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Detached Garage Ideas

Sometimes you just need a little, or maybe a lot, more Space. Renting a storage space is great, but it’s expensive and a pain to drive there every time you want to use it. If you’ve got the right property for one, a Detached Garage designed to meet your needs may be the answer. Here we’ll go over a variety of detached garage designs, styles, finishes and some of our all time favorite detached garage ideas. 1, 2, 3 and even 4 Car Detached Garage designs. High end luxury options and even some detached garage with living space. A detached garage can be a lot more than just an oversized shed.

When building new homes here at the Jersey Shore, detached garages are common. Along ocean towns like Spring Lake, Sea Girt, Montoloking, Bay Head and Avon, where we frequently build, detached garages are considered a standard. Because the lots tend to be long and narrow almost every home is designed to have one either in the front or around back.

While most garages in NJ are attached to the house, a detached garage design offers a few unique benefits. More and more homeowners are beginning to discover the advantages of a separate garage when they’re building a new house or remodeling an older one. One option fueling this trend is the conversion of an attached garage into more living space. Then building a separate, detached garage for vehicles, storage and possibly even more living space. There are quite a few advantages to having a detached garage.

Detached Garage Design Options

Good detached garage designs open up all sorts of creative options. Especially when your dealing with a small or odd shaped lot. Having a garage attached to the home boxes you in when designing the home, detaching the garage opens up all sorts of creative design opportunities. Attached garages can dominate the home’s facade which highly effects curb appeal. Moving it exactly where you want it is a nice option to have. And since it’s a separate structure you can take risks by designing it’s style differently from the main house, something that’s hard to do if it’s attached.

Set it at an angle to the home, bring it close to the curb, hide it in the backyard, or even design it to look like a little house or cottage all its own. Since the garage isn’t subject to design limitations imposed by the home like an attached garage is, you can do almost anything you want with it.

Additionally, you gain the benefit of the space between the home and the detached garage. This pathway can be covered or left open. Maybe you’d like a breezeway or a blue stone patio. It can be beautifully landscaped, lit up at night, covered with a trellis or decorated with hardscaping. A myriad of design options open up when you choose to detach the garage.

2 car detached garage with apartment living space real stone with cedar shake and real wood doors

Detached 2 car garage with real stone veneer, cedar shake siding and timberline roofing. 2nd Floor apartment with dormers. Real wood doors. Azek. Architectural details. This is a beautiful detached garage design that perfectly compliments the main home and hardscaping.

Detached Garages Are Easier & Cheaper To Build

As the name implies, a detached garage is not attached to the home. Adding on a detached garage is easier than building an attached one because we don’t have to demo into the existing home. No worrying about tieing the new foundation into the existing or worrying about electrical, plumbing, insulation or roof line issues. A detached garage is it’s own structure, completely independent of the main home, so we can do whatever we want without worrying about existing construction.

When building a free standing structure you’ve got far fewer issues to think about. Since you don’t have to consider another structure, you’re free to design the garage of your dreams. You can angle the garage however you want and not worry about how it looks attached to the home or how it’s connected. A detached garage causes fewer headaches during the building process. By eliminating the demo and connective issues you save valuable time and money.

Detached Garages Have Multiple Uses

Adding a detached garage opens up opportunities an attached garage may not give you. Make your garage into a workshop without worrying about your family complaining about all the noise and dust. How about a detached home office to give yourself a dedicated and quiet workspace. Maybe you’d like a to add a 2nd floor living area which may not look great when attached to the main home. Some clients here at the beach even turn the side of their detached garage into an outdoor shower, grill area, or pool house.

If your thinking of detached garage ideas and can’t make up your mind consider going multi purpose. Garages are great for that sort of thing.

A Bigger Garage Is Generally Better

Poor planning is the most common reason for dissatisfaction when building just about anything. Whether it be a custom new home, addition, deck, patio or a detached garage, poor planning will hurt just about any construction project. The root of the problem lies in the inability of most people to visualize the finished space. The second issue is people don’t realize how much room they actually need. It’s hard to visualize how a room will feel once it’s done and filled with stuff. If you have the space, and the budget, building a little bigger is generally better.

