9 Backyard Shed Security Measures You Can Take at Home

Infographic of a home shed with a padlock on it

You keep a lot of valuable things inside your backyard shed. In addition to the usual home and garden supplies, you might have thousands of dollars worth of tools out there. These items are commonly stolen in the more than 1 million burglaries that take place each year in the United States. Fortunately, taking a few fairly simple shed security measures can help to make your shed burglar resistant and even help you to catch would-be thieves and get your property back. Have a look over these nine measures you can take to better protect your shed, the items inside of it, and, by extension, the rest of your property from intruders.

1. Add External Locks

Adding locks seems like a basic shed security measure, but it’s surprising how many people overlook this as a first step. Many sheds come with their own locks, which will be of varying quality and strength. More than a few shed owners assume that what they have is adequate straight from the factory. This generally isn’t true, however, and many burglars are totally capable of forcing a factory-standard shed lock in just a few seconds. Adding a padlock of decently high quality is as easy as buying the lock and putting it on, and at a stroke, it makes forcing the door dramatically harder. Having a visible lock on the outside of your shed might also help to deter would-be thieves before they enter your property as well since a sufficiently heavy shed lock is probably more trouble than it’s worth.

2. Install a Shed Security Bar

If one exterior lock is good, two can be better. Shed security bars are long horizontal beams made from basically unbreakable metal that you attach to the outside of your shed’s doors. The bar crosses the door, or doors if it has doubles, and locks on both ends. While it’s in place, it’s effectively impossible to get the door open since the bar totally prevents movement and holds the door tightly closed. It’s also an intimidating sight to intruders since it indicates that you take shed security seriously.

3. Replace Your Shed’s Hinges

Infographic of a backyard with a shed security lock

Hinges are a potential weak point in any shed’s security profile. It’s all well and good to set up a sturdy shed and mount extra-secure doors onto it, but if they have weak hinges, it’s almost worse than having no doors at all. You can get decent shed security hinges at most home supply stores, and there’s no real drawback to getting the heaviest gauge you can afford. Mount the hinges as directed, using long threaded bolts to sink them deep into the shed’s frame. Keep the hinges oiled and inspect them from time to time to make sure they’re not rusting or worn out anywhere along their length.

4. Fix Your Shed to a Solid Foundation

If your shed can be tipped over or easily hauled off, it’s not properly secure. Fixing your shed to a concrete slab is an effective way to turn your shed into a fixed, permanent building that’s as hard to carry away as your garage. This is also a good idea if you live in an area that gets high winds since a solid concrete slab helps prevent a shed from blowing or washing away in storms.

5. Install Foot Anchors

Once your shed has a solid foundation to anchor it down, you can install foot anchors inside to secure your most valuable items against break-ins that get through the doors. A foot anchor is a small metal loop you sink into the floor, setting it deep enough that it can’t be easily pulled out. Run an unbreakable steel cable through the loop and around your lawnmower, moped, or anything else you keep in the shed that you can’t afford to have stolen.

6. Replace the Windows

Like hinges, windows are a very obvious weak point in your shed security that burglars will invariably go for first. Ideally, your shed won’t have any windows at all, though many designs use small glass panes for natural light. If you can’t seal over the windows entirely, think about installing security glass to resist break-in attempts. If a total replacement isn’t in the budget, many sheds can support the same steel window bars that fit on your house. You should also give thought to papering over the windows. Many would-be thieves peek through shed windows before breaking in to see whether there’s anything in there worth the effort. Something as simple as aluminum foil or a sheet of butcher’s paper could be the difference between an attempted break-in and a frustrated thief.

7. Switch to a Metal Roof

Surprisingly few shed owners think about whether their shed roof can stand up to a burglary attempt, but it’s one of the more common access points for break-ins. Plastic or thin sheet metal roofs are basically unable to stand up to a determined attacker with even basic hand tools. Keep this in mind when you’re choosing your shed, and try to get one with a secure roof made from decently thick metal. If you can’t find one of those, you can usually replace the roof it came with, one made from steel, or even add Spanish tiles or other house roofing to a large enough backyard shed.

8. Install an Alarm Just for Your Shed

Alarms are extremely helpful in fighting residential break-ins. Not only do they have a deterrent effect on passing potential intruders, as even a lawn sign announcing the alarm system’s presence spells trouble for burglars, but they can also set off a shrill tone that attracts neighbors’ attention and often sends intruders running. Attaching the alarm to lights heightens the effect, and connecting to a phone service to alert the police might even get a shed burglar caught on his way off of your property.

9. Mount Cameras Inside and Out

Cameras have two roles to play in enhancing your shed security. First, cameras mounted in highly visible locations signal to burglars that they will be leaving video evidence behind if they hit your shed. This deterrent is also helpful in turning away house burglars as well. Second, the cameras actually do record crimes in progress, which can help catch the thief and get you back your property. A good security camera will also alert your smartphone to a prowler, which gives you a bit of lead time inside the house or at your workplace to call for help or confront the intruder. You might also want to install a discreet camera inside your shed that’s not likely to be found during a break-in. This might help solve the crime, but it will almost certainly help with any insurance claim you’re going to make after your shed security is breached.

Many homeowners utilize a shed on their property to store tools, yard appliances, and more. Unfortunately, these are often targeted items for burglars, as most sheds lack the same security features as a home. You can combat this risk with things as simple as replacing your hinges and locks. You can also provide added security measures, like roof and foundational support and an alarm. With these nine changes, a burglar won’t stand a chance against your shed. 

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