• British homeowners store valuable belongings in sheds and garages – but often forget to lock or secure their outbuildings
  • Burglars have more opportunities to make off with your possessions during the summer months
  • Prevent thieves from stealing your stuff by making a few simple changes 

In Britain, it's thought that the average homeowner stashes around £1,000 worth of belongings like gardening, DIY and sports equipment, in their sheds and garages. Sheds left unlocked and unsecured are easy pickings for opportunistic burglars; valuables such as bicycles, lawn mowers and power tools are among the items most commonly stolen from UK gardens and sheds.

During the summer, gardens become even more of a treasure trove, with digital radios, sound systems and tablets potentially being left outdoors from time to time. Quality garden furniture and patio heaters come out of storage too, meaning the value of your garden contents can dramatically increase in the summer months.

Here are some ideas to prevent thieves from making off with your belongings while the sun shines.

1.  Lock your windows and doors

Thieves are opportunists, so, although it might sound obvious, make sure you close and lock all your windows and doors if you're popping out – even if you're just nipping to get a '99' from the Mr Whippy van.

2. Secure your shed or garage with suitable locks

Locking your shed or garage with a quality padlock can help to deter burglars and protect your valuable belongings stored inside. If they're determined and manage to get inside your outbuildings, additional locks to bicycles or lawnmowers can help to put off burglars looking for a quick getaway.

3. Keep your valuables hidden from sight

If you're heading indoors, gather up valuable items like mobile phones, tablets, jewellery and sunglasses. But don't leave them in plain sight of windows or patio doors – burglars won't think twice about entering your home if there are easy pickings to be had. If the sun's gone in for the day, put away any garden furniture or bicycles in the shed. Covering bikes, mowers and tools with a tarpaulin, or keeping them away from windows so they can't be seen, can add an extra level of security.

4. Grow natural defences to keep burglars out

Prickly hedges and dense bushes can help to protect your garden and put off potential intruders. Giant Rhubarb, Blue Spruce, Firethorn and Purple Berberis all have thorny stems which could help to secure your garden (and they all add a splash of vibrant colour!)

5. Install security systems

A brilliant deterrent for anyone who's up to no good and sneaking around your property at night, motion-sensitive security lights can help you feel safer once the sun's gone down and it's dark. You could also consider installing a burglar alarm on sheds, garages and outbuildings. From simple alarms to systems that transmit CCTV images to your mobile phone, there's a wide range to choose from.

6. Get adequate cover

Perhaps most importantly, you should make sure your home insurance is up to date and that it covers all of your belongings, including garden furniture. Some contents policies may even cover valuable plants too. It might be a good idea to take photos of your valuables as sometimes that can make it easier to claim on your insurance.

With all of these ideas in place, you'll be able to relax and enjoy spending time in the garden this summer.