Garage Design 101: 6 Things to Consider When Building a Garage

A garage is paramount to the functionality of your home. However, it does more than simply stow away cars; it’s a vital second space for your family to enjoy. That’s why more homeowners are taking control of this second space by remodeling or building a new structure from scratch.
Are you ready to dive into your garage building project? While it may be tempting to jump into planning garage layouts without research, the way for your garage to succeed is to first consider various features, goals, and your overall vision. With proper planning, building a garage is easier than ever.

If you’re looking to learn how to design a garage, we can help. Here are 6 things to keep in mind!

1. Local Garage Zoning Laws

Perhaps one of the best garage building tips is to research your permits.

Before you embark on your garage planning ideas, it’s essential to clear the red tape. Every state has a series of zoning laws that affect whether you can build on your property without a permit and if so, how large the structure can be. These are called zoning laws.

While some states don’t have zoning laws, others do, and the consequences for violating them can be quite severe. You can face a multitude of fines or even go to jail for a short time.
Don’t risk it. Contact your town’s government for more information on your area's regulations.

2. Attached or Detached Garage?

designing garages

The second step you have to complete is deciding whether you want a garage attached to your house or if you want to create a structure detached from the rest of your home.
In general, people find detached garages to be more aesthetically pleasing, so building a detached garage may increase your property’s curb appeal. However, attached garages are often much more convenient to build.

Other benefits of attached garages include:

  • Can use electricity and plumbing from your home
  • Cheaper to build
  • Complies with the majority of Homeowners Association contracts

The benefits of a detached garage include:

  • Dangerous emissions are further away from your home
  • More space
  • More customization
  • Easier to build and expand later on

Consider each option carefully before you begin drafting your game plan so that you choose the option that best fits your home and lifestyle.

3. Additional Usage for the Garage Space

When you're planning the garage layout, it’s important to consider your usage to ensure you are building an adequate amount of space for yourself. There are many ways you can use this new space, and you’re only limited by your imagination.

Wondering what other ways you can use this cool new space other than to park your car? Consider using the space for:

  • A greenhouse or vegetable garden
  • Music space
  • An extra office
  • A yoga studio
  • An entertainment room
  • Your small business headquarters
  • An RV garage

Realizing what type of space you want this extra garage to be is paramount in the planning stage. If you plan to use the space for a vegetable garden, you’ll have to make sure you install adequate windows and sunroofs for proper light — and ensure you place the garage where natural light falls.

Should you plan to use the garage as a business space or office, you’ll want to make sure your home electrical system can be hooked up so that you can use lights, air conditioning, and so forth.

4. Various Garage Door Designs

garage build ideas

Even though it may seem like a small detail, the type of garage door you choose is an incredibly important feature of your new garage structure.

Make sure to take your lifestyle into account when you're planning your doors. For example, if you ride your bike often and have a bike strapped on top of your car, make sure to plan for that so that you will be able to move in and out of your garage without scraping against the ceiling or having the door bang your bike.

It’s also important to remember to plan for these details before instead of after, as garage doors cost several thousand dollars.

5. Driveway Ramifications

You’ve probably given a lot of thought to your garage structure, but have you considered the ramifications a new garage will have for your driveway?

Your new structure may render your current driveway too small and, therefore, ineffective. Typically when you're planning for a garage, you should plan for an extra ten feet of space for the driveway — or twenty feet for a two-door.

Again, it’s always better to plan before, as modifying a driveway with problems can come with a hefty price tag. Lengthening or widening your driveway can sometimes cost upwards of a few thousand dollars.

6. Plan Garage Ventilation Carefully

The last thing you want is to be stuck in your new space with hot, stuffy air. This consideration is especially important if you plan to use the space as a work area and cut wood that can clog the air and be dangerous to inhale.

Even without spending lots of time in your new garage, you have to make sure that there is proper ventilation to prevent too much buildup of carbon monoxide.

Instead, plan with proper ventilation. Ensure there are enough windows and vents to keep everyone safe during your considerations when building a garage.  

Making the Right Choices with Your Garage Build

There are many considerations when designing garages. From driveway space to ventilation, there are plenty of great tips for building a garage.


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