Heritage advisory notes provide general guidelines to help you design new buildings and additions, including fences, gardens and colour schemes, to maintain the character and style of your property and surrounds.

Heritage carport and garage design hintscarports house styles legend

  • The house and its setting should remain the main feature of the site.
  • Locate carports, garages and sheds so as not to obscure the house or existing garden.
  • Roof forms should match those of the house.
  • Details should complement the character of the house.

Design guidelines

carports ca1930

The purpose of this advisory note is to provide general guidelines for the design, detailing and siting of carports, garages and sheds in heritage and character precincts. It should be read in conjunction with the relevant planning controls for your area.

Many older properties in Toowoomba and the surrounding region were built before motor vehicles were in general use. As a result many carports and garages were simply tacked on to the front or sides of dwellings. It is important that the design and details of new carports, garages and sheds complement the character of the original house.

It is preferable for the house to remain the prominent feature of a residential site. A dominant carport or garage can adversely impact on the historic values of the house or streetscape. Following these guidelines can help with the design of the carport or garage in enhancing the image and character values of your property and street.

These same design principles can be applied to the construction of sheds where they are visible from the street. Generally speaking, prefabricated metal garages and carports are not suited to heritage or character precincts, unless they are located at the rear of the site. Some suppliers are able to adapt their standard designs to suit these guidelines.


carports illustration 1 2It is preferable for the carport or garage to be located at the rear of the house. This position will help minimise the impact of the structure on the house and its setting within the streetscape. Matching the original house materials and details is less critical with a structure that is at the rear of the main house.

Provided there is adequate space, an alternative location for a carport or garage is at the side of the house. The front of the carport or garage should be set back further from the street than the house. Materials and details should match with the existing house to blend new with old.

It is not recommended that you build in front of the house. Both planning and building regulations may disallow this option altogether. However where space is restricted it may be the only location possible. In this case the best idea is to build a single carport rather than a garage so that the structure is small scale and lightweight. This ensures that obstruction of the house is minimised.


It is important to consider the appearance of a carport or garage within the overall streetscape. Carports and garages should not dominate your own house or any neighbouring houses. Within the street there may be a rhythm or pattern in the relationship between houses and driveways. If so, it is important to maintain these features.

Consider your neighbours and the proximity of your driveway and carport or garage to their houses. Try to plan your carport or garage so that it does not overshadow any important windows or compromise the privacy of your own or your neighbours' homes.

carports siting

carports illustration 7 and 9

Building form / shape

As a general rule the overall form of the carport, garage or shed should be similar to the original house. This particularly applies to the roof, as this is generally the dominant feature of a small building.

For example, if the house has a pyramid or hipped style roof, then so too should any new structure. Similarly gabled roofed homes are generally suited to new structures with gabled roofs. Where the house roof features a combination of hipped and gabled roof there is greater flexibility with this rule. It is important that the roof pitch and overhang of a carport or garage match that of the main house.

Where a building is not visible from the street there is also greater flexibility with this rule. However it is important to consider the overall form of rear sheds as they impact on the setting of the house and views from and within the back yard.

carports illustration 8







Scale, proportion and height

The scale or size of the carport, garage or shed should not dominate the main house. As a general rule the gutter line of the new building should be lower than that of the house. In some cases it may be preferable to plan a carport or garage with cars parked in tandem, one behind the other, rather than a double width structure. This can help minimise the visual width and impact of the new building.

carports building shape formDetailing

The detailing of material such as wall cladding, roofing, and gutters should complement the existing house. Generally if the house has timber walls and a galvanised iron roof so too should the carport, garage or shed. The details need not be exact replicas –this can be impractical and expensive. It also makes good sense for future historic research to make some distinction between the original buildings and the new additions.

For example the size or width of weatherboard or chamferboard on walls is more important than matching an exact profile, since the horizontal lines of the boards will be visible from some distance. The profile can only be compared if examined in detail. It is preferable that any sheet material, such as custom orb profile steel, be laid so that the dominant lines or corrugations run horizontally.

The closer to the house and front of the block a new building is located, the more closely the materials should match the original. So if the garage is located beside the house, wall and roof cladding should match those of the house. If located at the rear where the structure is less obtrusive, alternative materials such as Custom Orb sheeting are appropriate. Modern profile metal sheeting such as Trimdek is not recommended for roofs or walls.

Decorative elements

Historic houses often have decorative elements within their facades such as shaped bargeboards, timber mouldings and decorative insets of pressed metal, finials or lacework. It is not necessary to replicate these features exactly for a successful garage or carport design. Traditionally the main house would have been the most ornate building with it's outbuildings having less elaborate design elements. It is often possible to borrow elements from the main house and simplify them for lesser structures such as carports, garages or sheds.

carports illustration 14 15