How to Secure Your Garden Office from Burglary

How safe is your garden office?

Could a burglar break in and steal your computer and printer?

Would you know it was happening?

Garden office
photo credit: YouTube

By 2020 21% of employees will be working from home. Garden offices are becoming more common as a low-cost way to provide a dedicated home office. However, a timber building, separate from your main home is always going to be a target for criminals.


Install the best locks you can find in your home office. If you are considering a smart-lock, then this CNet guide is essential reading. For a standard keyed lock this guide takes you through the various lock types.

The standard locks on your garden office building are probably low-cost, low-security models and you should replace them immediately. The lock replacement is something you can probably do yourself, but even if you need to employ a locksmith the labor is not going to be more than $100.


Office LED lighting

Criminals prefer to work in the dark. Installing security lighting will reduce your chance of being targeted. You should install a movement sensor and adjust its sensitivity, so it does not wet off the light for every cat or rabbit that is exploring your yard.

Use a LED bulb to keep energy costs down because halogen floodlights are typically 200w or more. A LED replacement is only 10w, so it uses only 5% of the electricity a halogen bulb uses.

Alarm System

You need an alarm system that covers all your garden buildings. It makes sense to install one in your home at the same time.

If you have a wired system in your home then extending it to cover your outbuildings is difficult and would mean calling in the installation company to run cables underground; an expensive proposition.

The best approach is to install a full wireless alarm system that would include your home and any outbuildings. A wireless system could cover your external home office, garage, stables and workshops without digging a single trench for a cable.

Alarm installation companies will fit a wireless alarm for you, but you can install it all yourself more quickly than you could ever believe. SimpliSafe’s Facebook video walks you through the 15-minute installation process. Yes, 15 minutes with no screwing or drilling involved; you just mount all the sensors using sticky pads. “The reality is that we’re bringing in new users, people who have never had home security because it was too much of a hassle or too expensive” says CEO Chad Laurauns on a recently published interview on Forbes. Times are a-changing and home security measures are becoming simpler to implement with each passing day.

Vintage alarm system
photo credit: Neal3K / Flickr

Alarm Components

You will need door and window opening sensors on each window in your garden office. A glass breakage sensor would be advisable, too. If you install a self-monitored camera, you will be able to check whether it is a family member in your office or a burglar before calling the police, which will avoid traumatizing your child who just wanted to send an email from your computer.

Your main control panel would be near your usual entry route to your home. The normal system would be for each family member to have their own code they can use to disarm the alarm. Most systems allows five entry codes.

You would need movement sensors for any areas where you keep valuables; bedroom, office, and living areas. A glass breakage sensor and opening sensors on all first-floor windows and doors will protect you at night.

If you have a safe for guns or valuables, you could fit an opening sensor to that to alert you if your son or daughter has somehow got the safe’s access code is borrowing your jewelry or examining your weapons. Install cameras to cover these items. You can monitor the camera using your smartphone and can decide the appropriate level of response.

Alarm Monitoring

An alarm without a monitoring service is just an annoying siren that everyone will ignore. Most alarm companies charge $30 to $50 per month to monitor your security system and call you if there is an alarm activation.

However, there are reputable companies that charge less and will even give you an app that allows you to control your system from your phone.

Your Decision

When you consider the value of your home office contents and how vulnerable an external office is to burglary, an alarm system becomes the only option. Many home insurance companies will reduce your annual premium if you have a monitored alarm system. This reduction will partly offset the cost of your monitoring service.