Can you store a lawnmower outside?

Expert advice about how to store a lawnmower outside

A gas mower in a yard in front of a border with a wooden shed behind
(Image credit: Getty Images / Natalia POGODINA)

Not all of us are blessed with a lot of backyard storage. Perhaps you can't afford to build a shed, or your HOA won't allow one, but in the end you're left with a lawnmower and nowhere to keep it. 

This has led many to wonder if they can just leave their mower outside. I've found that you can, but I don't recommend it. 

As a longstanding lawnmower tester and an expert in the best lawnmowers, this is everything you need to know about storing a lawnmower outside.

Can I store my lawnmower outside?

A riding mower cutting flowers and high grass

(Image credit: Getty Images / Mr_Twister)

You can store a riding lawnmower outside, but I don't recommend it. Large riding mowers are pretty robust, so you can leave them outside without doing too much damage. It's not that much different from a car being in the rain. However, unlike a car, the seat on your riding mower is exposed. If you store a riding mower outside long-term, the seat will likely be ruined by the weather. Rain will make it soggy and moldy and it will bleach and crack under direct sunlight. However, your mower should still run. 

Push mowers are a different scenario. Gas mowers would probably be fine for a couple of days, but if rainwater gets into the spark plug you'll have a tedious few hours drying out the spark plug before you can mow again. However, electric mowers - both corded and cordless - must not be left outside. Water damage can break these mowers beyond repair. 

Where can I store my lawnmower if I don't have a shed or a garage?

A cordless lawnmower in a garden

(Image credit: Getty Images / welcomia)

With this in mind, you can store your riding mower outside, if you have the space. It's not rocket science; you just need to find a quiet corner of the yard where kids aren't likely to find interfere with it, and then cover it with a heavy-duty tarp. You don't need to spend much; a cheap heavy-duty tarp like this from Amazon will do the job. You can also find dedicated lawnmower covers like this on Amazon.

However, gardening expert Thom Rutter told me that there are a couple of big drawbacks to this method. 'A big, warm, stationary object like a riding mower is the perfect haven for bugs and rodents. By itself, this is a little gross, and you won't want to clear out an infestation every time you mow. However, if mice nest in the engine, it can gum up your mower and be time-consuming or even costly to fix.' 

Another issue is security. If you live way out in the country, security isn't a problem. For most of us, however, there's the risk that your mower will be stolen. 

Thomas Rutter
Thomas Rutter

Thomas is a Content Editor within the Gardens Team at Homes and Gardens. He has worked as a professional gardener in gardens across the UK and in Italy, specializing in productive gardening, and growing food and flowers. Trained in Horticulture at the Garden Museum, London, he has written on gardening and garden history for various publications.

Can I store my mower in my basement?

It's probably impossible for a riding mower, but a push mower can be stored in a basement. You can do this with electric and reel mowers without any issues. However, a gas mower can be dangerous, because the gasoline in the tank is a fire issue. It can also leak fumes into your home, which is very bad for your health. 

Are there HOA rules about where I can store my mower?

garden shed

(Image credit: Joe_Potato / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images)

HOAs can't dictate where you store a mower, but unfortunately, they can dictate whether or not you can build a shed, so check the regulations about the types of structure you can build in your yard. If you aren't allowed to build a full-size shed, it could be buying a small plastic shed instead. 

The other consideration is that some HOAs also have rules about fuel storage, so if your mower runs on gasoline you need to learn the regulations. There can also be local or state laws about fuel storage, so it pays off to learn these, too. 

Lawnmower storage FAQs

Can you store a lawnmower on its side?

You can store electric lawnmowers on their side. However, you cannot store gas lawnmowers on their side. This is because because engine oil and gasoline can leak into the filter and other parts of the engine, causing hydrolocking which will stop your mower from working. 

Where should I store my lawnmower battery?

Store lawnmower batteries indoors; a garage is the best place, but you can store it near any other outlet in the home. 

For more information on mowing, take a look at my deep dive into the debate between zero-turn vs tractor mowers, or our expert advice on how to lay turf, and the best fertilizer for grass in spring

Alex David
Head of eCommerce

As Head of eCommerce, Alex makes sure our readers find the right information to help them make the best purchase. After graduating from Cambridge University, Alex got his start in reviewing at the iconic Good Housekeeping Institute, testing a wide range of household products and appliances. He then moved to BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine, assessing gardening tools, machinery, and wildlife products. Helping people find true quality and genuine value is a real passion.