If you've been dreaming of the day you can build a detached garage on your property and the time has come, then it's important you take many things into consideration when designing it, including each of these tips:
Design Tip: Know What You Legally Can and Cannot Build
Before you start sketching your new garage in your head or on napkins at dinner, first you need to have a very clear understanding of what you legally can and cannot build.
To find out what the local building codes specify for detached garages in your state and county, you should visit the county's building permit office. In addition, if your property lies within the confines of a homeowner's association, you need to read your CC&Rs and determine if they have any restrictions on what you can build. You can also contact local garage builders who will likely already know what types of garages are allowed in your area.
Design Tip: Build Your Garage as High as Possible
As long as you comply with the local building codes and keep within the overall design aesthetic of the rest of the property, your new garage should have the highest interior space as possible. Ample overhead space allows you to hang bikes on hooks or store you kayaks out of the way without using any of the valuable floor space.
Design Tip: Decide How Finished You Really Want the Garage's Interior
Though you may have visions of a perfectly sheetrocked and painted garage, this isn't always ideal. If you will simply park your car and store your camping gear in the garage, then well-painted sheetrock looks good and makes sense. However, if you will be working on your car and other messy projects in the space, then you might prefer to leave the walls open.
Design Tip: Plan for Both Your Current and Future Utility Requirements
It is infinitely easier and cheaper to install utilities when you first build your garage than it is to retrofit for them later. For this reason, when you are designing your new garage, make sure you install both the electrical wires and plumbing you need right now and try to plan for future needs as well.
For example, if you plan to run tools that require 220V connections, then you will need breakers available in the power panel. If you use a lot of hand tools, then you need plenty of outlets to reduce your need for extension cords. Additionally, if you plan to add a bathroom someday, then plumb in the water lines and drains when you build the garage.