If you’ve just bought a lawn tractor or you’re thinking of buying one then (unless you’re going to get a Weed Eater, or possible a reconditioned model) your outlay will be in the thousands of dollars (pounds, euros etc).
You’d therefore better make sure you’ve got an adequate place to store your new machine or you might just be wasting every cent or penny you spend.
I recently wrote a post on lawn tractor and riding lawn mower storage for John Coupe’s outstanding Secrets of Shed Building site.
The focus of Secrets of Shed Building is, unsurprisingly, building sheds and other outdoor buildings for yourself.
So, in the post I looked at some of the considerations you need to think about when you are designing or planning a lawn tractor storage shed (not including those relating to the building process itself, which are all covered comprehensively elsewhere on the Secrets of Shed Building site).
Without going into all the details here, as you can read them in the article on John’s site, you should consider at least these three factors:
- What size you need. Base this on your current and possible future requirements, taking into account how you want to use the building (see below) and what else you might want to store there, other than your lawn tractor;
- What you are going to use the building for. Is it just for storage or do you want to work in there as well? This not only affects size but also power and lighting requirements;
- Where you are going to position the building. Do you need hard standing? Is there enough turning room and so on?
Now, building your own is all well and good if you have the time, interest, energy and skills to take on a self-build project.
But if you don’t, and you don’t have any usable storage space elsewhere on your property, you will still need some form of covering or covered space for your lawn tractor or riding mower.
In fact, if you are thinking of going down the ready-made route, the factors outlined above may still be relevant. But first you’ll need to decide what kind of storage solution you want, taking into account your available budget. As you’ll see below, the options range from simple covers to high tech steel garden sheds.
I am therefore going to outline for you the main ready-made lawn tractor or riding mower storage solutions and I’ll be doing so in (roughly) increasing price order.
Lawn tractor cover
A lawn tractor cover is a simple and inexpensive way to protect your lawn tractor or riding mower from the worst of the weather. Generally water and mildew resistant, these can do a pretty good job for the money. The better covers have elasticated or tie-up bottoms, as well as wind vents to allow air to circulate and prevent tearing in heavy winds.
The downside, if you intend to use a lawn tractor cover but leave your machine outside, is that water can seep around your machine and gather in the folds of the cover. The covered tractor may also prove to be very attractive home to your local rodent, insect and spider populations.
Portable or Instant sheds
There’s one of these in the picture at the top of this post. These are a bit like a tent, but for vehicles. These portable sheds are easy to erect, can (as the name suggests) be easily moved and come in all shapes and sizes.
Although these look light-weight, the best of them are designed to handle the worst that the weather can deliver. They have steel pipe-frames and tough polyethylene covers which are waterproof and treated to withstand UV radiation.
These are a simple storage solution of surprising quality. But if you are looking for architectural beauty, they may not be the answer for you.
Wooden garden sheds
A good, solid, wooden garden storage shed can certainly do the job of housing your lawn tractor and any additional attachments and accessories. Not only that, a wooden shed can be an attractive and quite natural looking structure in your garden.
However, you’ll need to make sure that you get one which is not only big enough in overall size but that also has wide enough access. This will probably mean that it needs double doors, but you should still check the width of your machine against the width of the opening, as lawn tractors can vary hugely in width, especially with the cutting deck attached.
You must also make sure that the base or floor of a wooden shed is capable of taking the weight that you’ll be subjecting it to. A solid concrete base would be best. A typical wooden shed floor may not be adequate.
Finally, ensure that if the floor is raised, you have a ramp of suitable strength and size to allow you to get your machinery easily in and out.
Plastic garden sheds
You’ve probably seen the plastic outdoor storage boxes that can be used for storing your hand tools and gardening supplies. Well, now you can get bigger full sized shed versions. These are usually constructed around a steel frame and feature double skin high density polyethylene plastic walls. They are therefore very strong and can withstand most of the worst weather.
The other major advantage of these sheds is that they are very durable – they won’t rot or rust – so should give you great value for money.
Again, you need to ensure you get the size and access right and, ideally you should site these on a solid base. But, overall, these can be quite a physically and functionally attractive option.
Steel garden sheds
Steel garden sheds are readily available these days and come in a wide variety of designs and colors.
As with the other types of shed, you need to ensure that the overall size of the shed and the width of the doorway are adequate and that the base and any entry ramps are strong enough to bear the weight.
Steel garden sheds have the advantage over wooden sheds of being more secure. A determined thief with some basic tools can probably break his way into a wooden building. The task is that much harder when the building is made of steel.
Therefore, if you have any security concerns and/or you are going to have to site your mower storage shed anywhere near a road or public access-way, you’d be well advised to consider the steel garden shed option.
One word of warning – a steel shed can get dangerously hot in summer if exposed to full sun for long periods, so try to put yours in the shade.
Points to take away
Although there are other options, including garden awnings or canopies that could potentially be used in combination with a lawn tractor cover, I think that the various shed options represent the best lawn tractor or electric riding lawn mower storage solutions.
The take aways from this article can probably best be summarised like this:
- A wooden garden shed would be best if you have safe and secure place to site it and you are looking for an option that will blend best with the natural garden environment;
- Go for a steel garden shed if you want added security and durability and you are happy that it will fit in well with your property;
- Get a vinyl or plastic shed if you want strength and a virtually maintenance free option;
- Go for the instant option for convenience, portability and surprising quality.