Planning Your New Garage

Most homes built in the last twenty five years have a garage for a good reason – it adds so much to the functionality and value of a home. While primarily a place to store and protect your vehicle from the elements, a garage can also serve as storage for all kinds of yard and recreation equipment, provide a workshop outside the house or even be used to extend the living space of your home when converted into a home office or a 'man cave'. If you're thinking about adding a garage to your property it's important you have a realistic plan before you start building anything.  Here's some ideas on planning your new garage.

First, figure out how you will use your new garage

  • Will your new garage simply be used  to store your vehicle (s) out of the sun or snow, or it also need extra space to store bikes, lawn mowers, snow blowers and garden tools?
  • If you're planning on adding a workbench, you may want to consider including numerous electrical outlets and perhaps even a dedicated circuit for your power tools.
  • Other things to consider are an entrance door along with the garage doors, extra windows for light and possibly a heater and insulation to keep your garage warm in winter.

Create a budget

  • Building a garage is an expensive project even if you do a lot of the work yourself. Be sure to talk to your bank or financial adviser about your options for financing your garage. A home improvement loan, using a line of credit or even increasing your mortgage payments are all possible ways you could pay for your garage.

Planning permission is vital

  • Once you know what you want your garage to do, (but before you actually design your garage)  talk to your local building authority to find out about local building regulations. They can give you the information you need to properly plan your garage and explain local  rules about building close to property lines, and how easements and even height limitations might impact your garage design and location.

Finally, design your garage

  • You can buy a software package and design your garage yourself, look for plans online or hire a designer to crate your own unique plan.
  • The accepted size for a single garage is 12' wide by 22' long while a double garage is 18' wide by 22'long. 
  • Keep in mind, these dimensions are minimums and you may want your garage built larger, even though a garage will mean less available yard space and cost more to build.
  • Standard garage door height is 7' , but keep in mind while this might meet your needs now, if a truck, van or SUV is potentially part of your family in the future you should be sure the door opening will be large enough to accommodate it.
  • Once you have your plans,  your last step is taking them to local building authority for final approval and a building permit.
Murray Anderson is a veteran freelancer whose work has been appeared in books, newspapers and newsletters as well as on numerous web sites in both the United States and Canada. He writes on a wide range of topics including home, consumer, and personal subjects as well as general business and Marketing specific topics.