Brilliant carport ideas that are practical and beautiful

timber single carport
(Image credit: Dunster House)

Carport ideas are becoming increasingly sought-after by those looking for an alternative to garages or homeowners keen to provide somewhere to house their vehicle where it can be protected from the elements. 

There are many different types of carport, some very similar to oak frame garages, others more akin to very basic shelters made up of little more than a roof. The design you end up choosing should reflect not only your budget and how quickly you want the structure to be up and running but you also need to keep in mind how it will affect the overall kerb appeal of your home. 

We have collected a range of carport ideas to get you started and also go on to explain what to look out for when sourcing and buying the right design for you.

How are carport ideas different to garages?

So exactly what is a carport? It can be a little confusing when it comes to how they differ from garages but there are some distinct differences. 

Carports tend to comprise a roof – which can be either flat or pitched – which will be supported by some form of posts or columns. They can be built as either freestanding structures or those that are attached to the side of the house, as in the case of lean-to carports. They can be open either on all sides or just one or two. 

Carports can be single, double or even offer space for more vehicles. Some also combine sheds for storage. Unlike garages carports don't have doors and can't be locked up — they simply provide shelter for the vehicles and their occupants. 

1. Use a timber lean-to to provide a sheltered entrance

lean-to carport

A lean-to carport makes is easy to transition from car to house.  (Image credit: Dunster House)

Lean-to carports are a great idea, often making it possible to get from your car and into your house without being exposed to the elements. This style of carport is usually pretty simple to install and some are available in kit form to be constructed on a DIY basis. They also come in a range of different materials. 

This Leviathan Lean-To Carport from Dunster House is made from pressure treated timber and has 120mm thick posts supporting it on its open side. It is designed with DIY installation in mind and costs from £1,064.99.

2. Keep it simple with a canopy carport

canopy carport

Simple stand-alone carports are a budget-friendly and space-saving option.  (Image credit: Nucrete)

Carports need not take up lots of space around your house or interfere too much with your driveway ideas — nor do they have to cost a fortune. Simple canopy carports need minimal space yet still provide useful shelter for your vehicle, both in bad weather as well as from overheating in the summer. 

The Palram Carport Verona 5000 Grey Bronze from Nucrete is a stand-alone flat roof carport kit that can be installed on a DIY basis by two people. It costs £1,235.

3. Tie your carport design in with your house

oak frame carport

Make sure that a carport in close proximity to your house suits the architectural style of the principle building.  (Image credit: Border Oak)

Ideally your the design of your carport should complement or tie-in with the style of your house, particularly if it is to be located adjacent or nearby. While more contemporary and modern styles of home suit a whole range of carport styles, from slimline stand-alone flat roof models to sleek lean-tos, if you are dealing with a period-style property or one that is more traditional in its design you might need to carry out a little bit more in-depth research to find something that will do your house justice. 

This beautiful oak frame carport is by Border Oak and has been designed to echo the design of the house it stands next to. It also features handy storage in the roof, accessed by an external staircase. 

4. Integrate a shed into your design

wooden carport with shed

Combining your carport with a shed or other form of garden room is a great way to make the best use of space.  (Image credit: Quick-garden.co.uk)

Why not take a two-in-one approach to your carport and combine it with a shed or some garden room ideas? Carports are available in all kinds of configurations and if you fancy tacking a garden office, shed or even a covered outdoor seating area on to it then all of these ideas should be possible. 

This Double Wooden Carport With Shed from Quick-garden.co.uk is perfect for those who want two covered parking spaces, plus an extra room for storage or outdoor living. It currently costs £5,849.00 which includes delivery, offloading, hardware kit and VAT.

5. Combine your carport with extra living space

oak frame carport

This substantial carport features living accommodation above.  (Image credit: Welsh Oak Frame)

A very popular approach to carport design is to create a two storey building that doubles up as additional living accommodation. Bear in mind that this kind of structure may well require planning permission so be sure to check with your local planning department first. 

This stunning triple carport from Welsh Oak Frame features useful living space above, finished with a beautiful slate roof and timber-clad gable section. 

