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TUCKED AWAY: Patio set cushions get safely stowed in a deck box.

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Outdoors Solutions
Home alone
Making your home look lived-in while you’re away is key

Hitting the road this summer? Whether you’re getting away for a weekend or an extended vacation, these simple moves will help keep your backyard goods safe while you’re gone.

Step 1: Make the entire house look lived in
You can reduce the attractiveness of your house as a target by making it look lived in – or at least create the illusion that you’re due back at any moment:

  • Suspend your daily newspaper delivery and have a trusted neighbor bring in your mail (or have it suspended as well via the USPS).
  • Hire a house sitter or have a neighbor water your plants and routinely open and close various drapes in the house.
  • Set exterior lights on motion sensors and install programmable timers on key interior lights and the radio (a talk radio station is a good choice).
  • Mow the grass and take care of any maintenance issues before you go on vacation so the home doesn’t look neglected. For a longer getaway, arrange to have the lawn mowed.

Step 2: Secure the backyard
In the backyard area, ensure your possessions are secure. At the same time, you can help create the appearance of a lived in backyard by leaving a few non-valuable items out in the open:

  • Repair any damaged fencing or broken gates and lock everything up.
  • Make sure trash and recycling bins are locked in the garage to avoid scavenging by raccoons or other animals.
  • Store garden tools, patio accessories, cushions and toys in the Large Deck Box. There is plenty of storage space inside for patio seat cushions, garden supplies or toys.
  • Hire a house sitter or ask a neighbor to water your flowerbeds and container plants, and top up birdfeeders and birdbaths.
  • Leave a few inexpensive toys like a Frisbee, balls, or kids’ gardening tools out so a quick glance over the fence reveals a yard that looks like the family just stepped inside for a moment and is due back any time.

Step 3: Invite traffic
For your peace of mind, do hire a house sitter or ask a neighbor or to come by to check up on your home every other day or so. The home will appear busy and active, and, additionally, you’ll have advance warning in the instance of maintenance emergencies.

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