Designing a garage can be both exciting and daunting. Especially if you are new to 3D software, or simply out of practice with it. Even though it can take some trial and error to find, the best garage design software on the market can be an extremely powerful tool with the right user.
When designing 2D blueprints, using the right software can be much easier than constantly adjusting things with pen and paper. Unfortunately, it might also come with a steep learning curve that seems daunting for new or inexperienced designers.
Luckily, more and more programs are available today which cater to both experienced professionals and Do-It-Yourselfers. A few even openly offer professional training sessions or public forums for you to get help from fellow designers.
How to Choose the Best Garage Design Software
The first step in choosing the best garage design software is to determine exactly what you want from a program.
- Will you just be focusing on a garage, or will you also be creating a floor plan for the entire house?
- Will you be doing any landscape design?
- What about fencing and decks?
There are several programs out there that just focus on the garage, while some others are suitable for any floor plan and blueprint project you have in mind.
You might also want to consider whether you want to use pre-made assets or not. This can be a great way to get a feel for the space you have designed, especially if the software offers a 3D walk-thru.
Having a vehicle in the garage, or some furniture in the adjacent room can really give you a feel for the size of the space and how areas can be used in real life.
As well as pre-made assets, some software offers a database of pre-made blueprint designs from other users. These designs may be exactly what you are looking for or could give you the inspiration you need to make tweaks and adjustments to suit your preferences.
You may even find a design that was created by a professional, saving you the hassle and expense of going to a professional architect yourself and having them create your vision at cost.
You may want to share your design images with friends, family, construction professionals, and permit companies. In this case, you need to ensure the software you choose can support different file format exporting.
Some even offer cloud integration and provide links to easily share your design with whoever you choose.
The Benefits of Using Garage Design Software
Once you get past the learning curve, garage design software can make creating floor plans and blueprints almost effortless. Say goodbye to sketching on paper and needing to use a half dozen tools for measuring and making the perfect angles.
Every garage design program has these vital tools already included. All of your design work can be stored on the cloud, giving you easy access to it. You no longer have to worry about keeping designs done on paper stored flat, and away from moisture.
If something doesn't look right or isn't working with your plans, scrapping the whole idea and starting fresh only takes seconds. You’ll be able to call on these files, quickly edit them, and save them again all within a minute or two.
Permit agencies and construction companies you plan to work with will require both 2D and 3D renders of the exact design you have finalized. Many design software allows you to export your design in a variety of file formats to suit the needs of the companies you are working with.
The biggest downside to having a variety of format options is that some file formats may take longer to render than others. Additionally, you may find that some complex designs may not save with the level of detail you expected.
This may not be as much of a concern with garage-only projects, but for those of you that plan to create a 2D or 3D render of an entire house it can become noticeable over time.
5 Best Garage Design Software to Help You Design Your Dream Garage
There are hundreds of blueprint design programs on the internet today. Some are much more well-known than others, and some are highly respected among professional architects.
But instead of spending hours digging through every website to find the diamond in the rough, you may want to consider one of the short-listed programs below. You might find one of them meets your needs perfectly!
Big Hammer is a versatile design software created by Home Depot. It has been around since the late 1990s and has been used by both professional architects and the Do-It-Yourself crowd since that time.
This software is completely free and easy to download on Windows computers. Unfortunately, Mac is not supported. You’ll find nothing overly complex here! This software has been streamlined to focus on exactly what matters when designing your garage.
Whether you want to store a single car or multiples, have a workshop or storage area in the garage as well, or perhaps just want to ensure there is plenty of room for the family bicycles, Big Hammer can design exactly what you need right down to the windows and doors.
For beginners to 2D and 3D software, one of Big Hammer’s biggest benefits is that it is extremely easy to learn. A lot of the design aspects include click-and-drag measuring and resizing, as well as drag-and-drop asset additions.
While being easy to learn, it still offers a wide range of powerful tools to suit more advanced users’ needs as well. Once you have designed your garage, the Big Hammer software allows you to place visual assets into the space.
For example, you can place the image of a vehicle in your newly designed garage. After adding the image asset, you may realize your garage is too large or small for your needs. To adjust the size, you simply click-and-drag the exterior walls of your design to meet your expectations.
Happy with your final design?
You can choose to save the 2D or 3D image in multiple file formats as well as save it on the cloud. This makes sharing the design with construction companies and permit planning committees quick and easy.
You can even print out a list of materials that will be needed to construct the garage which helps keep your final build costs low.
CAD stands for computer-aided design. The CAD Pro suite offers a wide range of very versatile tools that can be used to design the perfect garage.
This software has been extremely popular with professional architects since its creation but also makes a very powerful tool for personal use as well. However, it’s much easier to tackle this software if you have at least a basic understanding of 3D design software.
Complete beginners may feel intimidated by all the tools and get discouraged with the learning process. One of the biggest benefits of CAD Pro is the fact that it’s not just limited to garage design.
You may plan to only build a garage, but with this software, you can recreate the entire floor plan of your current home to see exactly how the new garage will fit in. Once that’s done, you can convert it to a 3D design and get a real visual look at exactly where doors and windows will be placed and how they will match with the existing house.
Additionally, you can find a massive database of visual assets which can be resized as needed. This means you can place a variety of vehicles, riding lawn mowers, go-karts, and bicycles in the garage design to get a real feel for the space you’ll have in the finished product.
