I know what it feels like to have expensive tools and appliances in a poorly secured shed. You just never feel entirely sure that you’ll find them there the next morning. Until one morning.. you find the door lock broken and your new portable generator and toolkit missing.
To prevent this from happening, many shed owners use different security measures and devices. Some of them are better than others, so in this article I’ve narrowed down the best 14 tips for securing a garden shed, and some of them you can start using immediately:
1. Make the shed more visible
The best position for a shed is a location where it’s clearly visible from the house but not visible from the street. This serves two purposes; you are more likely to see the thief and the shed will draw less attention from strangers.
Surrounding your yard with a tall fence can be helpful at eliminating prying eyes from the street. Eliminating any wide and tall vegetation like shrubs and bushes between your home and the shed will improve its visibility on the positive end.
This type of vegetation makes for great hiding spots which thieves love to exploit, so either trim it down or remove it completely.
You can also install motion sensor floodlights and direct them at the shed or the area surrounding an entrance point to it like a door or a window.
This motion sensor has two floodlight heads so it can illuminate a larger area. It will activate if a thief comes near the observed area, making you aware of the fact so you can respond in time. Floodlights can also serve as a good deterrent since most thieves prefer to work in darkness.
2. Anchor the shed
If your shed is small, a thief could potentially lift one side up in order to gain access. Anchoring the shed to the ground can prevent this from happening and protect the shed from a hurricane.
You could secure it further by attaching it to a wall, which would also provide protection during windy days.
If your shed is light and small, a thief could drive it away instead of breaking inside. This isn’t a common occurrence, but it can definitely happen with smaller sheds that can be slid onto a trailer.
To prevent this specifically from happening, surround it with heavy concrete bollards, which won’t allow getting close with a vehicle in order to scoop it up.
3. Get a stronger door
Many sheds have thin wooden doors that can easily be kicked in. If this is the case with your shed, consider replacing it with a solid wood door or a steel door.
But replacing the door can be quite expensive and require professional assistance. A perhaps more reasonable alternative is to reinforce the door that’s already in place with powerful security products.
4. Secure the door hinge
If your shed has an outswing door (a door that opens outward), the hinge can be manipulated from the outside. The pin holding the door in place can be removed, and then the door can also be removed.
There are two easy ways to secure door hinges. For steel doors you can use this affordable hinge protector which prevents the lifting of the door even if someone messes with the hinge.
An even better alternative is a security hinge with a non-removable pin. These tough stainless steel ball bearing hinges can be installed on any door that is 1 5/8 inches to 1 3/4 inches thick.
5. Get a deadbolt lock
Unless your shed has pretty large and hidden windows, chances are that the burglar will attempt to open the door first. It often produces less noise than breaking a glass window and it’s a more convenient entry point overall.
If the door lock is weak, it will make your arch nemesis’ job much easier. The simplest improvement you can make is to install a deadbolt lock.
A deadbolt is different than a regular spring bolt lock because it can’t be moved to the open position except by rotating the key. This drastically reduces the risks of common lock manipulations used by burglars.
A very simple and affordable, but effective lock is the Kwikset Single Cylinder Deadbolt. It’s a low-tech option if you’re not interested in any extra features.
If you want a lock that provides you with more locking and unlocking options I recommend Kwikset Electronic Deadbolt which features a keypad as well. With this lock you can set an entry code and use a key. It also allows you to lock the door faster, by pressing a single button, or it can lock automatically in 30 seconds.
There are a few more technologically advanced (and expensive) locks available as well, but I feel that simple, low maintenance options are often the best. Locks with too many options can get annoying quickly, and I recommend them only for tech geeks who want a lot of customization options.
Even then however, I don’t see much use for in-depth customization options for a shed door lock since it’s probably used less and perhaps by less people than the exterior doors of your house anyway. So simple but effective locks like the Kwiksets would probably be the most convenient option for most readers.
6. Protect the window
Any large window that can be used to enter the shed or steal nearby objects needs to be protected. There are many great window security options you can use to do this, including:
Having metal bars/grills covering the glass window will make it way harder for a burglar to break the glass, let alone enter through the window.
