L-shaped Garage Design

wildpasturesJune 11, 2006

My husband and I will be adding a garage attached to our house via an enclosed breezeway. We had four big requirements, (a) that it had to have 3 bays (car, motorcycles & garden/ATV bays) and an area for a workshop (I am SO tired of sawdust over the whole basement), (b) I could get from the side entry of the house to the first bay without stepping foot outside, (c) the garage would be behind/to the side of the house rather directly to the side and (d) it had to match the house with 9/12 pitch roof and a few dormers in the roof.

We really wanted a courtyard type look to the garage area and thought about an L-shaped configuration. It might be a single bay next the house, the corner section, and two bays on the other side of the L. The corner area would be utilized as a workshop. We have two complications. The side entry door is about 7 ft above grade at the bottom of the door and we would have to do some minor retaining walls to level the small side yard area (adjacent to the driveway) and to the side of first bay of the L (nearest the house). We thought about constructing a small addition to the side of the house (mudroom-ish) with an outside entry and stair to the driveway straight out and a set of interior stairs with an enclosed breezeway type of setup to the right to get down into the first garage bay. After looking at lots of houses this house to garage connection seems to be the most complicated thing to get right with the house being partially above grade.

Obviously this would require some specialized plans but in looking online the number of standardized L-shaped garage plans are few and far between. Don't know if anyone on this forum has an L-shaped configuration but...

1. Do you think its worth the extra expense to do an L-shaped?

2. How big should the bays be? I'd like to be able to park an medium sized SUV in the first bay. I understand that the best configuration is 9x8 ft doors and a 10 ft ceiling height? Any suggestions on width x depth of the bays?

3. Would it be strange to have the first bay larger in depth than the other two on the other side of the L?

4. Is blacktop rather than concrete the way to go?

Boy this post didn't start out to be this long. Thanks for your help.

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Personally, I think you can never go too high in garage ceilings, so go high - you can always store stuff where you don't need the height.

I can't really offer too much on the other things - is it worth the extra expense to YOU to go l-shaped? What's going to suit your requirements best?

I can't imagine asphalt as the way to go for a garage floor, as if you're doing retaining walls and filling, the floor will require some structural integrity, plus you will want something dimensionally stable - something that won't move with time, and asphalt will, you will in fact notice that there will be depressions from the wheels etc, and heavy stuff will sink in...asphalt is in fact a liquid at most temperatures, it's just a very thick one....

I wouldn't worry too much about finding plans online or wherever for an L-shaped garage, a situation like yours is unique and anything will need to be custom designed to suit.

If you're using a home improvement contractor, if they're going to be designing it, (you'll need to submit plans to your local council) see what ideas and suggestions they may have, they may suggest things you mightn't have considered, in other words, don't "pre-design" it too far in advance - if you're planning to do the work yourselves, then you need to research as much as possible.

I guess the most important thing is to work out how much you want to spend, as it will make a lot of the decisions for you...

    Bookmark   June 16, 2006 at 1:32PM
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