When my partner and I moved into our “new” farmhouse in August of 2018, we suddenly had quite an extensive to-do list on our hands. One of the things we particularly wanted, was a carport. We both come from families of craftsmen– and women, so while we hadn’t tried building a carport ourselves yet, we were certain we’d quickly learn and (somehow) manage.
But before we could build anything, I first needed to design it.
Designing the Carport
Since we both have cars, a double carport was a given. We quickly settled on an open, flat-roofed type. So far so good. As with most design tasks, I began looking for inspiration online, in a book, and, well, in the front yards of other people’s houses when we were out driving. Competitor research!
One thing we learned from the bitter experience of others was a carport that is too small is a pain in the butt. It’s very important you are able to open the doors and get yourself – and potential groceries or large objects – out of your car. In many ways, the process actually reminds a lot of working with Product Design.
Finding a size and style for the carport which matched the surroundings was actually pretty hard. For a small country town like ours a sharp, black-and-steel look wouldn’t be fitting, so we decided very early on we’d build it primarily out of wood. We were the least certain about the color; should it be green to blend in, blue to compliment the garage door or black; the timeless classic? In the end, we settled for white despite it not being a very “practical” color because the “main body” of the house is white.
I scoured the internet for drawings for pre-built carports and found quite a few, however, they weren’t exactly the size I wanted. I soon realized I’d just have to draw it myself since we’d also need detailed drawings for our building permit application for the municipality.
My plans for the dimensions changed around two-three if not four times in total, even as we were actually ordering materials to the great frustration of my partner and our contact person at the building supply store. I wanted to be completely certain the size was right since this is not just something you can Ctrl-Z your way out of. You think BrideZilla is bad, well, meet the BuildingZilla! Anyways, we made an effort to not have a lot of wasted material.
For the foundation, we contracted a company to come out and drill some huge-ass ground screws down. This was by far the largest expense, costing almost as much as all the materials, but it was well worth it. None of us felt any particular urge to cast ten posts into the ground with all the hard work and careful measuring that comes with it. We also wanted to have a relationship on the other side of the project.
It’s was pretty hard to imagine how the carport might actually end up looking like just based on a few, flat plan drawings and 2D drawings. I drew the carport using a tool called floorplanner – it’s free to use and quite easy to work with… Sort of!
Building the Carport
Once the ground screws were in place and the materials had arrived, we started painting everything so we wouldn’t have to do it once assembled. We went to a proper painting store and got an oil-based paint which was both a primer and paint all-in-one which saved us a lot of layers and time.
The carport had more than one function. Apart from shielding our cars from the harsh, Danish winter we also wanted it to wall off our garden. While our small country town is not exactly a heavily trafficked place apart from the people who live here and the occasional, passing horse and rider, there was a completely unobstructed view into our backyard from the street.
We also needed to make sure the construction didn’t collapse into itself like a house of cards. Apart from holding the wood boards for the fence, these wood beams would also help stabilize the building, making it stronger.
The carport at this point did quite a bit to wall off the garden, but about 1/3rd was still open. At this point, the project had been dragging out and was also ultimately affecting our relationship. If you think IKEA is the ultimate relationship test, try building a carport together.
This meant while we were extremely excited the carport itself was close to being finished, we needed to also build a fence and garden gate in an extension of it. We expected as much, to be honest, but expecting a situation and being in that situation are two very different things.
We still have to cut off the tops of the fence posts and paint the entire fence again. I also still want to build “boxes” around the bottom of the posts to hide the tops of the ground screws and make it look prettier.
But besides that, the carport is actually all done. ✅