You’re lucky if you have the land, the budget, and a nice area to build on. The first thing you should do is make a list of all the things you plan to put in the garage and what you’d like to use it for. Think about not only what goes in it but also it’s primary use. I’m not just talking about all your landscape tools, mowers, snow blowers, motorcycles, and cars. Will you be using the garage as a work space? For storage of bigger things you can’t fit in the attic or basement? Want a bathroom or additional living space?

Consider everything you could possibly want to cram into the garage, and then go just a little bit bigger.

More Windows

When you choose a detached garage you gain a large amount of wall space. With an attached garage one wall is common, connecting the home with the garage. This wall can’t have any windows so you lose that space in the home. With a detached garage you gain an additional wall for windows or doors which is a lot nicer than a huge blank wall with a garage on the other side.

This opens up all sorts of possibilities like walk around decks or porches which aren’t possible with an attached garage. Look at the pic shown below. This design would never be possible with an attached garage because you can’t have a true walk around porch with a garage stuck to the side of the house.

best detached garage ideas custom NJ home with a detached garage - Gambrick

Detached Garage FAQ

How Wide Should Garage Doors Be?

Garage door openings should be at least 9 feet wide and 8 feet tall. If you plan to have a full size pickup truck or large SUV, you’ll like having at least one door 10 feet wide. This allows you to comfortably pull the truck in and out without folding back the large side mirrors.

Be sure to have at least a 3 foot space between two side by side garage doors. This allows you to open most car and truck doors fully without any fear of dinging a vehicle parked in the other garage bay.

How High Should The Ceilings Be In A Detached Garage?

The ceiling height in a detached garage should be given serious thought. In general garage ceilings are higher than standard ceilings, averaging around 10 – 12 feet in most of the homes we build. This question goes back to proper planning being the most important factor when building a new garage. What will you be doing in the garage? Will you have a loft, dormers or other living space above? Will you be storing tall equipment or ladders, multi level car storage racks or a lift to work on your car or truck? Like with square footage, plan for what you’ll use the garage for and then go a little bigger.

Should I Install A Floor Drain In The Garage?

Installing a floor drain in the garage slab is a great idea. Melting snow and ice or water dripping from cars coming in from the rain will collect in the drain rather than rest on the concrete or run off towards the walls or garage door. Spills will have a place to drain and keeping the concrete floors clean is so much easier if you have somewhere for the water to go. Garage floor drains are less common than they used to be and eliminating them from homes is a huge mistake in our opinion. That’s why we include them in just about every new home we build.

How Much Electric Will I Need?

Don’t skimp on the electric you send to your new garage. We put in no less than 240 volts and 100 amps. This gives you plenty of power if your using power tools, a second refrigerator, freezer or charging an electric car. Even if you don’t plan on using much electric it’s always good to have more than you need. Especially if you plan on selling the home some day.

Should I Heat Or Cool The Garage?

Heat and AC is a delightful addition you should add if you plan on using the garage for any type of work in the winter or summer months. A mini split wall system is perfect for a detached garage and offers both heat and AC. Don’t forget to install wall, ceiling and rigid foam insulation under the slab should you decide to heat and cool the garage.

If you plan on adding living space above the garage a mini split works perfectly there as well. Each mini split system creates it’s own heat and AC zone which can be independently controlled whenever you need it.

Should I Insulate My Detached Garage?

Should I insulate my detached garage is another common question we’re asked whenever we design and build one. The answer here in NJ is yes, if you want to use it in the winter or summer months. Insulation helps not only keep a space warm in winter but also cool in the summertime. Even if you plan on only using your detached garage to park the car, it’s still nice to not have a freezing garage or one that’s crazy hot.

Even if you don’t heat and cool the garage, insulation still helps control the temperature a bit. And it’s not that expensive to add. If your dry walling the garage we recommend insulating because once the drywall’s hung you lose the option.

detached garage ideas grey siding with red brick

Detached garage ideas. Gray cedar shake siding with red brick and white doors.

Should I Drywall My Detached Garage?

If your using your garage for anything other than a storage shed, we’d say yes. A detached garage should be drywalled. You don’t have to sand and paint to the same level as the home if you don’t want to, but we recommend at least a skim coat of spackle. Drywall has a small amount of insulation that helps a little bit, provides some sound deadening, acts as a slight fire wall and looks a lot nicer than exposed studs. We recommend also adding some insulation in the walls and if you’ve got any storage space above or a loft, add a double layer of drywall to the ceilings for additional fire protection.

