This post contains affiliate links.
How can I protect my car or other vehicles without a garage? You may be asking yourself. If you don’t have enough space in the property or budget to build a garage, don’t worry. There are many inexpensive alternatives to a garage to suit any need.
Alternatives for garages include car covers, telescoping canopies, portable tent garages, sheds, quonset huts, pole barns, awnings and carports, and variations of carports.
Let’s explore these popular options and their properties and prices.
Inexpensive Garage Alternatives
Garage alternatives range from different types of covers to portable buildings to permanent buildings. Most are cheap, easy, and fast to assemble.
Car covers are a simple, very cheap, and easy way to keep the car clean and protected from snow, ice, dirt, and sun. They also protect the vehicle from being scuffed. Unfortunately, they aren’t as handy as other options in this list because you have to cover the car every time or take it off when you are using the vehicle. Covers are better than nothing, though.
Choose a cover that is breathable to prevent moisture from being trapped underneath. Keep in mind the underside of the car will still be exposed to the elements.
If you store a car longer under the cover, make sure to air the car out occasionally to prevent dew from forming beneath the surface. And let the cover dry at the same time in case the cover does not breathe properly.
There are car covers for indoor and outdoor usage and for different types of car bodies and sizes. You can also use big tarps to cover the car.
Price Range $30-$200
Like the name says, they are easy and fast to assemble canopies that provide shade. They are a popular option for camping and traveling. They are cheap but offer a little shelter for the vehicle. A good choice for fast sun and water shade. Better than nothing.
Price Range $20-$200
Portable Tent Garage
Portable tent garages work great around the year and keep the car snow, ice, dust,dirt-free and dry. They are easy to drive in and out from roll-up or zippered front enclosure or are open on one end.
Portable garages are like big tents for cars or other vehicles with metal frames and waterproof, breathable covering made from vinyl or other strong materials. And come in many sizes. They need to be anchored to the ground. These also keep the windshield from freezing in the winter.
Unfortunately, HOA(homeowners association) usually denies putting these pop-up garages up.
Price Range $200-$2,000
Sheds are a cheap and good place to store lawnmowers, garden tools, and other items and little vehicles even if they can’t fit a car. A typical shed is about 10 feet by 12 feet.
Building a shed is easy from prefab kits, or you can opt for modular or prebuilt one too that can be delivered to your property. Materials include wood, steel, vinyl and can be customized depending on the manufacturer to match the house.
Price Range $1,500-$4,000
Quonset huts are designed to be durable and cheap and can be installed with doors or be open-ended. They are constructed of arches that are bolted together. They come in ready-to-install kits and are super easy to assemble. They were initially developed for ww1 and ww2 by the British and the USA. Versatile hut for any purpose and come in many sizes.
Price Range $6 – $12 per square foot or $1,500-$15,000+
Pole barns are popular as farm barns, outdoor storage, and shed structures. Post-frame builds don’t have a foundation. Instead, they have vertical poles buried in the ground to provide support and girts to provide horizontal support. They are suitable for storing almost anything.
Price Range $15 – $35 per square foot or $4,000-$30,000+
Patio Covers & Awnings – Generally attached to the house over windows or doors and extends outwards, giving shade and protection. Easy to build and install. They are made from canvas or metal. Comes with retractable motorized or manual variety as well that can be extended or retracted.
Large awnings need to be supported sometimes from the outer corners. Works similar cover as a carport that is attached to the house.
Price Range $250-$4,000
Carports are an excellent alternative to garages and come prefabricated or can be custom built to any size. They are easy to assemble and can be freestanding or connect to the house. They aren’t fully enclosed but keep most rain, snow, heat, and other elements out.
Usually made of wood, steel, or aluminum. Carports will also keep the windshield from freezing in the winter. Carport walls can be made from wood, stone, or steel and made to match the home visual style. You can also use carports to protect larger vehicles like boats, RVs, or tractors.
Metal prebuilt carports need to be secured well to the ground to avoid wind damage.
Read all about carports here.
Price Range $1,000-$10,000
- Outdoor Walkway Covers
- Designer Shade Sails
- Under decks
- Car Shelter
Do I Need Planning Permission for Alternative Garages?
Anything that is temporary and can be disassembled quickly doesn’t need any kind of permission. This covers portable tents and similar structures. One of the main reasons that these are used as garages is that they don’t require permits, or people can’t get permission to construct a permanent garage on their property.
With permanent structures, you usually need permits. This covers sheds, huts, pole barns, and carports, etc. However, suppose you live in an HOA(homeowners association) area. In that case, you always need to check what kind of structures are allowed besides the house.