Because we don’t live in our garage, not much attention is given to this area from a design viewpoint. After all, we only use it to shelter our cars, trucks, and sport utility vehicles (SUV). However, in the scheme of things, the garage is just as much an important aspect of good house design despite it being merely a car storage room. Whether it is an attached or detached garage, you should be just as deliberate with the use of the space when designing a garage.
The size of your motor vehicles should be considered in addition to the need for storage space when sizing a garage for optimal usage. There are typical sizes you can use for your garage, but I will not go into minimum and maximum sizes because that is not the point of this article. If you are interested in that information your can find it here. What I am more concerned with here is the maneuvering between vehicles, storage and how to design the garage according to what will occupy its space.
Regardless of the size of your transportation unit, there should be enough room to enter and exit your car free from obstruction. I recommend at least 2′-6″ of minimum clearance between vehicles and the same on either side of each. I also suggest having at least two feet of clear space in front and back of the car. Keep in mind that this does not include space for storage.
Using vehicle dimensions to establish garage interior parameters
Let’s take for example a family that has a Chevrolet Suburban SUV and a Ford Taurus midsize sedan. The SUV bumper to bumper length equal 222.40″ (approx. 18′-6″) and the width without door mirrors is 79.10″ (approx. 6′-7″). The midsize car length is 197.6″ (approx. 16′-5″) and the width is 73.0″ (approx. 6′-1″). These dimensions establish the basis by which the garage will be sized. Using the width of both vehicles, we add the aforementioned minimum clearance on the front, rear, and sides to get our interior parameters. So in this example, the garage interior dimensions should be at least 20′-2″ in width and 22′-6″ in length. These interior dimensions set the basis for expanding your garage space as you desire.
As with any aspect of home design, it all comes down to the math. Establishing a minimum garage size for your specific vehicles will ensure the garage will work for your specific needs without wasting valuable unheated square footage. If you plan to add storage (i.e. cabinets, lawn mower, bicycles, an extra refrigerator, freezer, etc.), consider adding an additional two feet minimum to the length or width of the garage. However, if your budget and available land space allows, you can expand as needed in order to size a garage for optimal usage.