A shed is a good thing to have as you can store your gardening and other tools inside protecting them from the elements.
But, the reality is that not all of us have a shed. You can keep small tools and equipment in your house or garage. But what happens with more massive machinery like a lawn mower?
If you are here, you are looking for an answer. And not long ago, I too faced the problem of having to store my lawn mower for the winter. I didn’t have enough space, so I had to store it outside.
How to store a lawn mower outside without a shed? To store a lawn mower outside without a shed you can use a waterproof cover or a plastic garden storage box. That way you will protect your lawn mower from the elements. For off-seasonal storage however, proper maintenance needs to be done first.
I had to do a lot of research to make sure I’ve got everything covered.
Lawn mowers are not cheap, so I didn’t want to take any chances on it.
And here, I will share with you everything you need to know about storing your lawn mower if you don’t have a shed.
Is It Dangerous to Leave a Lawn Mower Outside Without a Shed?
Lawn mowers are designed for outside use, and as such, they have certain levels of protection against the elements.
So leaving a lawn mower outside for a little while is not necessarily going to damage it.
However, subjecting your lawn mower to the elements for more extended periods will cause your machine to wear out faster.
And when we are talking about actually storing the lawn mower outside, we need to consider a few different storage aspects; how long you will be leaving your mower outside for, and what are the climate and weather conditions?
Let’s take a look at each of these separately.
In What Weather Can I Leave a Lawn Mower Outside?
The weather is the main thing that will potentially damage your lawn mower and that we need to adapt to.
Can You Leave Your Lawn Mower Outside in the Sun?
Leaving your lawn mower outside in the sun is not recommended. However, it will not necessarily damage your mower.
Mowers are designed to have a rough life, and they can survive a lot of different things.
The major disadvantage of leaving a mower out in the heat is that the plastic parts may start to change their color or wear out faster and become more brittle.
Leaving your mower in the sun with gasoline in the engine, although not recommended, is usually not dangerous.
Gas tanks are designed to release gas vapors, and the engines are designed to work in a very hot environment and under a lot of pressure.
Can You Leave Your Lawn Mower Outside in the Rain?
It is not advisable to leave a lawn mower out in the rain, yet a lot of us do it, if even by accident.
The biggest concern is when water gets inside the gas and oil tanks. If that happens, you will need to drain them both before starting up your mower. The chances of this happening are extremely low however, as lawn mowers usually have protective covers and filters in place.
Let’s say you forgot your lawn mower in the rain, now what? The chances are there will be nothing wrong with it, let it dry for a couple of hours out in the sun.
The only downside to leaving it in the rain is that some parts may start to rust.
Can You Leave Your Lawn Mower Outside During the Winter?
The winter season and the cold may prove to be quite damaging to our lawn mower. This is also the time when most of us will look to store our lawn mower for longer periods.
Leaving your lawn mower outside during the winder is not advisable, and several steps need to be taken before doing so. I will cover them in a bit.
The cold, snow, and ice can be extremely damaging and may cause irreparable damage to your mower. So during the winter, make sure to provide the mower with a protective cover.
Is My Lawn Mower Going to Rust If I Leave It Outside?
Mowers usually consist of different metal and plastic parts. Many of today’s models come with a special powder coating, which will prevent the steel from rusting. Some other metals, like aluminum, do not rust.
If you notice that you have any chipped paint or broken plastic covers, it is advisable to try and cover the exposed parts with some paint.
The only exposed steel part of a lawn mower is going to be the cutting blades – and they tend to be the most susceptible to rust.
Even covering the blades or the entire lawn mower with a thick tarp or waterproof cover may not prove to be very useful.
While a piece of tarp can keep water from getting on the mower, it can also trap it underneath, not allowing it to evaporate.
As a result, the tarp may actually make things worse as it traps the water underneath.
If you want, you can try to use some rust preventative liquid, which you can apply on the blade(s) after use.
Methods to Store Your Lawn Mower Outside Without a Shed
When talking about outside storage, we need to differentiate between short-term and long term, seasonal storage.
Routine or Short-Term Storage
Routine or short-term storage would mean that you are using your lawn mower every one or two weeks. This will keep the fuel from degrading, the engine properly lubricated, and the mower dry.
You can use a waterproof cover or tarp for storing your mower outside during the season, which will be very effective at protecting your mower from the elements.
Additionally, you can also place your lawn mower under an overhang or eave.
For covering your mower, you can use the ToughCover Premium cover (you can buy it on Amazon). It’s a cover specifically designed for lawn mowers. It can protect your machine from water, UV rays, and it really isn’t a huge expense. It should be able to fit all standard-sized mowers.
If you want to go a step further, you can get an outdoors storage box such as the Suncast Stow-Away Horizontal Storage Shed (you can also buy it on Amazon). I know this article is about storing your mower without a shed, so that name is really pushing it 🙂
But in reality its a 70 cubic feet storage box with a front door – ideal for storing a lawn mower and other tools outside safely.
Seasonal or Long-Term Storage
I have mentioned earlier in the article that this is going to happen mostly in the winter. In order to safely store your mower outside for the winter, a few additional steps need to be taken:
- If you are using a gas-powered lawn mower, make sure to drain all the gas;
- Disconnect and clean the spark plugs to avoid accidental starts;
- Remove the blade(s), and preferably store them somewhere inside where they can’t get any moisture. The blades are extremely sharp, so make sure to wear protective gloves;
- If your mower has a separate oil tank, make sure to drain the oil as well;
- Clean the mower. Make sure to scrape off all the dirt and grass that has been accumulated and stuck in the undercarriage. Make sure you don’t store your lawn mower dirty, as this can accelerate the accumulation of rust. If you have fuel or oil in the mower, make sure to keep it in the upright position so as not to spill it over;
- When you are ready with the cleaning, fill the fuel tank with fresh gas, and the oil tank with fresh oil. Add gas stabilizer and let the lawn mower work for 5 to 10 minutes;
After all the maintenance has been done, you can proceed to safely store your lawn mower outside for the winter season using the same methods I have mentioned above.
However, keep in mind that using non-breathable materials to cover your mower can catch the water inside and subject the lawn mower to condensation and increased humidity.
If you are using anything like that, make sure to remove the protective cover for a few hours every few days whenever possible to allow the mower to breathe and the humidity to evaporate.
How to Store the Different Kinds of Lawn Mower Outside
So far, we have covered the essential details of how the weather will affect our lawn mower and what we need to do to take care of it.
Last but not least, I’d like to cover a few more caveats regarding lawn mowers’ storage. Generally speaking, there are three main types of lawn mowers.
Gas-Powered Lawn Mowers
The most sensitive part of these lawn mowers is the fuel. Fuel starts to degrade in as little as two to four weeks. This can lead to the clogging of the fuel system.
To prevent that, make sure to add a fuel stabilizer as I’ve mentioned before.
Electric Lawn Mowers
With electric lawn mowers, the main concern is going to be in connection with protecting the power cable.
Make sure you keep water away from it.
Battery-powered Lawn Mowers
When storing your battery-powered lawn mower, make sure to remove the battery and store it in your home (or some place with room temperature).
Batteries are not designed to be stored outside for prolonged periods of time. They are best kept at room temperature in dry places and away from any heat sources.