Another benefit of drywall is it lets you hang pictures wherever you want. I have stuff hanging all over my garage walls. Some simple anchors in the 5/8″ drywall are more than enough. Otherwise your stuck having to hang from the studs.

How Much Does It Cost To Build A Detached Garage?

For this discussion we’ll discuss the average cost of building a detached a two-car garage with enough room for a work area or storage. The measurements of the average two car garage we build is 25’x25’or 750 square feet. This size easily accommodates vehicles with additional space for storage or a work area.

Building a detached garage like this would not be considered any sort of “DIY” project.

For the building of the garage which does not include architectural plans, permits or plumbing, the typical cost is:

  • Two car detached garage

    25′ x 25′ with 12′ ceilings, two 9′ x 8′ insulated garage doors with one 36″ steel entry door, insulated walls, ceiling and slab, Certainteed vinyl siding, Timberline roof, exterior lighting, interior electric, Azek fascia and trim, finished sheet rock with paint, an architectural detailed roof or dormers is between $73,500. This translates to $98 per square foot.

We’re a luxury custom builder so most of our jobs tend to be on the higher end and include a lot of additional options. And we’re a full service builder so we generally include the landscaping, hardscaping and other finishes. We’ve built detached garages that cost upwards of $350,000 but around $73,000 is the average. We could of course design one for less, you could use cheaper materials or build a one car garage. However you could also select much higher end materials, go bigger and add living space. With a detached garage you have almost as many options as when we build a new home.

The perfect detached garage ideas don’t always have to cost a fortune. Less expensive materials that are great quality are available if your looking to cut costs while still looking fantastic.

Does My Detached Garage Design Have To Match My House?

Does my detached garage have to match my house is probably the most common question we’re asked whenever we’re called about designing and building one. And the answer is no. One of the great benefits of building a detached garage over an attached one is that it’s a completely separate structure on the property. That gives you the freedom to stray from the design of the first house a bit. While it is common to match styles with the main house, you don’t have to.

We’ve designed some fantastic detached garages that were very unique. Although having said that, we generally try and stay close to the overall style of the home. For example, if we’re building a detached garage for an ultra modern home, we wouldn’t make it look colonial. That just wouldn’t work. We’d stay modern but play with some of the designs. It doesn’t have to me an exact match is what we’re saying like we’d do if it was attached. With an attached garage we try to make it look like it was always there, a part of the original design rather than tacked on later. But with a detached garage we don’t have that concern.

detached garage with breezeway dark siding with metal roof real stone

Large detached garage with apartment above and breezeway. Dark color palette with real stone. Cedar shake siding. Beautifully dark detached garage style.

Detached Garage Cost Breakdown

Here is a small price breakdown of some of the things generally included in the average detached garage we build. Keep in mind every job is different and completely custom so these numbers are just to be used as a guide:

  • Excavation, back fill and final grading – The average costs are going to vary according to the level of work necessary. Generally it’s around $5000.
  • Concrete footings and slab – The average price of the foundation is $9500.
  • Framing – framing costs vary quite a bit based on the design. We generally use 2 x 6 walls, 2 x 10 joists and rafters, a 2 x 10 ridge with engineered sill plate, beams and headers. Average cost of around $20,000.
  • Timberline roofing shingles – this is for 50-year warrantied hurricane rated shingles. Average cost $3500.
  • Certainteed vinyl siding with Azek trim – Average price of $9000.
  • Andersen 400 series double-hung or casement windows – Average price of $300-$700 per window
  • Install one 3′ x 6’8″ steel exterior entry door with hardware – Average of $250 to $1000.
  • Two Insulated 9’x8′ garage doors – Average between $800 – $1200 each depending upon the style and if they have glass.
  • Exterior lighting – We install lights on either side and in the middle of the garage doors as well as motion lights where needed and a light by the entry door. Average cost $2000.

Detached Garage Ideas

single car detached garage with cedar shake siding and white azek trim

One Car Detached Garage Ideas

You need a safe space to park a vehicle, a place to work in or some additional storage. A single car detached garage may be just what you need. One Car Garages can be designed, built and ready to use in around 1-2 months and cost 1/2 the price of a 2 car. They can be finished just as nicely as the larger 2 car and up versions with the exact same options. Great detached garage ideas don’t always have to be grand plans or huge structures. A simple, small one car garage can sometimes be more than enough.