6. Take a DIY approach with a carport kit

kit carport

Carport kits are an affordable and quick option.  (Image credit: Nucrete)

While bespoke and custom made carports are undoubtedly a great way to get a very tailored building designed to your exacting needs, they are most certainly not the cheapest route to take. If you are working to a tight budget, a far more cost effective approach is to buy your carport in kit form and construct it on a DIY basis.

There are many companies out there specialising in DIY kit carports. This lean-to model is from Nucrete and is made from a rust-resistant aluminium frame and laser cut galvanised steel connectors. Models cost from £628.00 – £5,171.00 depending on size. 

7. Consider exactly what you want from a carport

timber freestanding carport

Before parting with any money, really spend time thinking through what it is you want from your new carport.  (Image credit: Dunster House)

To be a worthwhile investment your carport should meet all of your requirements — otherwise you will be wasting both money and your external space. Really think about what you need from this structure. Do you simply require shelter for your vehicles or do you want some form of building to be incorporated? If you live in a very exposed spot you might want to consider having more of an enclosed building than if you enjoy a more sheltered position.

This double timber carport from Dunster House meets the needs of its owners by producing space for both a motorbike and a 4x4. 

8. Combine storage with your carport

oak frame carport

Building your carport into the design of other outbuildings can result in some beautiful structures.  (Image credit: Border Oak)

Carports do not have to be stand-alone structures — they can also be built into other buildings, such as garden offices, sheds and even summer houses. While these types of designs are available off-the-shelf, taking a bespoke approach is more likely to result in a design that suits your plot and needs. 

This carport, designed by Border Oak, is full of character and features an enclosed side area for log storage, along with a cosy outbuilding to the other side. 

9. Find ways to blend your carport into its surroundings

wooden single carport

Use planting around your carport to make it look more at home in its setting.  (Image credit: Quick-garden.co.uk)

Your new carport shouldn't stick out like a sore thumb — as it is likely to be located at the front of your house, it should blend in and enhance rather than spoil the façade of your home. For this reason do look into ways that you could help your carport to meld with the rest of your front garden ideas

This single wooden carport from Quick-garden.co.ukalready blends well into its wooded setting thanks to its construction materials but the addition of plenty of pots and shrubbery surrounding it helps even more. 

10. Enclose your carport on three sides

timber single carport

By using a carport design that is only open to one side you can ensure your vehicle is fully protected from the elements.  (Image credit: Dunster House)

Unlike garages, which are fully enclosed structures that are either freestanding or integrated into the main house, carports are open on one or more sides. While this works well in many situations, if you want to fully protect your vehicle from the wind and rain or plan on storing items such as firewood, bikes and so on in there you will probably want to look at designs which are more enlcosed. 

This design from Dunster House is their Leviathan Single Timber Framed Carport. It is not only heavy-duty, made from pressure treated slow grown spruce, but it is also enclosed on three sides and features a 19mm thick roof. It costs £ 3,639.84.

FAQs

Do you need planning permission for a carport?

Most carports will fall under permitted development as they come under the category of outbuildings. That said, there will be instances when planning permission will be required, such as when the carport will be more than one storey high or will exceed 2.5m in height and be located within 2m of your property boundary. There are also other exceptions which are the same as with garden room planning permission

What size should a carport be?

While there is no minimum recommended size for carports, the design you opt for obviously needs to be fit for purpose.

“Typically I would recommend each bay to be 3m wide by 5.5-6m in depth," says Zoe Grey, a regional design consultant for garages and outbuildings at Oakwrights. "If you would like EV charging in the bay, 6m depth is essential. This will allow for the charging on the back of the bay and a large 4x4 vehicle."

Natasha Brinsmead

Natasha is Homebuilding & Renovating’s Associate Content Editor and has been a member of the team for over two decades. An experienced journalist and renovation expert, she has written for a number of homes titles. Over the years Natasha has renovated and carried out a side extension to a Victorian terrace. She is currently living in the rural Edwardian cottage she renovated and extended on a largely DIY basis, living on site for the duration of the project. She is now looking for her next project — something which is proving far harder than she thought it would be.