Out walking this morning I noticed that, despite garages becoming much bigger, there seem to be lots more cars parked outside garages than inside them.  Why is that?

A Double Garage Seems to be a Requirement Now…

In new houses, it seems that a double garage is what is deemed necessary these days.  I assumed that was because most houses now have two cars.  But, as I walked, it seemed that even bigger, new two(or more) car garages have cars parked outside them.  Some old garages were open as I walked and they seemed not to have space for a car in them at all, so even the one car was parked outside..

…But Not for Cars

And that rings true when I’ve visited new houses and entered garages.  The purpose of a garage is no longer to house the car.  Its purposes now are to act as a storage space for what used to be in a shed at the back of the house, to store other valuables (such as a small boat, a trailer or a vintage car that isn’t being driven), or to act as an extra room ( say for table tennis or billiards), especially if it is underground or well sealed.

All this means that those expanding numbers of expensive cars are increasingly being parked in the open in the weather in a driveway or on a street.  Is this because owners no longer care for their cars?  Is it because space is too valuable or needed for more ‘inside’, smaller storages?  Is it because sheds have vanished, along with backyards?  Is it because cars have become wider and larger and don’t fit into older garages?  Is it because cars are now cheap and less valued?

In Dad’s Day…

My father was a great one for caring for his cars.  He installed a double garage more than 60 years ago, parked the cars there religiously and washed and polished them regularly.  I failed to follow.  My cars have almost always been outside on the street, in a driveway, occasionally in an existing  carport, only in a garage in below-freezing Minnesota.  I’ve never valued cars apart from their transporting ability, but it’s quite funny for me to see that most people now seem to have come round to my way of thinking!

In My Day…

I had a garage at the back of my current house, but we never used it as such.  It contained all the items that go into an outside shed.  The garage was demolished, but it was replaced by a very ordinary, almost invisible, wooden shed, full of the same items.  The concept of a structure to house the car was never considered.  Even at our new shared beach house, we’ve demolished the old drive-through carport – very modern for its time – and replaced it with…nothing but garden!  The cars are on the verge, a levelled gravel area the only concession to their existence.

In My Children’s Day…When will Design reflect Reality?

All the reasons above have something to do with the lack of use of garage space for cars now.  People proudly show you their new house with its underground or heavily sealed warm garage-like space, full of a wide variety of stored and in-use items.  I wonder how long it will be before designers acknowledge reality and stop designing huge double-doored garage spaces at the front of two-storey houses and owners realise that they have no real intention of using these structures for their cars any more.  These spaces are essential parts of houses now.  But they are no longer garages, for cars.



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