The example shown above fits the home perfectly, providing some much needed extra storage for outdoor equipment or a great spot to park your car.

stunning two car detached garage ideas white siding with black garage doors and stone veneer

Two Car Detached Garage Design

When you want a Detached Garage that holds two cars and enough space for storage, a work area, or possibly even living space. The options are almost unlimited when you go big. Detached garages can be styled to match the main home or something entirely different. In the example shown above this beautiful detached garage perfectly matched the design aesthetic of the main house while providing ample storage, space for 2 cars and a hang out room above.

3 car detached garage designs with living space

Three Car Detached Garage Design With Living Space

This lovely home in Connecticut has a fantastic 3 car detached garage with 2nd floor living space. On the outside, it looks like a standard three car garage design with some beautiful finishes. But the spacious interior has a car elevator which leads to a subterranean parking space in the basement. The 2nd floor of this luxury detached garage design is living space complete with wet bar, TV lounge and full bathroom. The basement level has a wine cellar with access to a car elevator.

Exterior finishes includes natural materials such as stone flooring, reclaimed chestnut and pine lumber for the interior walls, cedar shingles and stone veneer. Connecting the house and detached garage is a patio area with arbor with landscaping.

This detached garage design features a natural, earthy color palette that compliments the home but doesn’t mimic it. They stand apart but go together beautifully. Keep that in mind when you design your detached garage’s facade. Since it’s not connected to the home you’ll have more freedom with your design. Remember that they’re two separate structures so they don’t necessarily have to match. Although they should still compliment each other and be close in style.

detached garage design one car attached to the house with a breezeway

One Car Detached Garage With Breezeway

This one car detached garage design with breezeway is great if you live in a cold climate. When it snows out it’s nice to have some cover when you want to get into the garage. It’s a very basic detached garage design that matches the style of the home but won’t cost a fortune to build. A lot of the garage ideas we’ve shown here are pretty elaborate with lots of architectural detail, but sometime you just need some place to park or some additional storage without all the expensive bells and whistles.

detached garage ideas with living space above

2 Car Detached Garage Design With Living Space & Breezeway

This 2 car detached garage design features living space above and breezeway. Because it’s attached to the main home via the breezeway your limited in terms of exterior finish options. Generally you’ll want to match the home the garage is attached too as you see here. Siding, roofing, trim and door materials all perfectly match one another which produces a harmonious design. As you can see they added a lot of interest through the use of siding patterns. Vertical, horizontal and flat areas are all used along with some detail trim, shutters and stone veneer. The color palette is earthy with great use of natural materials.

The spacious 2nd floor living space is complete with full bathroom and bedroom. With the use of dormers and a high ceiling pitch you can get a lot of great space above a detached garage which is generally just wasted space.

detached garage design ideas - a garage outdoor entertainment hub

Detached Garage Entertainment Hub

A detached garage can make the perfect outdoor entertainment hub. One of our favorite detached garage ideas involves incorporating it into a much larger plan. Providing plenty of storage for pool stuff or other fun outdoor equipment is a great use of the space. Include a bathroom so wet feet don’t have to walk through the main house and a place to change in and out of wet clothing. Some add pergolas, trellis, grill areas or even a full outdoor kitchen.

detached garage ideas - a detached garage pool house

Detached Garage Ideas: A Pool House

Detached garages work great when turned into a pool house. Just add a door by the pool, a bathroom and some dedicated storage space for pool stuff. An outdoor shower is always a nice tough and bulky pool equipment can easily be tucked away behind or along side the garage. The best detached garage ideas tend to compliment your lifestyle and how you use your home. It’s really the perfect flex room. The best plan is to tailor the garage to fit your needs.

detached garage living space with patio and furniture

Detached Garage Designs With Additional Living Space

A detached garage is the perfect way to add some additional living space for just hanging out. This has been one of the most popular detached garage ideas clients choose for a reason. If you want a quiet place to spend time and relax in away from the noise and commotion of the house without being too far away then building a room into your detached garage may be the perfect solution. The example shown above is a small hang out room with patio built into the right bay of the garage. 12′ x 25′ is more than enough space to do just about whatever you want with. Include a bathroom and small refrigerator so you’ll have everything you need.

red brick detached garage craftsmen style with cream colored siding

Red Brick And Vinyl Siding Detached Garage Ideas

Red Brick is a classic, sophisticated look that works great on a Craftsmen style home. The example shown above is a craftsmen style detached garage with cream colored fiber cement siding. Matching cream columns, doors, windows, trim and gutters. A very red brick is carried from the garage to the main house with low lying retaining walls lit by black wall wash sconces.

