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detached garage - what sets them apart

What is Considered a Detached Garage? A Complete Guide

Imagine a private space away from the spouse, tucked away from the main house, where you can work on projects in peace. A place to store your classic car or ATV protected from the elements. Now envision it’s all possible with a customized detached garage. Detached garage kits, with its many benefits like increased privacy and flexible space is a sound addition to a home.

But do you know what exactly qualifies as a detached garage? And how is it different from an attached garage? In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore everything you need to know about detached garages.

sojag everest detached garage with a vehicle parked inside

Key Takeaways

  • Detached garages are fully separate structures that require their own foundation and roofing not connected to the home. This provides more privacy and design flexibility.

  • Key pros of detached garages include more space, customization, increased home value, and potential for a secondary dwelling. Cons are higher costs and maintenance.

  • Costs range from $35,000 for a basic single garage to over $100,000 for a customized large garage. Many factors like size and materials impact pricing.

  • Permits and codes related to zoning, setbacks, construction standards, and occupancy must be researched before building a detached garage.

What is a Detached Garage?

A detached garage is a garage that is completely separate from the main dwelling or house. It is not attached to or dependent on any other building for structural support.

Essentially, a detached garage stands alone as its own independent building or structure. It does not share any walls or roofing with the primary residence. A detached garage and house may be connected via a driveway, breezeway, walkway, or attached carport. But the garage itself is its own standalone structure.

Some key characteristics of a detached garage include:

  • Separate four walls and roofing not connected to the home
  • Requires its own foundation and footings
  • Usually has its own utilities like electricity
  • Sits apart from the main house on the property

Detached garages come in many shapes and sizes. They can be simple single-car garages or large barn-style buildings. Many have garage doors and tend to serve as vehicle storage. However detached garages can also function as workshops, studios, storage sheds, or even guest houses in some cases.

attached vs detached garage

Difference Between Attached and Detached Garages

How does a detached garage differ from a garage that is attached to a home? There are some clear distinctions:

Attached Garage

  • Shares one or more walls with the home
  • The roof is structurally tied into the home's roof
  • Part of the overall home's foundation
  • Direct access into the main living space
  • Covered entry from the garage inside

Detached Garage

  • Fully separate structure from the home
  • Own foundation and roofing not connected to the house
  • Requires a driveway or walk to access
  • No directly enclosed access to the main home
  • Functions as its own independent building

While attached garages offer covered entry and convenience, detached garages provide more privacy, customization, and flexibility in their design. We'll explore more key pros and cons next.

Pros of Adding a Detached Garage

What are some of the benefits that come with detached garages? There are several good reasons to consider going with a separate garage building if space allows:

  • More privacy and less noise transmission into living spaces

  • Ability to customize design separate from the main house

  • Potential for larger dimensions and space

  • Can increase property value

  • Allows for secondary dwelling conversion possibility

  • Provides better vehicle access and garage door placement

  • Offers versatile uses beyond just parking

  • Separates garage utilities and fire risk from the main home

Cons of Detached Garages

What are the downsides of having a separate standalone garage instead of an attached one? Here are a few factors to keep in mind:

  • No direct access to the main house. Have to go outside to access the home's interior.

  • Higher upfront construction costs for separate foundations, roofs, and utilities.

  • Requires own permit process separate from main home permit.

  • Additional exterior maintenance such as roofing, painting, and yard care.

  • Property restrictions may limit ideal placement based on lot size, and setbacks.

  • More vulnerable to break-ins being isolated from home. Added security measures are needed.

Basically, detached garages involve more considerations in terms of costs, maintenance, access, security, and placement on the property. But for many homeowners, the pros outweigh the cons if you value privacy, custom design, and maximum space flexibility.

detached garage metal with a scooter parked inside

Costs to Build Detached Garage

What can you expect to pay to add a detached garage? Here are some averages:

Garage Type Average Cost Range
Basic single garage $35,000 - $60,000
Two-car garage $45,000 - $80,000
Large or finished garage $60,000 - $150,000+


Many factors affect overall detached garage construction costs:

  • Size – Larger square footage costs more

  • Materials – Stone, brick, and stucco raise prices over vinyl or wood siding

  • Features – Insulation, drywall, finishes, appliances add cost

  • Foundation – Slab is the most affordable, footings add expense

  • Roofing – Asphalt shingles are lower cost than tile or metal roofing

  • Doors and windows – Insulated doors and extra windows add to the bottom line

  • Permits – Requirements vary but figure $1,000 to $2,000 for permits

  • Prep work – Grading, drainage, electrical, and utility trenching all affect prepping costs

  • Location – Pricing is relative and higher in some real estate markets

Overall, detached garages provide excellent extra space and functionality. But expect the price tag to exceed that of attached garages. Careful planning of design and features keeps costs more reasonable.

detached garage - different styles

Detached Garage Ideas & Examples

Looking for inspiration for your own detached garage project? Here are some great examples of stylish detached garages and what they offer:

Carriage House Style

This garage mirrors the main house details with garage doors styled like carriage doors. The beautiful design adds old-world character and harmonizes with the home appearance.

