Garden Suites: Independent living, gently placed in low-rise Neighborhoods

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Source: Maxable.com

Have you ever had an extended family member that you wish lived closer? What about an aging in-law facing sky-high costs to stay in a long-term care home? The truth is, in addition to their income generating potential, Garden Suites create a solution that moves extra guests (e.g. an in-law, renter, or adult-child) from the bedroom or basement to a private suite in the backyard.

 

A Garden Suite is a separate dwelling that is detached from the main home and located in the backyard. After recently becoming legal, this housing trend is on the rise in many cities across North America and Canada providing an alternative to high rise condominiums.  They typically exist in communities where growing populations create a strain on the supply of housing and Toronto, similar to other urban cities, is seeing a major transformation in housing affordability. 

 

Garden suites are known by various names and the use of the suite often influences the naming convention that is most popular in that specific region. For example, in Ottawa they’re known as “coach houses”; in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Perth, Waterloo, and Toronto – “Granny flats” or “Garden suites”; in Halifax – “Backyard Suites”; in California, Minnesota,  and Innisfil – “Accessory Dwelling Units” (ADU’s). No matter what we call them, the benefits are undeniable. 

 

Benefits:

  • Less consumerism due to the efficient space

  • Help pay off your mortgage

  • Create independent living without buying more land

  • Rental unit to earn passive income

  • Increase your property value

  • Family & Guests visiting from out of town

  • Get the basement back

 

The by-laws surrounding garden suites were created in collaboration with Toronto property owners, industry professionals, and city officials. Requirements like setbacks, height limitations, and anuglar planes, are measures intended to maintain privacy within backyards. Factors such as lot / backyard coverage, landscaping, and bicycle parking are intended to promote responsible development while creating vibrant neighborhoods. Distances to fire hydrants, side yard separations, and unobstructed pathways are safety measures that enable access for emergency services.

 

Regardless of your intended use, the benefits of garden suites are proven in major cities. Have you ever thought of turning your backyard into an income generating asset? Or do you love the idea of having an aging loved one close by?

 

 

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