When cars first became widely owned by most Americans, storage of those vehicles usually meant parking them in the open or in some form of carriage house adapted for the purpose. The first dedicated buildings for car storage were quite similar in size to those carriage houses--and they were still detached structures. Some early innovations--including the overhead garage door and an automatic door opener were invented by C.G.
Johnson in the 1920s, but for quite a long time, garages used swing-open carriage doors.
Integrating the garage structure into the home itself as an attached structure began to become popular in the late 1940s, as greater prosperity led to larger cars and more of them. In the 1950s, many families found themselves in a position to own two cars, and using the attached garage as the main entry point became a common practice.
By the 1960s, 60% of new homes were built with garages (and a much higher percentage in non-urban areas), and by the 2000s, fully 80% of all homes had garages--and the majority of those were attached garages. In many modern homes, the square footage of the garage is only slightly smaller than the footprint of the rest of the house. Today, 17% of all homes have garages large enough to hold three cars.
There are merits, however to a garage as a detached, separate structure, and more homeowners are beginning to discover those advantages when they are building a new house or when it's time to rebuilt an old garage.
In the last few years, many homeowners find advantages to converting the attached garage into living space, then building a detached garage for vehicle and tool storage.
Here are some of the detached garage benefits to consider.
- A detached garage can more easily reduce or even eliminate the garage-dominated facade that many find so unattractive.
- A detached garage can be set at an angle to the house, or set back from the house.
- With no garage attached to the house, a good deal of space becomes free. A patio or kitchen garden might be more appreciated here.
- If you live in a moderate climate, you might actually enjoy a nicely landscaped walk from the car to the house.
- If you have a small house, adding an attached garage can overwhelm it. A detached garage can be a much more aesthetically pleasing option.
- It can be easier to add living space above a detached garage than an attached garage.
- When serving as a workshop, an attached garage can keep noise, odors and fire hazards separate from the main residence.