Rustic Barn

Use wood siding, gambrel rooflines, barn-esque doors, and rustic details to create a charming barn garage vibe. The rustic style pairs beautifully with country or farmhouse-style homes.

Backyard Cottage

Some detached garages contain upper-level living quarters or apartments opening up backyard cottage potential. Proper planning ensures the garage meets the code for occupancy separation.

Quonset Hut

The curved sloped metal roofing of a Quonset hut garage provides spacious interiors and industrial modern appeal. It's a great workshop or storage choice.

Garden Garage

Extend garden space onto the garage roof to integrate it into outdoor living areas. Plantings on the roof help the garage blend into green space while offering seasonal color.

Modern and Sleek

Contemporary detached garages feature sleek doors, clean lines, and minimalist finishes for an updated modern aesthetic. Large windows and lights enhance the modern style.

Custom Car Collector

For auto enthusiasts, a large customized detached garage provides the perfect spot to store, display, and work on prized vehicles away from the main house.

The possibilities are endless for creating a detached garage design that best matches your home's style and functional needs.

construction of a detached garage

Building Codes and Permits Required for a Detached Garage

If you plan to construct a detached garage, be sure to research any building codes, obtain proper permits, and have mandatory inspections. Requirements can vary by municipality.

Typical codes and permits relate to:

  • Allowable size based on lot space

  • Distance from existing structures and property lines

  • Zoning restrictions on accessory buildings

  • Foundation specifications

  • Electrical system requirements

  • Structural engineering standards

  • Fire resistance of walls and doors

  • Occupancy separation if finished interior space

  • Overflow drainage planning

  • Environmental impact based on location

  • Liability insurance requirements for contractors

Building without proper permits can lead to fines, tear-down costs, and delays. Hiring qualified designers and contractors familiar with local codes makes the permit process smoother. Expect fees of $500 to $2,000 depending on your area.

Detached Garage Maintenance

Once built, properly maintaining your detached garage will maximize its longevity and functionality. Plan to:

  • Inspect and reseal the roof every 1-2 years

  • Repaint exterior walls as needed, usually every 4-8 years

  • Lubricate and check garage door hardware annually

  • Keep gutters and downspouts clear of debris

  • Caulk cracks and damaged sections of siding

  • Check for signs of pests or water leaks inside

  • Keep tree branches trimmed away from the structure

  • Clear snow loads from the roof in winter

  • Test garage door safety features monthly

  • Clean interior and wash floor drain grates

  • Check for sagging doors, foundations, or eave lines

With regular maintenance and care, a detached garage will serve as valuable extra space to enjoy for years.


With their many advantages, it's easy to see why detached garages are surging in popularity. Their flexibility allows homeowners to create the ideal customized space. But you need to plan carefully so the garage follows zoning rules and matches your home's look. Take time to design the perfect garage for you. Do check our detailed guide on detached garages to explore more.

shelterlogic detached garage with tractor inside


Can a detached garage be built on any property?

The ability to build a detached garage on a property can vary depending on local bylaws and regulations. It is important to check with your local municipality or homeowner's association to determine if there are any restrictions or requirements for building a detached garage.

What is an evident advantage of a detached garage?

The most evident advantage of a detached garage is having more privacy, as it is a separate structure. 

Is a carriage garage considered a detached garage?

A carriage garage is considered a type of detached garage. It stands alone from the main dwelling and is not physically attached to the house. This kind of garage is often designed to resemble a small house or carriage house and can be used for storing vehicles, as well as for additional storage or living space.

Can a detached garage be used for purposes other than storing vehicles?

Yes, a detached garage can be used for various purposes other than storing vehicles. It can serve as a workshop, home gym, or office, or even be converted into a living space or guest house, depending on local regulations and building codes.

Are detached garages more commonly used in rural areas?

While detached garages are commonly found in rural areas where properties tend to have more space, they can also be found in suburban and urban areas. The decision to have a detached garage versus an attached garage often depends on personal preference and the layout of the property.

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About The Author

Andy Wu - Resident Expert

Andy Wu - Resident Expert

Andy Wu is the resident backyard products expert and hails from Atlanta, Georgia. His passion for crafting outdoor retreats began in 2003.

As a fellow homeowner, he founded Backyard Oasis to provide top-quality furnishings and equipment, collaborating with leading manufacturers.

His main focus is on sheds and generators!

In his spare time he like to hike the tallest mountains in the world and travel with his family.

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