If the space is too large or small, size adjustments are as quick and easy as clicking-and-dragging the exterior walls! When discussing plans and pricing with construction companies and building permit committees, CAD Pro makes sharing your 2D and 3D images extremely simple.
There’s a variety of file formats you can choose, as well as integration with other programs commonly used among architects and design professionals. CAD Pro offers a materials list printout that you can send to your permit committee to make the approval process much quicker and easier for everyone involved.
Potentially one of the best options for beginners to consider, SketchUp offers an extremely large range of tools to get your blueprint created and finalized. Created by Google and popular with trained architects and retail professionals, you’ll find this software easy to jump into and get started with.
SketchUp is used as a paid program to get the full experience. But it offers a free version and a trial version for their high-end software versions. One of the biggest downsides, however, is that the free version does not have access to the asset library.
You will be limited in getting a proper visual determination on the size and layout of your blueprints. If visual assets are not vital in your design process, SketchUp can be an extremely powerful tool to use regardless of your skill level.
Whether you are working on a project alone or bouncing ideas back and forth with a professional designer, you’ll find this software makes sharing images quite easy for both cloud storage and multiple supported file formats.
However, rendering some projects can take a good amount of time. Especially if they are complex or have a lot of notes included in the final file. If you plan on sharing a large file that includes not only your garage design but your existing house as well, be prepared to spend several minutes waiting on the render.
For complete beginners and weekend DIY-ers that have little or no experience with computer-assisted design programs, SketchUp is probably one of the easiest design software options available today. The easy-to-find and very intuitive tools offered in the design process make it easy to get a plan on paper.
If you don’t know where to start, there’s a massive database of pre-made designs you can work with and edit to your liking.
Finding a program that is both versatile and beginner-friendly can sometimes be a daunting task, but Floorplanner meets both requirements easily.
For complete beginners and those who are a little rusty with their computer-assisted design skills, Floorplanner can make designing the perfect blueprint an easy and enjoyable process. It’s also powerful enough to meet the needs of professional architects, retail design professionals, and construction agents too.
You’ll find both free and paid versions of the software. For most users, however, the free version is perfectly suitable for most design plans. Having been around since 2007, Floorplanner has amassed an extensive collection of visual assets and 3D renders.
In fact, you’ll gain access to over 150,000 unique assets even if you choose to work with the free version! There are no restrictions to asset usage regardless of the version you choose. This software can cover a wide range of design projects.
You might focus on a garage design now but may want to work on an extension of the house later. This single software package can cover both areas perfectly. There is no need to find and purchase additional software at a later date just to design a different part of your home.
Once you design your floor plan or blueprint in 2D, you can place visual assets and render them in 3D. From here, you will be able to virtually walk around your design, getting a real feel for the spacing and flow of the design.
If something doesn't work, it’s extremely simple to adjust it on the fly! In fact, you can even bounce ideas back and forth with friends and family and let them adjust the plan as well. You’ll find no shortage of tools to use in designing your space either.
In fact, Floorplanner is still updated regularly and occasionally adds in new and unique ways to adjust or improve your designs. In addition, you’ll find both their asset library and 3D render database are growing on a weekly basis.
Arcon Evo is an extremely in-depth and highly versatile program that not only offers computer-assisted design capabilities on a professional level but also combines a powerful visual asset design layer. As such, this program is highly recommended for professional and experienced users.
Beginners can still get some use out of this software, but the sheer amount of tools may be daunting to learn. This is a paid program, and for use with a single project, it can be extremely expensive. However, there is a two-week trial period you can use to see if this software might meet your needs.
Additionally, if you want to get the most out of the software, you can contact the company and sign up for their private training sessions. Their professional designers can help walk you through the process, though a general grasp on computer-assisted design can be a huge help for everyone involved.
Arcon Evo is a full spectrum design software. It does not limit you to just designing garages or single rooms in your home. It can be used to design entire multi-level floor plans as well as landscaping, deck design, fence placement, and more.
You’ll even find some users have provided both 2D and 3D renders of furniture designs in their render database which you can download and edit as needed. The asset and materials library includes over 15,000 unique products, including furniture, vehicles, trees and bushes, siding, roofing, stonework, and much more.
Making use of these assets can help add a detailed visual level to your projects, ensuring your vision is fully realized by the builders you choose to work with. Finding and placing the assets and materials is quite intuitive, and adjustments can be done within seconds.
You can also resize and replace individual assets or add them to a batch for group adjustments as needed.
Which One's Our Top Pick?
In weighing the pros and cons of the previous five software, and getting a good hands-on feel with their demos and free versions, the version that seems to be the best all-around winner is Sketch Up.
For those who may just need a program to help with one or two projects, the ease of learning and free version that allows the use of the entire editor is a tremendous bonus. While Sketch Up has its downsides, such as the lack of visual asset access with the free version, it can still be just the program you need to tinker with over a weekend or two when designing your new garage.
If you choose to purchase a paid version, the usability factor goes up. Compared to other programs on the list, Sketch Up is quite affordable for the versatility it offers. It’s great for complete beginners and advanced users and can be used for garages and entire houses.
This saves you from having to purchase multiple software packages just to create 2D and 3D renders of multiple areas. Regardless of what software you decide to use in the end, you’ll find most of them can meet and even exceed your expectations when it comes to detailed visual design.
Your new garage is just one quick download away!