This is one of the most popular window security measures used by homeowners, and there’s a great selection of window bars available on Amazon.
Make sure that the dimensions are adequate before buying. The bars should be a bit larger then the window so that they can be properly installed in front of it.
WINDOW SECURITY FILM:
Some people don’t like to use window bars because they don’t like their appearance or because they can somewhat limit the functionality of the window. In that case the second best security measure is to cover the glass panels with security film.
This film will make it harder to break the window because it’s designed to absorb impact and keep the glass shards in place. So it would require more time, effort and noise for a burglar to break it.
I wrote a full window security film guide designed to help you find the best product for your requirements and how to install it properly.
A very simple, under $10 alarm like Doberman can be used to further secure a shed window. Simply stick it on the glass surface with it’s adhesive backside facing the window. If anyone tries to open the window or smash the glass, the vibrations will trigger it to produce 110 dB of noise which will surely alarm you and others nearby!
This alarm runs on small cell batteries which are also inexpensive and can last for a long time. It goes without saying that it can be used on other windows as well, and I think everyone should have this type of an alarm at least on the ground-floor windows of their home.
IMPROVED WINDOW LOCK:
If you have a sliding window, get a device like Burglarbar, which makes it nearly impossible to open the window from the outside. For regular windows you probably don’t need to upgrade the lock in any way because opening the window is more difficult.
You can probably skip this step altogether if you install metal bars on the window, since it will be out of reach of the burglars anyway.
Having said that, consider improving the privacy of your shed so that people don’t get tempted to steal all of the nice things you’ve stored inside.
You can improve shed privacy by covering the glass window panels with inexpensive privacy film or hanging some curtains/shades on the window instead.
Some thorny shrubs in front of the window can act as a natural deterrent. If the thief can’t approach the window without getting bruised in the process, chances are that he/she will look for another way inside or will switch to your neighbors shed instead.
The shrubbery should be large and close enough to the window so there’s no way of getting around it. I think this can be a great security measure, but I don’t recommend using it alone for securing a window. Use it in combination with other tips for better results.
7. Mount a real or dummy security camera
When you think of home security, you probably think of an alarm system and a security camera monitoring the front door or the gates of your mansion. If that’s the case, you have a perfectly reasonable imagination.
These two devices are most commonly used and very effective. Modern security cameras serve multiple functions:
- deterrence – all intruders generally avoid entering areas that are monitored via a security camera
- surveillance – the camera will monitor the area, and some outdoor cameras have a large vision and motion sensor range so it can replace many other devices in the monitored area.
- real time alerts – a camera with motion sensor technology and Wifi connectivity can send alerts on a computer or phone if it notices any strange activity, this is especially useful when you’re not at home and for vacant properties in general
- night vision – if you’re purchasing a security camera, make sure that it has infrared vision otherwise it won’t do much for nighttime protection
One camera that has all of these properties and is also really affordable is the Zmodo outdoor security camera. Night vision, motion sensor, WiFi connectivity and cloud storage space for recordings are all included in a package that costs less than $70. Actually it’s even cheaper than that, since you get 2 of these cameras for that price.
Many experts and regular home and business owners are full of praise for this camera, and it has over 7000 reviews on Amazon so you can see the responses for yourself.
Of course, there are many other cameras, some fancier and some less fancy. But this is a pretty reliable camera and I feel that it’s just right for monitoring areas around the house or in this case, a garden shed.
Keep in mind that you’ll need to plug it into a power outlet so you might need to use an extension cord and drill a small hole in order to pull the wire through. It all depends on where you install it of course.
Mount it a bit higher so that it’s out of reach, adjust the view and the lens, install the app on your electronic device and let the fun begin.
If you don’t feel like you need a camera to record or send alerts that’s completely fine. If you use a few of the other methods on this list you’ll probably be fine without it.
But you could mount a dummy security camera instead, in order to trick people into believing that the area is monitored. You’ll get the deterrence benefit of having a camera without having to do any installation except for mounting it on a wall.
