Most of us are familiar with gazebos or may have a wooden garden arch installed, but there is one new wooden garden structure growing in popularity across the UK which you may not be aware of: carports. What is a carport? A carport is essentially a structure used to provide shelter to a vehicle. Usually constructed from wood, carports can be minimalist and functional or ornate and decorative. If your front garden has a running theme, you could even arrange for a new carport to match your fencing or trellis. Why consider a garden carport? Apart from being an aesthetically pleasing feature, carports are a practical means of ensuring your cars or bikes are protected from sunlight and the elements. Excessive exposure to sunlight can prematurely ruin the paint job on your vehicle, and excess rain could cause rust on the bodywork of your car. A carport is a practical solution to ensure the exterior of your vehicle remains in good condition. Is a carport an affordable investment? Carports are not enclosed structures, and are cheaper alternatives to building a garage. A well-constructed carport makes for an interesting design feature and can in fact increase the overall value of your property, making it a viable investment. Carport roofing options If you’re intending on having a carport professionally constructed, you should discuss roofing options with your joiner of choice. Carports typically have two roofing options – flat roofing and gable roofing. Since the UK experiences a lot of rain, it's common practice to opt for gable roofing as it will allow water to simply run off. Many people also consider gable roofing to be more aesthetically pleasing – with a gable roof, your carport could actually double as a gazebo when not housing your vehicle. Maintaining your carport Like all wooden garden structures, carports require regular treatment and maintenance to prevent rot. A common creosote or wood finish applied once a year should be enough to keep your carport in good condition. You might even consider applying a coloured stain to improve the appearance of the structure. For harder to reach areas (such as the roof) you may wish to avail of the services of a professional to ensure an even spread for adequate protection.