As the days get lighter and the weather gets warmer there is typically an unfortunate increase in thefts, especially of items that are left outdoors in the garden.  Children's toys, plants, garden furniture, and other valuable outdoor items can be easy pickings for thieves. The average British garden contents have a value of nearly £2,000 so it is very important to secure the garden.  There are a number of ways to ensure the garden is secure, including the use of secure fencing, gates, locks, lights, and marking property, as well as alterations that make garden fences more difficult to climb. The latter may involve applying a sort of topper to the fence. There is no guarantee a thief will not still climb the fence, but it will be a deterrent that may make the thief choose an easier target.  Furthermore, if a thief still tries to climb the fence the extra bother will take more time and will be more difficult to avoid drawing attention. The following suggestions may help deter any unwanted garden visitors.


The first line of defence against an unwanted intruder in the garden is a surrounding fence with lockable gates. If there is no fence and there is a concern about theft, a strong fence should be installed. A good guideline to follow for fence height is four feet (1.2m) at the front part of the house / property.  This includes any gates, fencing, hedges, or walls. It is important that passer-byers are able to see to the yard. This makes it more difficult for thieves to go undetected if they did make it into the garden. The rest of the fence not facing the front of the property should be the standard six feet (1.8m). If there happens to be any sort of public access on either side of the garden it is suggested to increase the height of the fence to six feet six inches (2m). Planning permission is usually required if the fence or structure is to be any higher.

Lockable Gates

Once the secure fencing is in place it is important to lock up any access points to the garden with a strong lockable gate. The height of gates should be the same height as the fence, with hinges that attach securely to the gateposts. Then be sure to use the locks. After a day in the garden or other activities it is important to lock up the shed, gate, and garage (all that apply). The locks should not be accessible from over the fence; they should be out of reach.

Security Lighting

The use of lighting is generally a good deterrent against thieves. It is especially important to use lighting near windows and doors. A great option for security lighting is the type of lights that are triggered by differences daylight so they turn on automatically at dusk and turn off at dawn, or the type that are triggered by movement.

Identify Property

A really good practice to deter thieves, especially if they do make it into the garden is to mark all of the property. Police advise homeowners to mark valuable items like ornaments and furniture with the postcode and home number. This information can be etched on the items or even painted on. It should be placed in an easily visible location on the items so thieves can readily see it; this makes the items less tempting to steal. However, if the items are still stolen it may be easier to recover them with the information on them. Lastly, theft of any property typically will involve the police or maybe even an insurer so take and keep photos of the garden valuables if anything is vandalised or stolen.

Apply Fence Toppers

While the fence is the first line against intruders into the garden, fences are sometimes easy to climb. There are a number of ways to make more secure fencing by applying various toppings to the fence. Fixing a square shaped timber trellis of about 300mm to 600mm in height and with battens about 15 to 20mmý can deter climbing. To make the best use of this type of topping use it for support of some type of prickly shrub. There is a wide selection of thorny plants that are sometimes classified as defensive shrubs. Make sure the topping is affixed in such a way that it is not easily pulled off. The firm fixing will also ensure it can carry the weight of the chosen climbing plant. It is best to use pressure treated timber, galvanised fixings, or stainless steel for this type of structure so there is no worry about rotting timber.

If you want to make sure your fence is harder for thieves to climb, take a look at the taller fences that we offer and watch our video below for more information on high level fencing: