How To Hide A Key Outside An Apartment Or House

key sitting outside a house

Hiding a spare key outside a house or apartment can save you from highly frustrating moments when you’re locked out, but there are right and wrong ways of concealing it. Here’s how to hide a key outside an apartment or house, and ways you can outsmart burglars to help keep your family safe. 

There are several places where you can stash your keys so that you and your family members have access to your home. However, some places to hide a key outside apartments or homes are more obvious than others. If these hiding places are evident to you, then it won’t take a criminal long to find these places either and successfully break into your home. 

Upon searching for ideas to hide a key outside, you must strike a balance between implementing clever ways to hide a key outside, but not so hidden that you can’t remember the spot when you need to. 

This article outlines the do’s and don’ts of key hiding: the best hiding places for keys, the worst places to hide a key, and secure DIY storage solutions to camouflage your trusty house key from prying eyes.

Common Places To Hide a Key Outside Your House  

Are you guilty of hiding your key under your doormat or beneath that so-called inconspicuous potted plant on the front patio?

As convenient as these places might be for your family and the people you allow in your home when you aren’t there, burglars look in these places first.

The below outlines the not so good places to hide a key outside. 

Fake Rocks

More Americans are purchasing fake rocks from DIY stores, thinking that these blend in with the natural scenery. However, place an artificial rock against the ones found in your garden, and you’ll see how unnatural it looks – and if you can quickly identify it, so can trespassers. 

Rather than using fake rocks, make your own hide a key using real stones glued to plastic pill bottles and bury it in the soil, close to the entrance of your home. 

Alternatively, you can also try investing in Oak Stump Covers to conceal keys or just certain things you’d like to conceal in your yard.

Pot Plants 

Stashing spare keys under a fake outdoor pot plant is a common way to hide spare keys, but with it being so well known and practiced by most people, it’s practically inviting criminals into your home. Using this method could be a bad idea for two reasons.

Firstly, it requires minimal effort to lift the plant in search of the key, and secondly, due to its lightness, a potted plant could be easily knocked over by a strong gust of wind or a stray cat.

Front Door Ledges And Behind Knockers

You shouldn’t hide a key in the knocks and crannies of your front door because an enterprising criminal will conduct a thorough sweep of your front entrance, aware of the common hiding spots in the area. 

Hiding keys behind front-door knockers that have attached magnets to the back is less evident, but this technique still carries risks in terms of being found by an intruder. 

Mail Boxes

Mailboxes may be away from the front door, but it’s closer to the street and in the public eye, which means that it may get in the wrong hands if your house or street is being watched.

Rain gutter

While rain gutters or spouts may not be the first places people look for a key, the rain may wash your spare away, forcing you to call in a locksmith. 

The general rule of thumb is not to store your key in areas that are close to the front door. Burglars want easy access to your home and won’t go searching around your property because this could arouse suspicion. 

Take a look at the below section for surprising hiding spots that you and trained criminals wouldn’t think to look. 

Creative Ways To Hide A Key Outside 

If you’re looking for the best and safest place to hide a key outside, you must find an out-of-the-way hiding spot but one that you’ll remember the next time that you’re in a pickle. This section highlights some of the best ways to hide keys outside that won’t make your home an easy target. 

Before you start thinking up ingenious ways to conceal keys to outsmart housebreakers, you must first ask, “Where should I hide keys safely”? The best place to hide your key is toward the back of your property, and if possible, the extra key should grant you access to the back entrance if there’s one. By doing this, you’re out of sight of the street. 

 At the same time, you should regularly change these hiding spots, even if you don’t use your spare key, in case you’re being watched.

With the above in mind, here’s how to hide a spare key outside your house in less obvious ways for your peace of mind and to keep your family safe. 

Fake Sprinklers

Fake rocks might look inauthentic, but a fake sprinkler could look realistic, granted you have a garden and a sprinkler system to accompany it. 

A fake sprinkler is also easy and inexpensive to assemble, all you need is a hose nozzle, a small, round plastic container and some hot glue to connect these parts. 

Once you’ve built your device, stick it in the ground, and no one will be any wiser, thinking that you’re keeping your grass green and hydrated. 

Invest in a fake sprinkler head to fool your neighborhood crooks. After a quick search, they’ll soon move on.

Hide A Key Sprinkler Sets are found online and have the capacity to store various small household goods, including keys.

Install a Fake Drain Cap

If you live in a high-crime area, you’ll be looking for innovative methods and probably searching for things like “how do I hide an extra key?”.   

Similar to the last hack, a fake drain cap won’t perform its typical function of draining excess water, but safely holds your key. So, is it safe to hide a key outside in this manner? In this case yes, yes it is. This is mainly because most criminals, or anyone else for that matter, won’t even think to look inside this contraption.

For this contraption to work, you’ll just need to get your hands on a drain cap, and any kind of small plastic container that you can find. You simply put the key into the container and attach the drain cap.

Next, simply dig a small hole and bury the container section in the ground, leaving the drain cap exposed to look like a normal drain cap.

A Bird’s House

Found out-of-the-way and full of seeds, criminals probably won’t look here. However, if you check up on your stowed-away key too regularly, you might chase away the visitors that you want fluttering about your garden. 

Attract wildlife and store your keys in the unlikeliest of places with a birdhouse installed in your garden.

In The Dog House

For you canine lovers out there, you may be wondering “What is the best way to hide a key outside for dog owners?”. If you have a dog that sleeps outside, this one is a piece of cake. Simply let your dog guard the key by hiding it inside a dog house

A criminal won’t risk looking into your pooch’s kennel for fear of being bitten or raising the alarm, i.e., your dog’s barking alerting you to a disturbance. 

However, hide the key carefully because a curious dog might think it’s food! 

Dog Poop Hide A Key

A mound of dog feces is probably one of the last places that a thief would look for keys, which is why it’s such a genius invention. 

Fake poop can be purchased widely online or can be the focus of your next DIY project. You can also make your own realistic dog poop by following these easy steps. 

  • Step 1 – Dry hot glue 
  • Step 2 – Cover the hot glue in brown paint 
  • Step 3 – Attach a plastic pill bottle to the brown-colored glue with the key contained inside
  • Step 4 – Bury the “poop” in the soil. 

Fake Hornet’s Nest 

A hornet’s nest is a clever disguise to deter robbers, and even if thieves know about the existence of fake nests, they surely won’t go about sticking their hand in a nest tempting fate. 

You can build your own nest using Great Stuff Foam Sealant by:

  • Molding the sealant into shape and curing it overnight (make sure to carve out space for your keys).
  • Pureeing water and newspaper in a blender and leaving it to dry. 
  • Covering the sealant with the pulpy newspaper mix.
  • Varnishing everything with clear paint.

If you aren’t crafty, you can buy a fake hornet’s nest cheaply on various e-commerce stores. You’ll find that these devices will not only keep your key safe but will drive out unwanted insects from your yard.  

Temperature Patrol 

A temperature patrol isn’t just a great disguise but can also prove useful in other ways – store your key and always know what the temperature is outside so that you can dress accordingly!

Keep Your Key Hidden At A Neighbor’s House

Many people often search for things like “Where can I hide a key outside my house?”. If this is you, then you’re in luck. One crafty way to hide a key outside your house is by stashing it in your neighbor’s yard (with their permission, of course) if you trust them.  

Even if a burglar does happen to find the key, it’s highly unlikely that they’ll think to use it next door.


If you’ve ever wondered where to hide a spare key outside, storing them in windchimes as decoration is a novel idea that criminals in a hurry won’t have time to look for. 

And even if they do, the noise created by someone trying to loosen the key from the windchime will alert you to the intruder, or scare them off because they won’t want to get caught in the act. 

Nail a Key To A Tree

If your backyard is full of trees, why not nail your key to the back of one? It will be appropriately concealed amongst the foliage, and won’t require much effort either – all you’ll need is a hammer and nails. 

 Vinyl Siding

Apart from protecting your home from the elements, vinyl siding provides a unique solution for those trying to figure out how to hide a key outside your apartment or where to hide a key inside an apartment building. This is especially the case if you don’t have the space to mask your key in clever spots in the yard. 

Slip your key in the crevices of the siding; remember exactly where you put it. Sliding it out later may be difficult, so remember to tie fish wire on the key, leaving just a small bit exposed so that you can tug at it when you need it. 

Lock Box Key 

Lock Box keys are impenetrable storage devices that you can attach to an outside door or wall, which can only be opened using a 4-digit code. 

Unless a highly trained and experienced criminal cracks the code, your spare key is safe. If you’re looking for places to hide a key outside your car and home, the Lock Box key is a foolproof approach.

Garden Ornaments

These should be well hidden because an intelligent thief will soon realize that your patio decor might be holding valuable items.

For example, cast iron tortoises can blend in well with nature while concealing keys and other goods.

How to Hide a Key Outside Your Car (or Inside) 

If you live in a block of flats, there may not be many suitable places where you can hide a key in an apartment building. Or you might have a strict landlord who doesn’t want you to make even minor changes to the structure of your home. 

Under Your Car Mat 

The worst thing you can do is hide your key under the doormat of your home for want of better hiding spots in the surrounding area. However, hiding your house keys under car mats is a potential idea, granted that your car isn’t in danger of being stolen either. 

Considering you take your vehicle with you everywhere you go, locating your house key could be as simple as unlocking your vehicle, therefore averting a panicked call to your locksmith. 

In The Hitch Receiver Lock Box 

A Hitch Receiver Lock Box provides unbeaten security, granted that your vehicle is equipped with a hitch receiver. 

If you don’t know what the above is, a lockbox is a steel vault that you can attach to the back of your car to store a variety of personal items, including cash, credit cards, driver’s license, and keys.

The only way these valuables can be accessed is by punching in the correct four-number combination. It also prevents thieves from stealing your trailer. 

Hide A Key Under Car Magnets and Other

When your garden or patio aren’t viable options, where else you can hide your keys outside your home?

Hide A Key Under Car magnets are popular devices that allow you to stick your keys on the outside of your car discreetly.

A Mezuzah Hide A Key is another option designed to hold keys. The product is not just pretty to look at but conceals keys easily. Mount it to the outside of your home in inconspicuous places. 

However, there are dangers to using both of these because they’re pretty standard pieces of equipment, which are known to thieves and can be easily found while feeling around the frame of your vehicle. If you park your car outside at night, you could be putting yourself into unnecessary danger.

Decide to Go Keyless Instead 

Are you tired of wondering where to hide a key outside your car or home that is elusive enough to the prying eyes of home invaders?

In today’s world, it is possible to go keyless by installing smart locks to guard your home. The added advantage is that you don’t have to worry about losing keys or wondering where you left your spares, which in the wrong hands, leaves you vulnerable. 

Smart locks allow you to gain entry to your home after you or loved ones have punched in a specific code. Gain peace of mind knowing that your top-notch security system keeps unwanted visitors out. 

Recap: Finding New Ways of Hiding Your Spare Key 

Have you ever come home after a long day, only to find that your house keys are inside your home, and you don’t know where you placed your extra set? These moments are frustrating but can be avoided in the future by finding suitable places to hide your spares. In this article, we’ve looked at:

  • Finding clever hiding spots that thieves won’t quickly discover. By placing your keys in obvious spaces, such as under doormats and plants, you might as well leave your door unlocked.
  • There are clever hiding spot ideas that you can find across the web, which range from fake sprinkler heads and drain caps, to realistic plastic dog poop and lockboxes for the car and home that require four-digit codes to unlock. 
  • Up the ante on your security at home with smart locks. These devices are riding a wave of popularity that allows you access to your home without having to use a key. Say goodbye to losing keys and worrying about whether thieves can break into your home. 

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