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Garages, Sheds And Outbuildings

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 12 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Property Homes Houses Building Build

Although a lot of people in older terraced streets would give their eye teeth for a garage to keep their car secure it seems that many people who do have them fill them up with junk while the car sits outside! That, along with the nation’s obsession with sheds, (largely a male obsession of course) means that there are plenty of products to satisfy those needs.

Planning for Garages

Garages are classed as home extensions if they’re attached to the house or within 5m of it, for planning purposes that is. So as long as you follow the guidelines for permitted development (see our articles on planning permission) and don’t build closer to the road than your existing home, you may not have to apply for permission. As usual, as the regulations often change, it’s wise to check the latest regulations directly with your local planners once you have an idea of what you want to do.

Solid Foundation

A garage has to be more substantial than a shed or other outbuilding. The floor will need to take the weight of the car and proper damp proofing will keep your car and other bits and pieces in good condition. Cheap self-assembly garages are available, made of concrete, from £2,000 up and look a lot better than the ones that were around in the Sixties.

A timber framed kit will set you back a lot more, but still less than having a builder construct your own brick built garage. However, this last option will get you the garage you want, with, for example, running water and heating if your hobby is working on cars and motorcycles throughout the year.

Think Big

If you have the space for it, and particularly if you can fit a double garage on your land, it might be worth putting a room, perhaps an office or even a granny flat, on the second floor. The extra cost of doing this wouldn’t be a larger proportion of the overall cost and you’re going to be disrupted by the building in any case, so it’s worth getting as much value as you can.


Sheds are a lot easier as they don’t need much in the way of foundations, just some properly levelled paving slabs in strategic places. And with the advent of affordable solar lighting systems, sheds can now be lit without going to the trouble of running underground power cables down the garden.

Depending on your needs, a wooden shed can be had for as little as a couple of hundred pounds though the price will depend on how much glass (or plastic) there is and the size. Cheaper sheds are available made form metal or plastic but wood breathes and is therefore better for storage of garden tools, bikes and the like.

Shed Security

Unfortunately, security has become an issue with sheds, with stories of people breaking in to steal power tools that can be off-loaded at a car boot sale before the owner has even noticed they’re gone. In some cases, tools in the shed have been used to break into the house to get at better booty. So make sure you have well fixed padlocks and consider chaining up expensive tools and bikes.

Garden Rooms

As more people begin to work from home, the humble shed has evolved into the ‘garden office’ where people can work through the day without leaving home, but being that vital step away from the distractions that lie within.

To be a year round workplace, there has to be proper insulation, heating and electric and probably double-glazing. All this means more in the way of foundations too, so these home offices tend to come in at at least £6,000. After that, the sky is the limit, depending on how much luxury you want or can afford.

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