Parking in garages and hard standings accessed from the front Print

Desi​gn Checklist

  1. Quality street environments are established where the building front is prominent, positively addressing the street and not obscured by the car or garage 
  2. Convenient and safe routes between the parking space and house are provided
  3. Car and cycle parking is safe and secure
  4. An efficient use of the land is achieved without excessive land taken by parking and manoeurving

​​​​Parking located on the site and accessed from in front of the terraced house includes parking on hard-standings and integrated garages accessed off the street or shared accessways, as these areas are also considered a 'front'. 

The advantages and disadvantages of parking in front of the house on the site are defined below, and better design practice presented.

 Advantages of garages and hard standings accessed from the front: 

  • Easy and convenient access.
  • Car parking is generally safe and visible from the dwelling.
  • Land is used efficiently through minimising the space needed for manoeuvring, where located directly off the street.
  • Cycle parking can also be provided within the building envelope.
  • Horizontally stacked (one car parked in front of the other) garages can provide a route from the back of the house to the front without going through the house itself, which is useful for removing rubbish etc.
​Disadvantages of garages and hard standings accessed from the front:
  • A large, wide garage can block visual contact between the house and the street, limiting the contribution to safe streets and accessways.
  • Double-width garages and their crossovers can dominate the street and undermine the continuity of the footpath and landscaped berms along the street.  This creates physical and psychological barriers to walking, which is an important choice for all, especially those who do not have access to a car
  • Frontages dominated by cars can affect the value of the house and the development as a whole.

Better Design Practice

Ensure that the house, not the garage, accounts for most of the front façade. 
Single-width garages or double-stacked parking spaces within a dwelling should be designed to provide a habitable room within the terraced house on the ground level. Front doors and kitchens, living spaces or study areas should provide opportunities for visual contact with the street or shared accessway at the ground floor. Where possible, avoid double-width garages that are integrated into a terraced house.

On sloping sites, a half-basement garage with a half elevated front door and living or kitchen spaces, can offer a good visual connection and attractive front yard if well-designed. For example, bay windows can be used to project above ground floor garages, providing surveillance and minimising the dominance of the garage beneath.

  • Garages should provide space for cycle parking. 
  • Garages should not project forward of the building line. Wider terraces and semi-detached types should allow the garage to be recessed behind the main building line. 
  • Landscape the edges of driveways to reduce the visual impact of the car. 
  • The quality of the garage door and driveway surface are also important to consider in the overall design. 
  • Minimise the driveway width where it crosses over the footpath. 
  • Consider sharing driveway crossings to maximise space for on-street parking. 
  • Construct driveways and other vehicle crossings to maintain a level and continuous footpath.

Rules of Thumb

Garages should be less than half of the width of the house.

Therefore, when there is a single garage, the width of terraced houses should be more than 6.5m to allow space for the entrance and habitable room on the ground floor.

Garage doors should be at least five metres away from the legal boundary of the road in order to park a second car on the driveway.

Driveway widths should be a maximum of three metres for a single garage, and 4.5 metres for a double garage.

Provide at least one safe and secure cycle parking space per house.

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