Dark brown metal accent roofing paired with a dark architectural series roofing shingle.

beautiful 2 car detached garage

Extra Storage

Maybe you don’t need any extra living space, an outdoor entertainment hub or a pool house. When looking for detached garage ideas keep in mind that a two car garage can simply be a really nice place to park your cars in or somewhere to store your stuff. Renting a storage space can be expensive. Building a detached garage for additional storage and parking space can be cheaper than renting every month.

A simple garage like the one shown above is much cheaper to build than one with living space or expensive architectural details. It’s basically 4 walls and a roof. The inside is finished with sheet rock. Electric is the only option we’d spring for so you can hook up a garage door opener, have lights and some outlets for whatever you need.

Detached garage with an apartment and balcony

Detached Garage With An Apartment Design

A Detached garage with an apartment or any type of second floor living space is a great addition to just about any home. Perfect if you have guests over, someone staying with you for an extended period of time or if you just want more space away from the main house.

The example shown above is a 3 car garage where one of the bays is converted to living space. On the 2nd floor you have a large dormer which opens up the space allowing for a nice size studio apartment with cathedral ceilings and a full bathroom. The balconies make the apartment feel much larger.

Detached garage designs like these come with full plumbing and electrical connections just like the main home. They’re fully insulated with both heat and A.C. In every way these types of garages are the same as any home except they’re built above a garage.

Skylights are a great way to let in natural light. Because detached garages with living space generally don’t have a lot of windows due to the roof line any place you can add a window is a good idea.

gray cedar shake siding detached attached garage with breezeway

Detached Garage Design With Breezeway

A detached garage which is attached to the main house with a breezeway or mud room is perfect if the detached garage is close to the house. It’s detached, because the garage structure is independent from the main home’s foundation and is separated by the breezeway or mud room.

Above we see a mudroom with it’s own entrance. This room also have a lockable door to the backyard, the garage and house. The room basically acts as a hub with accesses all 4 sides of the home.

This garage has a 2nd floor studio apartment built in with full bathroom. The detached attached garage is one of our favorite garage designs because of how versatile it can be.

cute detached garage ideas one car garage with dormers red brick and white siding

Cute Detached Garage Design

Simplicity is key. The garage door perfectly accentuates this detached garages cute design. A small one car garage can make a big impact when properly styled. The black metal fence paired with the architectural details on the garage all add to the overall style.

This is one of the simplest detached garage options out there and it does look amazing, which is exactly what you need in the end.

detached garage idea with 2nd floor apartment

Detached Garage With Studio Apartment

Detached garage plans designed to include living space are called Garage Apartment plans. Typically, the garage portion offers parking for one or more vehicles on the main floor with living quarters above the garage. The living space is often designed for efficient, practical living offering modest accommodations, also known as a studio apartment. In most cases, the floor plan features an open floor plan combining the kitchen, dining area, sleeping area and main gathering space with a separate bathroom.

A variety or architectural styles, such as Traditional, Craftsman. Modern or European, mixed with various roof lines and door combinations give each garage apartment its own special look.

detached garage design with apartment and breezeway

Detached Garage With Breezeway And Apartment

Custom garage designs give you plenty of options for expanding if you need more room but don’t want to go through the hassle of building a large addition. Simple yet stylish detached garages can provide parking for several cars, room for RVs and boats, and dedicated workshops, and finished interior spaces.

Lofts for bonus rooms to full two-bedroom apartments, detached garage designs can have much more to offer than you might think. Garages with offices and conference areas for people who work from home, but who have a hard time concentrating when the kids return from school. A garage finished the right way can accommodate just about any need the main home doesn’t provide. 

Detached garages provide the freedom to enhance your property in any number of ways. They can be a guest house, a gym, workshop, or a source of income if you decide to rent, and as always, they come in a number of styles to suit your design preference.

Breezeways are especially nice because they provide a way to get to and from the garage without going outside, while allowing the garage to still remain detached from the main home.

Detached Garage Gallery


If you have any questions or comments e-mail us any time. We’d love to hear from you.

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