There are a number of reasons you might be thinking of transforming your small backyard into a granny flat. You might have:dekor-okno
• A busy lifestyle that rarely lets you spend time in your backyard, letting you maximise your living space or increase the value of your property
• A teenage or adult child living with you who needs more independence and privacy, or they might be saving for a home of their own
• Elderly parents or an elderly friend of relative you would like to have closer to you
• Interests including art, craft, woodworking or writing and you need an area to pursue these
Whatever your reason, adding a granny flat to your home increases its long term value and gives you options. Here are some tips for transforming your backyard into a granny flat.
Do the Groundwork
The first thing you will need to consider is whether the space you have planned for your granny flat will meet the required development standards.
In New South Wales your lot size must be a minimum of 450 square metres if you are planning on adding a granny flat or secondary dwelling.
You also need to find out if your property is in an appropriately zoned residential area. Granny flats are not permitted on environmentally sensitive land and heritage restrictions also apply. For New South Wales homeowners information on the relevant standards and information on lot size and zoning requirements can be found here.
Other things you will need to consider:
• Whether you want to retain any existing features of your backyard, for example trees or garden beds.
• The orientation of the granny flat in relation to the sun and your home.
Once you have a general idea of the space available, it’s best to speak to a qualified builder who can provide you with expert advice in relation to whether levelling is required, the best orientation, plumbing and drainage considerations.
Size Up Your Options
There are restrictions on the size of your planned granny flat and you’ll need to ensure your plans meet council requirements.
The size and height of your granny flat must not be more than 60 square metres in floor space and the maximum height is 8.5 metres.
There are also considerations regarding privacy, access and entry ways which once again, your builder will be able to advise you on.
Choosing the Right Design
Once you’ve done the groundwork you can focus on the fun bit – designing your granny flat!
You have the option of choosing an existing design, customising a design or coming up with a new design entirely.
Whatever option you choose, you will need to think about:
• The number and size of rooms required, including bedrooms, bathrooms/toilet, kitchen and living space.
• Any special considerations, for example, accessibility requirements.
Once you have a proposed design in mind you will need to seek approval by the council or an accredited certifier. You may be pleased to know that approval usually does not take longer than three weeks, provided the application meets development requirements. Some builders, who specialise in granny flats, may even take care of the approvals process for you.
If you do your groundwork, get the right advice early and keep these planning tips in mind it won’t be long before you have an additional living space and an investment that will pay dividends in the long term.