If you have selected garage plans before planning the property or lot you may have acted too quickly. There are usually many limitations on development. Your property is defined by category of zoning by your local planning (or zoning) office. Each category has limitations and controls which affect the development of your property. Where structures can be built, their size and height, their use (defined as a type of occupancy) are established for your zone’s parameters. This information is available in your county or city development code. How close you can build to a property line, a right of way or easement is called as ‘setback’ or ‘BSL’ for building setback line. Setbacks can reference street center lines, property lines, and easement lines. The distance from the property line is usually in scale with the size of property.

Garages and sheds are often placed right up to the property line. This is referred to as ‘zero-set-back’. Older in-city residential lots are relatively small and it was common to build garages at back corner with a driveway going through side setback area straight back to the garage. In this location, garages would typically have no roof overhang at the property line(s) because no part of the structure can encroach on the adjacent properties. There are also examples where the roof overhangs were built right up to the property lines which meant the walls were that far back from the lines.

In today’s development and building codes, there are often requirements for 1-hour fire-resistive construction for structures within 1 to 5 feet of the property line. In that case, it would be necessary to build with materials that will not burn to the point of structural failure for at least an hour. So materials such as concrete, cementitious trim, siding soffits and roofing are often used. Also, 5/8″ thick type X gypsum wallboard layers can be used to protect inner framing is not fire-rated. Special construction like that is relatively expensive and can be avoided if the structure can be built at standard setback locations.

Other site elements can factor into your planning, such as storm water drainage and impervious surface areas, view corridors, and allowable percentage of lot coverage by the structure. With all of that considered, it is time to shop for garage plans.