When my wife and I were looking at houses a few years ago, we had a few different choices: two car, three car, carport with a side lot, etc. Then, I came across a listing for a house that had four pictures, and three of them were of the garage. I was so excited that we ended up driving to the house at midnight on a Saturday, and checking out the garage from the safety of our car. The next day, my wife and I took a tour. The house was a bit small, the kitchen was a weird configuration, and I wasn’t sure about the price. So I turned to my wife and said, “Do you think this would work?” She said, “Kevin, if that garage works for you, then the rest I can do myself.”
There’s a reason I married my wife.
So what’s so special about the garage? It measures 20X30, and is deep enough to hold a crew-cab, long bed truck, meaning that it’s got enough room for everything I need and more. But more importantly, a u-shaped concrete patch extending 15-feet out on either direction surrounds the garage, giving me plenty of room to park anything I want. At one point, I had a car in the garage on jack stands, two on one side, one in the back and three on the other side. I was at maximum capacity for my little compound, but I hadn’t even started parking in the street.
There are a lot of advantages to having a side lot. For me, the garage is meant to be a place of work, so I only park things there that need to be worked on, and therefore are immobile. By having space for extra cars, I can park my daily driver on the side of the garage, or use to space for future projects. In fact, that side lot gave me the ability to buy vehicles that I always had dreamed of but never figured I’d have the room to store, like my ’51 Chevrolet pickup that needed a full restoration. But it didn’t matter if it sat on the side of the house for 10 years, as long as I had the space, it wasn’t hurting anybody.
There’s also another advantage: room for large tools that I wouldn’t usually be able to own. My tubing bender sits outdoors – under a cover, granted – but the extra space gives me room to bend a 20-foot tube with no problems. A friend of mine has his lift mounted to the concrete on his side lot, giving him extra space to work on cars outdoors and even power wash the underside of his vehicles before he goes to work on them.
Not everyone has the space for a side lot, but if you do, take it from someone who knows it’s definitely worth the extra cost for pouring the cement.