the chance of them being stolen.
Also consider storing larger items if you can, especially during colder periods of the year when you’re not really using them for any purpose.
But this doesn’t necessarily mean that the furniture is now 100% secure. If your shed has a weak wooden door, thin windows, or you don’t even lock it, it can be just as easy to steal the stuff you’ve stored inside. So consider securing your shed better.
The same is true for a garage. Many home invasions happen through the garage door by using the “door fishing tactic”, because the door was left open or because the garage door opener was left in the car parked outside the house.
This third example happened to my uncle about a year ago and he was lucky enough that the thief ran away as soon as he saw him otherwise it could have ended ugly. So consider also securing your garage door better in order to prevent not only the theft of stored furniture but other items as well.
2. Lock your furniture together
This is the most simple and easy way to secure outdoor furniture. It’s not 100% foolproof but if you can’t or aren’t willing to store your furniture inside it’s the second best option.
Wind a security cable or a chain through the arms or legs of the pieces and lock them down with the designated lock or a different padlock. If the device you’re using is thick enough, chances are that the thief won’t be able to cut through it to release the furniture. At least not quickly or quietly enough to get away with it without anyone noticing.
Stealing multiple pieces of furniture locked together like that is pretty much impossible, because it’s difficult to carry and difficult to store inside a vehicle. However like I said, make sure that you’re using a strong enough chain/cable, because the protection that this method provides depends solely on the quality of the locking device being used.
I recommend using this affordable 30 ft long steel cable in combination with Master Lock solid steel padlock. The cable is tough and long enough to pull through multiple pieces of furniture, while the padlock is one of the toughest on the market and it’s designed for securing different areas. So in addition to being used with a steel cable, it can also be used to secure a garage, shed, storage unit, moving truck, trailer etc.
3. Small battery-powered alarm
A small alarm hidden on a piece of furniture is perhaps the easiest way to secure it. It’s especially useful if you lock multiple pieces of furniture together by using a security cable. That way if any piece of furniture is moved, the vibrations will trigger the alarm. The alarm will produce a lot of noise (usually around 100-120 dB) which should alert both you and your neighbors.
These small alarms are incredibly cheap, usually costing less than $10 per unit. The one that I personally use is the Doberman alarm. I use it to secure ground floor windows in my home and it’s very simple to use. Simply stick it on any surface and turn it on by flipping the switch. If the surface vibrates excessively the alarm will go off and everyone including your aunt in Mississippi will know about it!
Well, not literally, but it does produce 110 dB of noise which is standard for home alarms. That should be enough for you to hear it inside your home if the furniture is relatively close to it when the alarm goes off, unless you have some powerful sound insulation in the walls and doors of your home. Either way, you can check beforehand by triggering the alarm yourself or having someone else trigger it while you’re inside.
4. Motion sensor floodlights
You’ve definitely seen these in action so I don’t have to explain how they work. But just a small introduction for those who have no idea how this technology works: when someone enters the area that is monitored by a motion sensor, the floodlight turns on and illuminates the entire area. The strong light stays on for about a minute or so, or however long it is programmed to by the user.
This can obviously help you secure any outdoor area, including the area where your outdoor furniture is located.
A weaker alternative is to simply keep your regular outdoor lights on. However, this doesn’t exactly provide you with an alert since they won’t turn on when someone enters the area. It’s also more expensive in the long run as it can rack up your electric bill. So flood lights are simply a better option.
My first recommendation are the JJC LED Security Lights. They have two adjustable heads so it can cover a really large are.
Another great option is the Solar Flood Light from A-Zone. It has a small solar panel on top so it can self-charge on sunny days and basically light up the area throughout the night if you want without adding to your electric bill.
Both are fully waterproof and can be used in harsh weather conditions. Make sure to install your flood light device on a relatively high spot so that it’s difficult to disable or unscrew and so that it can light up the area more effectively.
5. Wireless Outdoor Security Camera
How can a WIRELESS outdoor camera protect your outdoor furniture? Well it’s another excellent deterrent AND an even better alert system. If it has a motion sensor as most wireless cameras do, it can send you a notification on your mobile phone or computer if it picks up any strange movement in the area.
This is pretty useful because you can receive the alert and check the area regardless of where you are. You could be at work or on vacation in Bahamas and still receive the alert through WiFi if someone is on your property. Then you can actually check through the camera and see what’s going on and decide whether to call the police or call your neighbor because his dog got off the leash.
It’s important that the camera has: a motion sensor, WiFi connectivity and night vision. It should also be an outdoor camera, which means that it’s more resistant to harsh weather conditions and that the video quality is better for monitoring larger areas.
The most popular (and highly rated) outdoor home security camera that has these features is Zmodo Wireless Camera from Amazon. This camera is actually pretty cheap, costing less than $35. “Wireless” means that it has WiFi connectivity, however you still need to plug it into an electric outlet. Just as with installing floodlights, it’s best to install the camera on a higher position where it’s harder to reach.
6. Set up a barrier (or two)
Any fence will improve your overall home security. Some examples are: masonry fence, wooden fence, tall and thick shrubbery. As long as the barrier is large enough to improve your privacy and makes it harder to enter it’s a welcome improvement.
Thorny shrubs can also act as a good barrier and deterrent especially at nighttime, so you can definitely plant some around your yard for better security.
Thorny shrubs can also be helpful for preventing break-ins through ground-floor windows so consider planting some next to your windows.
Putting gravel around the paths to your garden or patio can also deter thieves or alert you of their presence because walking on gravel produces a lot of noise. If furniture is dragged across the gravel, the sound will be even louder.
7. Place warning signs around your property
Most thieves avoid breaking into properties that are guarded by a dog, a surveillance system or an alarm system of any kind.
It’s pretty natural; why would they risk the chance of getting jumped on by a pit bull or caught quickly by the homeowner or the cops when there are so many other homes that are left completely unprotected?
Having said that, I don’t recommend using these deterrence devices alone, because an empty bluff is still empty, and if anyone decides to take their chances you’re left completely exposed. But in combination with some other security measures mentioned in this article it can be a huge plus.
Conclusion: Outdoor Furniture Security
Patio and garden furniture can be easily stolen if left out in the open while you’re not using it. Especially during nighttime and when you’re away from home. By using some of these methods you can drastically improve its security.
If you don’t have a garage or shed available to store it inside or you can’t do it for some reason, you can implement some of these security methods instead. A security cable, a small batter-powered alarm, motion sensor camera or floodlights and warning stickers can all be used to great effect. Many of these items are also very affordable and can last you years, some even a lifetime or longer. Furthermore, they can be used for securing your home and other items as well.
So there’s really no reason to risk it, when you can prevent furniture theft and other home invasion incidents with these simple tips. Hope this helps!