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5 Inexpensive Garage Alternatives

A photo collage of a garage alternatives.

While choosing the type of garage to build is a homeowner’s dilemma, not every homeowner has enough space on their property or money in their budget to build one. Still, many desire or need a designated area to keep their car or other vehicles out of the elements while maintaining the aesthetic appeal of the front of their home.

Some cheap alternatives to garages include permanent structures that aren’t as expensive as others to build and maintain and covers that are lightweight and portable so they can be stored in the trunk of a car and whipped out to use wherever the car may be.

1. Sheds

Shed garage with two red doors.

A shed is one of the first cheap garage alternatives that will spring to the minds of most people. You may even already have a shed of some sort on your property now.

Garages can be used for many different purposes, and so can sheds. Some people use garages to store vehicles, while other people use these structures for storage and as a place to keep tools and other useful items.

If you are one of the millions of people who want to use a garage for storage, then a shed could be the perfect garage alternative for you. A shed may not be large enough to accommodate a car or other vehicle but could be perfect for storing items like your lawnmower, gardening tools, and various other items.

Building a small shed shouldn’t be too difficult or expensive, and ready-made sheds are even available to purchase. When it comes to sheds, you should choose whatever option is going to be the easiest and most cost-effective solution for you.

Most modern sheds are made from some type of steel. The use of steel in building sheds ensures that the structure will remain sturdy, and helps it to stand the test of time. Some people prefer to make sheds from wood.

Sheds made from wood can look really beautiful, depending on how much effort was put into the building and the design of the shed. If you need a shed for storing tools and smaller items than vehicles like cars, building one shouldn’t be too much of a hassle or take up too much space on your property.


Building a shed isn’t typically that expensive, overall. It is possible to buy sheds that have already been built, and simply have them delivered to your property.

Whatever route you decide to use when it comes to adding a shed to your property will work out fine. Sheds can store tools and things like lawnmowers, along with other important items, and then give you peace of mind.


A shed is unable to provide all of the conveniences that a garage can. For example, a shed will be unable to keep a car safe from the elements, as sheds are not usually as large as garages, and certain larger tools may not fit in a shed quite as easily as they would a garage.

Even so, you should be able to store many things in the shed. A shed might be the best bet, especially if the property isn’t very large.

2. Carports

A car taking shelter under a carport.

If your reason for wishing that you had a garage is that your car needs protection from the elements, then we should let you know that there are other options available to you besides the traditional garage. One of the most common structures that people build to protect their cars is the carport.

Though building a carport as a DIY project isn’t too difficult, building one does require some knowledge. A carport is basically an open structure with a roof that you can park your car under for basic protection from the elements.

A carport will protect a car from getting rained on and will keep the snow off it if you live in an area that receives a lot of snow. Building a carport doesn’t have to be overly complicated.

You can build a freestanding carport or one that is attached to your home. No matter which type of carport you choose to build, your car will be far more protected under one than it would be with no protection whatsoever.

It’s an excellent idea to care for an expensive item like a car as best you can, due to their usefulness and the expense it takes to buy and maintain them. Having a carport will allow your car to continue looking its best and will keep it working well.

A good carport will help mitigate some of the damage that the elements can weather on a vehicle. If you don’t have room for a garage on your property, then a carport may be the next best thing to install in or near your home.


Building a carport should be possible for the beginner to do with a little time, effort, and research. Most people have options as to where to place a carport, as well. Carports can work both as freestanding structures, or when attached to the house.

A carport will keep your car out of the rain and snow, for the most part, and you won’t have to pay for things like garage walls, shelf or shelves, or insulation.


Due to the fact that it is partially open, a carport will not provide complete coverage and protection from the elements. It is useful to have a carport, and having one may prevent you from having to shovel snow off your car.

Even so, a carport isn’t quite as protective or versatile as a traditional garage. For example, a carport provides much less storage space and options for storage than a garage, which is a fully covered and contained steel structure, does.

3. Car Covers

A sports car parked outdoors and protected by a red car cover.

If you want to protect your car in a way that is much simpler than building a carport, then you could look into car covers. Car covers are a terrific way to keep a car from being exposed to or harmed by the elements.

When you have a car cover and you arrive home, you can simply cover the parked car with the cover. The car cover will keep the car from getting rained on, and will also protect the car from snow and ice.

