A connected breezeway running between your home and garage gives your property a luxury feel, offering a covered space for outdoor entertaining and lounging. It improves traffic flow in your home and can even add a covetable architectural element to your home’s exterior.
Like any home addition, your options abound when designing a new breezeway. You’ll want to consider not only your own needs and aesthetic, but also how the appearance complements that of your existing garage and house. Read on to find out how to get one in your home.
Consider Your Home’s Existing Design
The ideal design for your breezeway depends a lot on the existing structure of the house and garage, and how they’ll be joined. For instance, if you already have a paved path between the two buildings, you might only need to construct a supported roof. However, if the area between them is rocky, hilly, or otherwise uneven, you may want to build a flat wooden walkway as well.
You’ll also need to decide how designed you want it to be. Some homeowners add architectural features to breezeways, like trellises, glass ceilings, or attractive windows, turning them into a design focal point. Others prefer a structure that’s more minimalist, or one that blends into the existing aesthetic of the home and garage.
But generally, homeowners choose one of three commonly used types: a contained, funneled, or offset breezeway. Contained breezeways consist of a linear, gabled roof that matches both the design and roofing of both joined structures. Funneled breezeways, on the other hand, sit between two angled buildings, and are generally used more like a porch or pergola. It has a funnel-shaped area (hence the name), that opens outward toward the the front yard, making it a nice place to put patio furniture. Builders use an offset breezeway when the house and the garage don’t sit directly across from one another. Homeowners often choose a complementary design or roof color for this type of breezeway.
Think About How You’ll Use the Space
Once you have an idea how you want your breezeway to look, you’ll also want to make some decisions about how it functions. Will you use it expressly as a walkway between one building to the other? Or will you set up furniture and use it as another outdoor space? Or do you want to enclose the space and install windows? Are you looking to add built-in storage? Will you need outlets? What about lighting? Get clear about what you want before you begin, because the features you add will affect the overall design and construction, as well as determine how complicated the project is.
Should You DIY or Hire a Builder?
Constructing a breezeway means making extensive structural changes to your home. You’ll have to build load-bearing supports, and you’ll need a pretty thorough construction background to do the job right. For this reason, a breezeway should only be attempted by a very knowledgeable builder with plenty of experience in similar projects. Most amateur DIYs probably don’t have the know-how to complete such a job.
For more complex work, such as a funneled breezeway, you may be better off consulting with a contractor even if you’ve done construction work in the past. The same thing goes for jobs that require wiring or other electrical work. Only very simple designs make good DIY projects.
Hiring a Contractor
As with any home renovation, get at least three different bids before you choose a contractor. That way, you can make sure you get a fair estimate. Also ask about each contractor’s past work. You want to find someone with a history in building. A contractor who has constructed garages and other structures in the past makes the best choice. Don’t be afraid to ask for references, and check the contractor’s background. If you need lighting or other electrical work, ask your contractor who will be doing this part of the job. Does he or she have the necessary certifications, or will they hire an electrician to help? A good contractor should have prompt answers for all of these questions and will be able to explain the process to you, from start to finish.
Budgeting for Your Project
Most times, a breezeway is a fairly expensive project—particularly if you want specific architectural features added. Hiring a contractor to help you definitely raises the price, as well. Unless you need only a simple covering, budget at least several thousand dollars for the job.
Many homeowners also choose to construct a new garage when they build a breezeway. In that case, the price of the project can vary greatly, depending on what you want in a garage. You can expect to spend anywhere from $40,000 to $150,000 for a job like this. However, garage additions stand as one of the most profitable remodels you can make. They typically return over 60 percent of the cost on resale value, so they’re definitely worth the investment.
With a new breezeway installed, you’ll add polish to your home’s exterior. And you’ll have a new, unique way to enjoy the outdoors, while still staying sheltered from the elements. Now that’s what you call breezy!