8. Get a guard dog
Having a guard dog in your backyard or garden is one of the best deterrents ever. It’s worked for thousands of years for keeping wild animals and human intruders away and it works just as well today.
Any dog that barks at strangers can be useful to alarm you of an intruder, but not every dog will do it, at least not in a disciplined way. Some dogs are too friendly with strangers and training a guard dog in general involves a lot of work.
First you need to pick the right breed, and even then whether a dog is good for the job depends on his personality. Then you also need to train him properly to attack, defend and stop being aggressive on command. Otherwise you could put yourself and others in danger.
Overall, this is a large responsibility and I don’t recommend getting a guard dog for the sole purpose of securing a garden shed. But it’s a valid additional benefit of having a guard dog monitoring your property 24/7.
9. Lockable storage box
You can further secure your tools and electronic devices by locking them in a storage container or cabinet. This will do three things;
- It’s an extra barrier that the thief will need to unlock in order to reach for the tools. This will take more time and effort and could lead to producing noise that can make you aware that something fishy is going on.
- The thief will not know what’s inside the box and might leave it alone if the lock is too difficult to break.
- A large container filled with tools or electronics will be too heavy to carry as opposed to individual tools laying around.
I still recommend securing the storage container to the wall or floor of the shed with anchors and a thick chain or security cable. Check out the next tip to learn how it’s done.
10. Secure larger items to floor anchors
Floor anchors are steel loops that can be bolted to the floor so you can secure larger appliances, bike, portable generator or any other item. So even if someone manages to break into the shed they won’t be able to take away the secured item.
Floor anchors are especially powerful if you can secure them to a concrete floor (video guide). They could potentially be ripped out of a wooden floor, but that’s also highly unlikely.
Here are just a couple of things you can secure with floor anchors:
- tool box
- power generator
- large power tools
But the options are pretty much limitless as long as you have a good security chain or cable.
11. Build a tall fence
There are many benefits to having a tall fence around your property. More personal privacy, less traffic noise, improved security and less strangers knowing about your latest shiny toys. The stronger the fence is the better, but anything is better than nothing.
Some tall shrubbery or a basic wooden fence will deter some thieves and make it overall more difficult to take out your stuff from the shed. For an even better deterrent, install an outdoor security camera or a good old dummy (fake) camera on the fence to monitor your shed or the surrounding area.
You can also place spikes on top of the fence, making it much harder to climb over.
12. Use warning signs and stickers for deterrence
Place warnings around your property letting others know that its well secured. You can warn them about having a guard dog, surveillance system, alarms or that a neighborhood watch is active in your neighborhood.
There’s a large collection of warning signs and stickers on Amazon so maybe you’ll find a few you like. If you decide to use any, make sure to place them on spots that are clearly visible from the outside, like on the fence and on the front entrance.
Cool fact: The Doberman alarm that I mentioned earlier also has a warning sticker on the backside, so if you stick it on a glass surface it will show off on the other end.
13. Keep all of your tools inside
Hand tools and power tools left in the yard can be stolen or used to brake into the shed or even your home. Make sure to collect them and store inside when you’re done using them, especially at nighttime.
14. Get insurance
Having good insurance obviously won’t protect your shed physically, but in case anything gets stolen you could get reimbursed for its value. If you have a lot of expensive inside, you could invest in an insurance policy that covers those items and the shed itself.
Or even better, ask your agent if it’s possible to add them to your current homeowner’s policy. It might be possible for a small increase in your premium and would save you the excessive worrying you might be rightfully feeling at the moment.
These 14 tips are a combination of security methods that I’ve personally used for my own home security projects and that other experts and regular folks have shared on various forums and online articles. Most of them are really easy to use and inexpensive.
I recommend prioritizing door and window security and placing some solid deterrents around your property, such as a real or fake cameras and some warning signs and stickers.
This should be enough to keep most of the bad guys away from your home and focusing on weaker targets instead. Hope this helps!