Let’s walk through the things we’ve learned about building a walkout for our basement that’s below grade. With a detached garage for our fun toys too!

drafting a detached garage plan

Gosh, gee, golly it’s been awhile since I’ve written on here. But I’m here I promise! I’ve been working away on my Instagram and teaching at Ensign College here in Utah AND I’ve been designing for Cobblestone and Olive Interiors. Phew. It’s busy and I love it.

I’m just gonna dive right in here, since my kiddos are currently fighting over the play-dough in the other room. I made this draft:

detached garage plan in utah

And right now I’m doing all the manifesting I can muster to try to make it a reality…. As well as contacting contractors, getting bids and redoing these drafts over and over again because of all the building codes of the city that I’ve got to follow. (see the small dotted lines… those are the setbacks and easements I didn’t know we needed to do until about a week ago.) :l See here for what I had prepared before I knew the required codes that applied to our project:

detached garage plan with walkout basement

Do you think it’s cutting corners (pun intended) to cut the corner of our detached garage to have it stay behind the front yard line? We’re gonna see what the planning committee says. Fingers crossed it passes!

So let me tell you the story behind this big addition. We have this big ol’ side yard that we never use, and we love motorcycles and need a place to store them. Also, we want to rent our basement out to help pay the bills. So, here we are! Short story!

home elevation of walkout basement

The hardest parts about this project. Spending money and working for myself. I’m sure there are other designers out there who feel this when I say the most stressful client is your own dang self.

drafting in AutoCAD a detached structure

So, if you yourself are wondering where to start with your detached garage or shed or walkout basement plans here’s a to do list to get started.

  1. Look up codes FIRST, and go ahead and call your city planning department too just to be extra sure. Our house is on a corner lot, yes, but it is also in a cul-de-sac… and it sits on our lot very strangely. So I thought I had the right codes when I did my first draft of construction drawings, and then it all got trashed once we called to verify. Lots of time wasted there. Don’t do what I did!
  2. Then hire a drafter/architect/engineer to draw your plans out for you! You may be restricted like we were, so these plans might make themselves with the codes set forth for you.
  3. Take your drawings and do some bidding! I got on Thumbtack (highly recommend compared to other sites/apps.. like Angi… Angi isn’t as user friendly in my opinion) and posted my request for contractors and within the first day had a solid list of good contenders.
  4. Wait for the bids to come in and compare. This isn’t about the lowest bidder, I’d recommend meeting the contractor in person if you can so you can also get a feel for who you would rather work with personality/communication wise.
  5. Submit to the City. Put those drawings into the system, with the contractor and estimated worth of project, and wait for the approval.
  6. Do a happy dance with that approval and let your project begin!

I’m happy to help with any other questions you may have about building a detached structure in your yard, or a walkout basement. Stay tuned and check out my Instagram for progress updates and more amazing things that designers can do!

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