With all the recent sunshine, sales of patio furniture have been on the rise in the UK.
The recent Royal wedding and the performances so far by the England football team at the World Cup seem to have added to the feel good factor.
And while Brexit uncertainty seems to loom over much of the UK economy, the sun always seems to override any negativity in our industry.
The good weather of recent weeks has encouraged many of us to open our wallets, providing a boost to both Lazy Susan, and the wider garden industry. Be it BBQ grills or patio furniture, we’re spending on our outdoor spaces.
I recently read an article on the FT.com that quoted Barclaycard as confirming that spending growth was strong in garden centres. The good weather has seen an increase of almost 24% in garden centre spend in 2018 from the same time last year.
But with a prolonged period of good weather, there’s always that temptation just to just leave your furniture in the garden.
When we see a good forecast for the week ahead, I suppose it makes sense to just leave our furniture on the patio, so it is there ready to use when we get the chance. However, it also makes it an easy target for opportunistic thieves.
In a recent article in Bournemouth’s Daily Echo, police have warned that thieves are breaking into gardens in the Wimborne area to steal patio furniture.
Wimborne is less than an hours drive from Lazy Susan HQ. That’s close to home. The article states that in just one week, officers from Dorset Police were called to seven reports of the offence in one street alone. Each time, it was patio furniture that was taken.
How to keep your patio furniture secure
At first, it may seem an odd item to steal. Bulky, difficult to carry etc. But when you think about it, it’s an expensive item, and it is just sat outside, ready to take. Good patio furniture will hold it’s value too. I’ve seen second hand Lazy Susan sets on eBay for as much as £500 – £800.
It is an easy target for opportunistic thieves. So it makes sense to keep your patio furniture secure.
And if you can’t store it in a locked shed or garage, then don’t worry, in this article I will run through a few of our favourite ways of protecting patio sets.
Store patio furniture in the shed or garage
A shed or garage can contain hundreds of pounds worth of tools and other equipment, but they are often overlooked in terms of home security arrangements.
Many of us will just have a lock. And while we will alarm our homes, often a shed or detached garage are not.
You must ensure that your shed is in good condition if you plan to use it to sore patio furniture, the BBQ, garden tools etc. All these items are exactly what thieves are looking for.
Replace any rotten wood, and ensure door/window frames are in good working order too.
If you’re buying a new shed, then position it so that it faces your house and isn’t too close to a wall or gate that will offer easy access to thieves. Use security lighting and an alarm, more of which in a moment.
It may seem a little obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people take no security precautions with their Lazy Susan furniture. Especially those of us who don’t have a shed or garage to store it in. I know I’m guilty of just leaving it on the patio.
I guess the size of a patio set or garden bench makes us think its safe. However, that is no issue for a couple of low life’s in a van.
The most effective way of keeping thieves out of your garden is to make life as difficult as possible for them. Reduce the number of places they can hide by keeping hedges etc low around your property.
Install security lighting in dark areas. Install a motion sensitive CCTV camera on the rear of your property. Keep any side gates locked etc.
These are just a few of the simple steps you can take to keep your new Lazy Susan patio furniture secure.
Use ground anchors to secure your patio furniture
If indoor storage is not an option, then we would advise you install ground anchors to keep your patio furniture secure. It is a simple and cost effective solution, but it will put off the passing thief.
Here at Lazy Susan we are big fans of the Sterling range of locks and security anchors. They’re available from many of the leading home and DIY stores both online and on the high street.
Their security anchors (pictured above) can be bolted to your patio, decking or walls and then you simply pass a security cable (pictured above) through all your expensive patio equipment, and lock it all together. 2 minute job.
Motion detector lights will turn on if they detect any motion, such as people or animals walking by. They are inexpensive, and most models can be programmed for range and sensitivity, so that you can avoid having the lights go on each time a cat walks by.
The Lighting Superstore have a great range of both traditional and contemporary style security lights. The Maxi Double Wall Light (pictured above) is a very reasonable £66. A fair price for good looks and superb performance.
Most of their security lights feature built-in PIR movement detection sensors that are activated by heat and movement. Plus, if you’re looking to minimise wiring and save money, they have and extensive range of solar powered and LED security lights too.
Property mark your patio furniture
Another worthwhile exercise to help and keep your patio furniture secure is to visibly mark your property with your postcode. This makes it just that little bit harder for thieves to sell on, and easily identifies it as stolen.
You can etch or marked in ink, UV marker or with self-laminated stickers, which can be a easily applied to the underside of tables and chairs.
It might not stop them from being taken, but anything that makes life more difficult for those that have taken it, or could help the police, well its worth doing in my book.
This article from the Met Police has some great advice on property marking – Mark your property to deter burglars – and similar articled can be found on the websites of most regional police forces.
Gates and fencing
It is important to ensure the perimeter of your property is secure if you want to keep your patio furniture secure. If thieves can’t get easy access to your patio, then it could put them off.
Its not always easy, and depends on your property, but try to make sure that any fences or walls are in good condition. That any gates are secure with no signs of rot, good locks etc, so that they can’t simply be kicked down.
Stealing patio furniture as I have said throughout this post is often a crime of opportunity, so anything you can do to make it more difficult for the thieves, is a good thing.
Low fencing for example will give them easy access, so go for panels which are at least 1.8 metres high.
Just be sure to seek approval/advice from your local planning office before you make any security improvements. You need to make sure there are no height restriction in place etc.
Insure your patio furniture
And finally, just as important as keeping your patio furniture secure, is to make sure it is insured.
Many of us assume we don’t really need insurance cover for your patio furniture, or other garden items for that matter. We assume that it is covered by your home insurance policy. Not always the case, you need to check.
Opportunistic thieves see them as a source of rich (and easy) pickings. You should also thing about the value of your plants, ornaments and other pieces of outdoor equipment too. Its not just patio furniture, our gardens can be filled with expensive, but in the terms of planting etc, much cherished.
And to mention the effort we often put into our gardens, so it is important, I feel, that we look at appropriate insurance cover for our gardens. At the very least ensure our main home policy covers all of these things.
Often the standard home insurance policy will include a certain amount of cover for garden items, but in my experience the amount and level of cover can vary dramatically. It’s vital to check that you have enough cover in place.
Check your policy
Sheds, garages, patios and conservatories etc will usually fall under your buildings insurance, they are classed as part of the home’s fixtures and fittings.
Items that thieves can pick up and remove from your property such as patio furniture are classed as contents, but often you find that the insurance companies will limit the amount you can claim for items outside in the garden, with a separate limit for those in a shed or outbuilding. You need to check the details carefully.
You could find like me that the limit for items secured my shed was only £2,000, while in the garden it only covered me up to £500. This simply wasn’t enough cover for what I had, so I had to look for better cover. These figures can vary significantly from policy to policy.
I’m afraid I’m know expert and I have been caught out in the past. However, if you’re unsure about what you need, then the Money Advice Service is a good place to start.