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Not just for your car

It's nice to have a garage or a carport where the car is protected from the wind and bad weather, but a garage can be used for much more than just parking. Bicycles, lawn mowers or outdoor furniture can also be stored there. For part of the year you might even park your boat in the garage or carport.

A garage doesn't have to just be a room for storage. A garage can be used for everything. As soon as the car is driven out, there are quite a few square metres of surface to work with. A common use is for table tennis. When the car is out for the day you can wheel out the folding ping pong table. It's also just as easy to practise yoga in the garage, or do strength training with free weights or machines.

Or how about a rehearsal space? There are very successful, and also less successful, rock bands all around the world who strummed their very first chords in a garage. The acoustics may not always be top notch, but there's plenty of space and you disturb others less than if you were inside the home itself. But even less noisy hobbies work better in the garage. Why not a loom for weaving? Most people have a hard time fitting one in the house.

Perhaps the most common idea is to set up a workshop in the garage. A proper workbench with a vice and a tool board on the wall. Here you can tinker with your bike, moped and lawn mower, if you don't want to use the garage to carry out your own car repairs.

But really you can treat the garage as just an extra room. When you have overnight guests, the garage can become a spare bedroom. Not everyone has room for a permanent guest room in their house, but if you drive the car out overnight, there's suddenly extra space.

Whatever you use the garage for, it's good to think about it before you get one, as the possibilities are controlled by the design. If you only need to accommodate your car, it doesn't have to be as big as if you also wanted to work on your car. If you want to be in the garage a lot, you need to be able to insulate it so you can heat it. If it's just a room for storage, you might not need windows. If you're going to spend a lot of time in the garage and use it as a gym or hobby room, however, it's great to have some daylight.

Many aspects of your garage can be adapted later on, but before you get one, think about what you want to use it for, so that as much as possible is exactly the way you want it, right from the start.