Site Plan and Tree Removal: How To Build a Garage

My garage site plan

The video on this page is focused on Site Plans, and more specifically, my actual site plan. It also answers the question, "How much does it cost to remove a tree?" since I had to remove a very large fir tree to build my garage.

If you want to learn more about site plans, in general, or you need some help creating your own site plan, visit the “What is a site plan?” page or take a look at the resources listed on the How to build a garage page.

What is a site plan?

As a quick review, a site plan, or a plot plan as some would call it, is a drawing that shows what currently exists on your property, and also shows anything you are proposing to add to your property. In my case, that addition is a garage.

When I created my own site plan, I measured my existing house, and then measured the area where I am planning to build my garage.

For the most part, my garage fit very nicely because I live on a relatively large piece of property without too much worry about building too close to my neighbors.

Below is a look at the site plan for my garage construction project. Mine is very simple without too many details. Your city, county or local building authority may require more details, but this will give you an idea what is required in some areas.

Garage Site Plan Example - How To Build a Garage

Garage Site Plan Example. This is a very simple site plan. Yours may require more or less information.

The problem with my site plan

Even without the neighbor or property line issues, there are other things that may hinder your building process. One of those hindrances for me was 120 feet tall.

As you could see in the video, I was standing on top of what’s left of the 120 foot tall fir tree that sits very close to my house. When I layed out my new garage, it was obvious this 70 year old beauty had to go.

I hate cutting down trees. I really do. So this was not an easy decision

After talking with three different arborists and discussing the pros and cons of building around the tree, I decided to take it down.

One of the hidden challenges with leaving the tree was the extensive root system that not only extends under my existing home foundation, but that also extends under the proposed foundation for my new garage.

Even with the tree removed, I need to dig out the roots that extend under what will be my new foundation and concrete slab. My arborist reminded me that, in time, the old roots will rot under the ground, and then collapse, causing my foundation and slab to sink.

This may take 10 or 15 years, but it will eventually happen.

How much does it cost to remove a large tree?

That depends. If the tree can be dropped in one piece, like mine was, the cost will be significantly reduced. If you live close to your neighbors and your tree has to be removed one small piece at a time, the cost will generally be much higher.

Other factors include:

  • Will the wood be removed from your property?

  • Will the branches be chipped and left for you, or removed?

  • Will you or the tree service clean up the mess?


It all factors into the cost.

To give you an idea of cost, I had bids from $300 - $900 to just drop the tree and walk away.

To have the tree cut into 16” lengths for firewood, the cost went up to between $1500 and $1900.

Finally, to have the tree completely removed, including grinding of the stump, the cost went up to $2900.

What’s the lesson? Think carefully about how you want to handle your tree removal, and be sure to get 2 or 3 bids. Costs can vary a lot, as I discovered with my project.

What's the next step?

Now that the tree is down, I will be grinding or removing the roots in and around the new garage, and then starting to layout the foundation.

Watch for future videos to show you how we lay out the foundation, and then get moving on pouring concrete. 

Watch Me Build My Garage

REMEMBER to Subscribe to my YouTube Channel and follow along as I build my own garage, sharing everything I learn along the way.

Visit the How To Build a Garage page for detailed steps, videos and resources to help with your own garage construction project. We'll talk again soon - this is Pat from GarageHowTo.com

About the Author Pat Easterbrooks

Pat Easterbrooks is the founder and Chief Enthusiast at GarageHowTo.com. If you want the extended "about" version (the one that makes his wife wince), go here.