A carport or garage is a handy addition to any home … and not just to keep vehicles clean and secure.

Designed well, they can enhance the street appeal of a home, provide cover between the car and the front door and optimise the use of valuable land. However, there can be some challenges if you’re planning to add a carport or a garage to an existing home. If the carport is to be located at a rear side boundary it can make a great external entertainment resource.

If the building is to be located on the boundary, there are some important differences between a ‘carport’ and a ‘garage’. An open sided carport may not need to incorporate fire-resistant construction (e.g. brickwork) on the boundary wall, whereas a closed garage will. This will clearly affect the statutory processes and cost of the building.

The frontage setback will be subject to local Council controls which will dictate how close the building can be built to the footpath. Don’t assume you can build it where you like just because a 1960’s carport has been spotted in the neighbourhood … check first!

The planning is also critical. A 3m x 6m carport or garage will be big enough to accommodate an average-sized car, but not much more. Similarly, a 6m x 6m carport or garage will accommodate 2 average-sized cars, but little more. If you want space for storage, bicycles or a workbench, for example, it needs to be bigger.

Finally, a well-designed carport or garage can really improve a property whereas a poorly designed one will always be an eyesore, likely marking down the property value. Making it a little bigger or perhaps a little better integrated with the home can make a world of difference to its function and appeal.

Architects can help make a difference – for even the smallest projects – adding value to a property and to the resident’s lifestyle.