Not all homes have a garage and not all vehicles fit inside traditional garages. In some cases, homeowners find that they need more space than their garage affords. These are all scenarios where people start to brainstorm carport ideas, as they are an excellent solution.
As simple as they are structurally, carports have a number of benefits. Primarily, they protect your vehicle from the sun and inclement weather such as snow and hail. If you’ve ever burned your hand on a hot steering wheel or had to scrape ice off your windshield for several minutes, you know how valuable this truly is.
One of the best things about carports is their utilitarian simplicity. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a carport as, “an open-sided automobile shelter by the side of a building.” That’s simple indeed — a roof of some sort and support beams.
Carports are relatively easy to build and add features to, making it simple to create a one-of-a-kind structure that perfectly suits your needs. Whether you want to build a new carport from the ground up or maximize space in your existing one, here are 20 carport ideas to inspire you.
Table of Contents
- What Materials Should You Use to Build a Carport?
- 20 Top Carport Ideas
- 1. Incorporate A Storage Shed
- 2. Go Big
- 3. Build a Detached Carport
- 4. Use Barn Doors to Create a Garage Effect
- 5. Take Inspiration From a Garden
- 6. Incorporate Garden Walls
- 7. Gate Your Carport in
- 8. Harness Solar Power
- 9. Think Luxury
- 10. Build an Apartment Above Your Carport
- 11. Think Outside the Driveway
- 12. Create a DIY Carport From a Shade Sail
- 13. Glass Roof Carport
- 14. Get Clever With Storage
- 15. Make a Super-sized Carport for Oversized Vehicles
- 16. Include a Garage
- 17. Build a Drive-through
- 18. Make it an Extension of Your Home
- 19. Get Creative
- 20. Create A Carport-Patio
What Materials Should You Use to Build a Carport?
Carports serve a vital function but are relatively simple and inexpensive to build. There’s also a lot of opportunity for flexibility and customization; build a super-simple structure that perfectly shelters one vehicle or DIY an elaborate multi-vehicle carport with integrated storage closets.
Whatever type of carport you build, serious consideration must be given to the types of materials used. The size of the carport, the climate where you live, and even your budget should all be influential factors in making your decision. Wood and metal are the two most commonly used materials, and both have unique pros and cons.
- Wood: Wood is generally the most expensive option for building a carport, but is also the sturdiest and most durable. A less critical but still noteworthy point is that wood carports are also more customizable since you can stain or paint the wood. If you intend for your carport to be a long-term parking or storage solution, opt for wood.
- Metal: Galvanized metal, particularly steel or aluminum, is a popular choice for building carports because it’s inexpensive, easy to source, and stands up well against the elements. Because galvanized metal is lightweight, this type of carport structure generally doesn’t last nearly as long as one built from wood. It is, however, an excellent choice when a budget is a concern, you need to get a carport up quickly, or it will be a temporary structure, such as when you’re waiting on an enclosed garage to be built.
20 Top Carport Ideas
1. Incorporate A Storage Shed
A bit of extra storage is never a bad thing, right? Consider building a storage shed right into your carport. When creating your building plans, design them so that the shed runs the entire length or width of the carport, then place it on the side or in the back. Not only does this provide additional (and hidden!) storage, it also acts as a support structure for your carport.
2. Go Big
Although single-car setups seem to be the most common carport ideas people have, there’s no rule that says they are supposed to be for just one vehicle. So get creative and build yours as large as you want or need. Build it to fit two, three, or even four cars if you have the available space! Even if you don’t need the additional parking space now, it’s easier and less expensive to build a carport bigger from the beginning versus adding onto it later.
3. Build a Detached Carport
Depending on the setup of your home and property, you may be able to build a completely standalone carport. This is one of the best carport ideas if you have plenty of available space or don’t want to take over valuable driveway real estate. A detached carport is also a great solution for protecting vehicles that aren’t driven often.
4. Use Barn Doors to Create a Garage Effect
As the saying goes, fake it ’til you make it! Barn doors are timeless, stylish, and elegant. Plus, they’re functional and easy to use and install. Put a set of barn doors up on the side or front of your carport (or both!) to create the illusion of garage-style walls. This is also one of the best carport ideas to hide unsightly piles and messes.
5. Take Inspiration From a Garden
No one ever said carports have to look utilitarian. Build a pergola or gazebo-style carport out of wood, bringing a lovely and attractive aesthetic to this functional structure. The classic, timeless look of a desirable gazebo is also sure to help boost your property value.
6. Incorporate Garden Walls
Speaking of gardens, lattice or other types of slatted garden walls make the perfect addition to any carport. The boxes or slats make it simple to hang or mount any type of plant. Consider installing a few garden boxes or planting low-maintenance climbing vines that will naturally grow up the wall. Plus, the walls provide shade and an element of privacy.