Using a car cover isn’t a perfect solution, of course. For one thing, you can’t cover the undercarriage of a car with a car cover, so wintry environments can still impact parts of the vehicle.

However, using a car cover is still much better than using nothing at all and leaving a car open to the elements. Many of the best car covers can even prevent the car paint from dulling by providing UV protection, as well.

People who truly care about their car or cars will definitely want to purchase car covers. Sometimes car owners even use a car cover method in conjunction with a carport for extra protection.

A car cover can keep a car from getting scuffed or otherwise damaged while it is parked. Though using a car cover may not be as effective as parking a car in a garage, it is a cheap garage alternative to consider.


You can protect a car from many different things if you take the time to put a car cover on it once it’s parked. A car cover can keep a car out of the elements and prevent the paint from getting scuffed.

Many car covers can even protect the car from UV rays, which helps in keeping the paint job looking its best for a longer period of time than it would otherwise.

If you use car covers regularly, then your car is most likely going to stay in good shape, barring some sort of unusual accident, weather, or other circumstances.


A car cover is only going to be able to do so much to protect a car. Car covers can keep a car safe from certain things, but cannot protect the car completely. There are going to be aspects of the environment that will still impact the car even when using a car cover.

This doesn’t mean that car covers aren’t worth buying and using, but it does mean that you should go into your car cover purchase with realistic expectations.

4. Awnings

Vehicles parked under a steel awning.

An awning is a structure that is able to keep a car from getting rained on and from having snow or another solid precipitation fall on top of the car. Awnings work quite similarly to the carports mentioned previously in this article.

The difference between a carport and an awning is that an awning is generally attached to another structure, such as a house. An awning is a structure that extends outwards to provide shade and protection for the thing stored under it.

Most people who have awnings in their homes have them placed over the top of a patio area or a deck. It isn’t really as typical to see an awning placed over the driveway as it is to see it over a patio or deck.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t use this method; it just means that using an awning to protect a car is not as common as using other affordable garage alternatives.

If you want to build an awning and your driveway comes close enough to your home to make it a practical option, then building an awning is something to seriously consider. You should be able to build an awning yourself as a DIY project, or you can buy one and have it installed where you need it.

The awning shown here is an easy one to install by yourself if you are somewhat handy. You may need to purchase two awnings and use them in conjunction to make a long enough area to cover a car.

The awning in the photo is just under seven feet long, so two awnings will help to create a decent covered parking area for a typical vehicle. Whether or not an awning is a cost-effective method depends on the materials used and the size of the awning.


Installing an awning like the one pictured shouldn’t be too difficult for you to accomplish yourself. You should be able to get the awning up in a reasonable amount of time so you will be able to start parking your car under a basic protective layer.

You shouldn’t experience as much concern over weather like rain, snow, and hail if you’re able to park underneath an awning. Awnings are available to buy in retractable models, as well, if you are in need of that.


An awning is not going to be quite as convenient as some of the other options listed here. If you are going to spend the kind of money an awning costs to help protect your car, then you might be better off installing a carport instead.

An awning is just one affordable garage alternative solution, and it can be an excellent option, depending on your individual needs and the space you have available.

5. Telescoping Tents

A black telescopic tent isolated in a white background.

Telescoping tents act in essentially the same way as the awning mentioned above does. The difference between a telescoping tent and an awning is that a telescoping tent is a portable version of an awning, and is often somewhat easier to use than an awning is.

When you need to cover a car, you can use a telescoping tent to help keep it safe. It shouldn’t take too long to set up the tent, so you will be able to rely on it in a pinch.

Some people even take telescoping tents with them when they are traveling, especially on car trips. Using a telescopic tent is an easy way to protect a car when heavy rain or even a hailstorm suddenly appears. With a telescopic tent, you’ll be able to take quick action to ensure that your car stays in the best shape possible.


It is easy to set up a telescoping tent quickly. If you want to avoid spending too much money, a telescoping tent is a great and cheap option for protecting a vehicle. You can purchase a telescoping tent at a reasonable price, and you will be able to make use of it immediately.


A telescoping tent will not provide as much protection as a fully enclosed garage or a covered carport. If you want a simple solution that you can make use of without having to spend much money, a telescoping tent is an excellent option to do these things.