Buying a riding mower can be a good investment for your landscaping and yard maintenance chores. However, riding mowers require periodic service and repairs, which are often more expensive than similar services for smaller mowers. You can perform more of your own mower repairs if you have a homemade stand that gives you safe access to the bottom of your mower.
One of the easiest ways to build a riding mower stand is to construct a pair of wooden ramps. You can build mower ramps by stacking progressively shorter pieces of lumber that are the same thickness and width, then screwing them together. The lumber will form a series of steps that you can drive or push your mower up, either forward or backward, to access the deck of the space beneath the engine compartment.
Another homemade riding mower stand option is a modular stand with a ramp and several sections that can be removed to access the space beneath the mower. Each section of the stand is the same height with solid lumber sides and braces and a plywood surface. The ramp can take many forms but must be able to support the weight of the mower and be wide enough to raise the mower to the assembled stand. The ramp can be separate from the stand.
Once the mower is on top of the stand, you can remove whichever piece of the stand is below the area you need to service. For example, a stand that is 10 feet long by 6 feet wide may be built of three sections, each of which is 6 feet wide and 3 feet and 4 inches long. Removing the middle section will leave the mower's wheels on the remaining sections while opening a large space under its deck.
While wooden ramps and stands offer homemade alternatives to similar metal stands that are commercially available, not all types of mower riding stands can be built at home. Some manufacturers offer riding mower lifts, which use telescoping steel bars to raise a mower for service. Unless you understand the mechanics of a jack and are skilled at welding, this type of mower lift is impractical to build at home.
Besides eliminating the safety concerns that come with a homemade riding mower lift, a riding mower stand has a number of benefits. If your stand fits inside of your garage, you can store your mower on it whenever it's not in use, raising it above any standing water and allowing the grass and debris under the deck to dry out and fall to the floor for easy cleanup. A ramp-style stand may also be useful for moving your riding mower to remote sections of your yard, such as grassy areas that are separated by a retaining wall.