7. Gate Your Carport in
Building a gate or wall around the entire carport gives it more privacy and security, not to mention a more garage-like feel. You can even opt for some sort of power or remote-controlled gate so you can drive in and out without ever needing to get out of your car to open and close it.
8. Harness Solar Power
If you’re going to the trouble of building a carport, why not make it multi-functional and add solar panels to the roof? Solar carports, also sometimes referred to as solar canopies, allow you to enjoy the benefits of solar power without sacrificing additional space. Ground-mount solar panels take up a substantial amount of room and for various reasons, some people simply don’t want solar panels on the roof of their home. This one of those carport ideas that solves both issues!
9. Think Luxury
Just because they’re simple doesn’t mean that carports can’t also be upscale. If you have a luxury home, or even if you simply have dreams of a luxury outdoor space, why not build a luxurious carport? Using similar architectural elements and materials from the construction of the home gives the carport a seamless, cohesive, decidedly upscale look.
10. Build an Apartment Above Your Carport
If you have the available space and budget, consider adding on to your carport from above. Build an extra room — or even a full-blown apartment — and turn it into a guest suite for visitors, a man cave, a family game room, or even rent it out as a vacation rental. As long as you’re building up and not using any more real estate on the ground, the sky is very literally the limit.
11. Think Outside the Driveway
Carports don’t necessarily have to be on your driveway or next to your house — or even anywhere near your house, for that matter. Build your carport anywhere on your property that you have the available space, even if that means it’s in the grass or another unconventional area. Consider creating a makeshift driveway with brick pavers or gravel to make it more drivable and to protect the ground.
12. Create a DIY Carport From a Shade Sail
If budget or physical space are limitations, consider making your own simple — but highly functional — carport. Simply hang a large shade sail or another type of awning from your home’s roof and attach it to a few support beams.
It’s true that a shade sail carport may not be the sturdiest or most long-lasting option, but it will keep harsh sun rays, snow, rain, and hail off your vehicle. Plus, you can’t beat the price or simplicity compared to other carport ideas!
13. Glass Roof Carport
Carports with glass roofs are relatively new, but they are quickly becoming wildly popular. The glass panels can be completely clear or more opaque, and they work well with all sorts of different carport frame materials. Much like a home’s windows, glass roof carports are very durable. They also, of course, have the added benefit of letting natural light through, which may prevent you from needing to install lighting in your carport.
14. Get Clever With Storage
If you’re building a carport because available space is already in short supply, consider integrating storage right into it. The area doesn’t have to be quite as robust as the entire storage shed mentioned earlier, but it’s relatively simple to include a small closet, shelving unit, or storage for something specific, like outdoor recreation equipment or firewood.
15. Make a Super-sized Carport for Oversized Vehicles
If you have an RV, a horse trailer, ATVs, a fifth-wheel, a lifted truck, or any other type of oversized vehicle, you’re probably familiar with the associated struggles related to parking and keeping it both safe and protected from the elements. At your own home, create a dedicated parking space for your prized investment with a custom-built carport. Despite its impressive size, this type of carport is very simple to make, particularly if you use lightweight materials such as aluminum and sheet metal.
16. Include a Garage
So far we’ve seen suggestions for building a carport off of your existing garage, adding walls and gates to create a garage-style carport, and integrating storage into your carport. But what about creating a garage and a carport?
This plan allows you to have the best of both worlds: a secure garage for keeping valuables or vehicles safe, as well as a carport for simply parking and protecting your car from the sun and other harsh elements. A dual carport-garage setup is also ideal for people with one oversized vehicle or a vehicle that rarely gets driven.
17. Build a Drive-through
That’s not a typo; we mean drive-through, not drive-thru. Drive-through carports and garages allow you to pull in and go all the way through into the backyard (or whichever part of your home yours is situated in). The biggest benefit to this is that you don’t have to back up, and it’s most commonly used for vehicles that tow trailers. It’s also a great solution for driveways that are situated awkwardly or frequently accumulate ice and snow.
18. Make it an Extension of Your Home
If you decide at some point later on to add a carport directly onto your home, one option is to make it look like it was part of the original construction. This gives the entire exterior a nice seamless aesthetic.
19. Get Creative
Carports don’t necessarily have to be rectangular, square, or even symmetrical. There are also no rules on what materials they must be made out of, so don’t be afraid to think outside the box. As long as it meets your needs, don’t worry about using unconventional materials or building a carport into an unusual shape.
20. Create A Carport-Patio
Does your home have a carport that you don’t use? Perhaps it’s situated on a part of your property that’s difficult to get in and out of. Or, on the opposite end of the spectrum, maybe there’s an area on your property that’s perfect for a carport, but you don’t actually need to use it as such.
Enter the carport-patio. Just like any other type of patio, carport-patios are outdoor living spaces. Add furniture, string lighting, and maybe even privacy curtains or retractable shades, and voila — an additional patio!