If your home lacks a garage, you can choose from several practical alternatives that will protect your car, truck or boat from the elements -- ranging from heavy-duty permanent structures to temporary covers you can store in your car's trunk. Regardless of the kind of shelter you use, you'll need a concrete or crushed stone driveway and parking area to minimize any problems caused by parking on soft soil.

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Protecting your vehicle investment includes looking into garage alternatives.

Carports

Carports may be attached to the home or built to be free-standing, and usually offer little more than an uninsulated roof for protection. Some carports are built with partial walls that serve as a visual screen or half-height walls that act like a windbreak. A carport is often shorter and narrower than the typical garage.

Awnings

Awnings can provide useful temporary protection from the damaging effects of snow, sleet, hail, rain and direct sunlight. Larger awnings may need additional support from poles or posts on their outer corners, but it is more common to see awnings supported entirely by the wall of the building to which they are attached.

Telescoping Tents

A telescoping tent is not much different than an awning, but it has the advantage of being portable and easy to assemble when needed. If you need a vehicle cover that can be taken along to a campsite, or moved from one part of your property to another, a telescoping tent may be the portable solution you need.

Car Covers

A car cover, sometimes called a car slip, is a fitted tarpaulin that is placed directly over the vehicle. The protection afforded by a car cover is limited to blocking sun, rain and snow. If a fitted cover is not available, a blanket, quilt or tarpaulin can be used instead -- drape it evenly over the vehicle for maximum coverage.

Quonset sheds

Quonset-style buildings are available as kits that can be assembled with only a minimal knowledge of construction techniques. Each segment slips into place against the previous one and is bolted in place. There is not much difference between this type of building and a garage, but the time and cost requirements can be much lower than building a more traditional garage.