If the cable is rated for underground use (i.e. UF cable), there shouldn't
be any problem. The conduit is just for protection.
However, you can't run standard romex in an underground conduit as it isn't
considered waterproof. Water can theoretically still get in the conduit,
and would degrade the paper filler in standard romex cables.
Individual wires are preferred, and will be easier to pull through bends in
Yep, that would work too. Even if you don't use it for power, you might
want to run a telephone or ethernet cable some day.
It depends on what you have existing, what is available, and how much is in your budget.
Where is your main electrical panel in relation to the garage? Do you think it is physically possible to install a new circuit from your main electrical panel to the garage?
Posting some pictures would help us give you some ideas.
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