Dating as far back as the 1800’s, alleyways have served a multitude of purposes in the Chicagoland area. Attached to more than 98 percent of the residential area by the 1900’s, this space was originally intended to provide access to the rear of lots or buildings for fire protection and tradesmen not permitted to enter through the front parlor.

Today, this space is used for parking, standalone (detached) garages, trash collection, and public utility access.

Open to the public, detached garages can become vulnerable to vandalism and break-ins. While in the design and construction process of your new detached garage, homeowners are encouraged to take steps to prevent potential trouble, to both protect your investment and the storage within.

How To Protect Your Garage

  1. Address the windows. There are many ways to prevent people from viewing the interior of the garage without having to avoid windows all together. Tinted or frosted translucent film can be placed on both side windows and overhead door windows to allow natural light in, while protecting your privacy. Window fixtures may not be commonplace in garages, they can be a nice design feature to consider.
  2. Install motion sensor lights. While these lights may become bothersome when tripped with passersby, other cars, or animals, they do ward people away from lingering on your property.
  3. Install a web-enabled garage door opener. Every HGB project comes complete with this feature! Leave with the peace of mind knowing that you can check your phone, or be alerted, when the overhead door is opened and closed. If the door has been left open, you can remotely close it with the app. It goes without saying, that those with alley garages are not encouraged to leave the overhead door open due to its proximity to public roads.
  4. Install a home security video monitoring system. With so many options on the market today, installing a security system can be an easy DIY project, often connected directly to your phone. These tools can also be utilized within the structure as an extra step to protect your belongings.
  5. Lock the service door. While this seems obvious, these doors are often overlooked by homeowners.
  6. Lock the overhead door when gone for an extended period of time. With a web-enabled garage door opener, unplugging the garage door may not be necessary. However, there are other steps that can be taken to prevent the door from being manually opened. A padlock can be used on the track to prevent the door from opening any further than where the lock meets the rollers on the door.
  7. Lock up your valuables. Garages today are multi-purposed and no longer simply house your vehicles. Used to store auto parts and tools, hobbies, personal belongings, athletic materials and more; it is important to protect your investments. For insurance purposes, it is important to take an assessment of all that is being stored in the structure, as well as its value. Locking up the more valuable items in cabinets is always encouraged.

As these alleyway structures begin to age, it may be time to replace them with more efficient, safe, and practical solutions. If you are interested in a FREE consultation and estimate, contact Heartland Garage Builders at or 224-326-2698.