Building a garden suite can be beneficial for many reasons – but before you start to look at why you might build one, let’s establish what a garden suite actually is.
You may know a garden suite by one of its other names, like a garage suite, carriage home, backyard suite, and so on… It’s typically a suite built in the backyard of an existing home and can be constructed in varying sizes.
Garden suites usually have similar features to a regular home, such as a kitchen area, restroom, and living space. Specific features depend on the builder and the owner of the property.
Now that we’ve established what a garden suite is let’s take a look at why you may choose to build one.
Garden suites can bring in a new source of income for the owners. Choosing to rent the suite to people looking for a place to live, or to a home-sharing website for short-term rentals are a great way to generate income.
- Extra income via renting; Owners may benefit from earning additional income if they choose to rent it out.
- Having a garden suite can add considerable value to a property. Most of the time, money spent equals an increase in value.
- Not sure if new land is needed? It’s not! Investing in land is not required when building a garden suite.
- They are a great and flexible option for first time home buyers. Living in the garden suite and renting out the main house can be an ideal situation, and when your family grows, move into the main home.
- Depending on the regulations of the city the suite is being built-in, it can be used as an Airbnb or VRBO for extra income opportunities.
The Social Aspect
Because a garden suite is on a shared property with the main home, this brings a social aspect to the people living in each respective building.
- While the garden suite is close to the primary home, it still allows for privacy.
- A suite can offer companionship and easy communication with residents sharing the same land or outdoor amenity areas.
- When both the main home and the garden suite are occupied, there can be assistance from occupants with tasks around the property.
- They serve as flexible housing for alternative family arrangements.
- A great space to transition older teens or adult children while in post-secondary, or when in-between university and working full time.
Aging in Place
Many older individuals are choosing to forego a retirement home or independent living centre and instead live near (or with) family. A garden suite is a perfect option for aging in place because it allows for privacy while still being close to family or friends.
- Garden suites are excellent for supporting older adults aging in place. Elderly family members can remain in their neighbourhood, close to family, while still having their independence.
- They can be excellent housing options for an on-site caregiver.
- Garden suites offer a unique opportunity for multi-generational living, allowing parents and grandparents to live close to their children and grandchildren.
A Benefit to the Community
Not only are garden suites beneficial to the owners, but they are also a benefit to the community for several reasons.
- Garden suites increase the affordable housing supply in the city/town they are built-in.
- They increase the rental options within established communities.
- Allow neighbourhoods to expand without changing the overall character or take up more land.
- Provide additional tax revenue for the city/town.
Cost Controls & Feasibility
Lower costs are beneficial to owners and potential renters of garden suites. They are a feasible option for all involved.
- As noted earlier, new land is not required to build a garden suite.
- They can serve as an attractive alternative to townhouse or condo. There are no condo fees and no special assessments involved.
- In many cases, garden suites have a similar footprint to an existing garage.
- More major municipalities are becoming increasingly garden suite friendly. And, depending on regulations in your municipality, numerous design configurations are permitted.
- Lenders are quickly recognizing the value of garden suites.
Density & Affordability
Instead of building on new land to make new communities, or building higher/larger buildings, garden suites make it so that you can build in existing areas without causing overcrowding.
- Invisible density; building suites does not create large, visible new homes.
- Decreases the need for urban sprawl.
- The overall cost of the suite is a competitive housing option.
- Increases affordable housing supply in the city/town, as mentioned earlier.
- With increased density, there is a positive impact on local goods & services.
Low Environmental Impact
Protecting the environment is essential, and garden suites are great eco-friendly housing options.
- Garden suites are relatively small structures, which means fewer materials are needed to build them. There is also a low-impact to the surrounding community during construction, unlike a full-scale home.
- They require much less energy to maintain than a full-scale home and use less energy to heat and cool them.