Garden theft has become a growing problem over the last several years. This is not surprising considering how expensive everything is becoming and people's finances have become more stressed. Here are some steps that you can take to keep your garden safe from opportunistic thieves.

Begin with at the garden's boundary. Planting dense hedges will help dissuade would-be thieves from entering, particularly if your hedges are of a thorny type. Some plants that would make great hedges are the hawthorn, blackthorn, gorse, berberis, and holly.

Already existing fences do not need to be removed. You can make them more difficult to climb by attaching a trellis the top. A trellis would be unlikely to hold an intruder's weight. Use one that is at least 30 cm deep, and consider planting a climbing rose such as the thorny Rugose rose. Other thorny roses that you could use include "School Girl," "New Dawn," and "Iceberg."

If you don't have the time to build a trellis and would prefer, you could add some tall posts to your fence and run wire between them above the top level of the fence. These wires can have the any of the above species of thorny roses trained through them.

Keep the front yard garden hedges and fences low to prevent thieves from hiding behind them. If your back yard garden has an access gate, keep it locked. Clutch-head screws can be used on your latch to prevent thieves from unscrewing it to gain access to your garden. These same screws can work on the hinges too. Test your gate. You'd be shocked at how many garden gates can be easily lifted off the hinges according to Ian Beevis of Propertytoinsure.

Build your travel paths and driveways with gravel. Thieves will be discouraged from entering because it is impossible to move quietly over a gravel path.

Installing CCTV systems and motion sensitive lighting will also help to deter thieves. Look for camera systems that you can monitor remotely, and choose to place cameras in both visible and hidden locations.

If you have particularly valuable planters or urns, anchor them in cement or chain them to an immovable object to make it difficult for thieves to run off with them. Use coach bolts to secure planters to the ground. Hanging baskets can be secured by the use of lockable brackets or feeding a chain through the rim of the basket and securing it to a wall. Mark all of your valuable planters and urns with a UV pen, or even have them engraved with your contact information. Do this somewhere inconspicuous.

Oil tanks should be kept where they are visible from the house. Attach a closed-shackle lock to the inlet lid. This type of lock cannot be cut with a bolt-cutter. Be sure that you have a motion light installed near the tank. Use an electronic oil gauge of the type that will sound an alarm if the oil level drops sharply.

Making use of these tips and tricks will help to keep your yard and garden safe from intruders. Thefts have been on the rise, but there is no reason that you have to become a victim. Most thieves are opportunists who will avoid any yard that doesn't appear welcoming. You can rest assured that having followed the suggestions above, that your garden will remain safe.