Granny Flats and Backyard Studios: Ideas and Tips

Granny flats have certainly been taking the market by storm. As urbanization and increased population density drive property costs up, Melbourne homeowners are looking for ways to get more out of their space. In turn, the market is offering more and more variety, redefining traditional backyard cubbies and granny flats and packing more functionality into every square inch of your property. To keep up with the trends let’s see what kinds of studios exist and how your property can benefit from one.

First, what are we talking about? What’s a granny flat, what’s a backyard studio and is there any difference between them? Both of those are a kind of detached extension – a living space built on your property that is structurally separate from the main house. The name granny flat refers to a self-sustained little house in your garden where one or two people can live independently but still connected to the rest of the household – a perfect place for your elderly parents, hence the name. A backyard studio usually means a workplace in the garden, although here we will refer to all detached extensions that lack the sustainability of granny flats – separate studies and workplaces, retreats and entertainment spaces.

So, why should you consider building a detached extension? If you have enough space in your backyard – starting at approximately ten square metres for the smallest constructions, a backyard studio can be a great investment. It increases your living space without infringing on the rest of your home which means you can build it without having to move out during construction. More importantly, having a garden hideout can completely reinvent the way you interact with your backyard, giving you new opportunities for work, rest and entertainment. A thoughtful and inventive space will increase the value of your property, completely covering your expenses. Not to mention that granny flats are incredibly popular rental properties, so you can make some return on your investment immediately upon construction.

Detached extensions are also a good way to accommodate multigenerational living – a trend that is becoming more and more prevalent in Melbourne households. As we’ve already mentioned, a granny flat is a perfect fit for your elderly parents or, perhaps grown-up children – there they can live close to you but also maintain their independence. Even if your whole family fits into your home, a backyard studio can be a nice hideout where you can work or simply relax without the ruckus that always accompanies big families.

Building options for backyard studios are almost limitless in this day and age. You can even buy a DIY garden cabin on Amazon! (Although, judging by the reviews, you’re really better off just building something the old-fashioned way.) Plenty of local companies also offer prefabricated cabins and, unlike the Amazon option, those can actually have insulation, electricity and water. Prefabricated constructions let you save a pretty chunk of change and take a lot less time to install. Their main drawback is rigid design where any modification needed due to site specifications or your own preferences increases both the price and the risk of the whole construction being unstable. Custom-made extensions, by contrast, don’t normally offer any shortcuts on time or money but can be designed perfectly for your property and your preferences. A studio like that in Melbourne can add significant value to your home and improve your quality of life.

Speaking of quality of life, aside from a self-sustained residence, what other purposes can a detached extension serve? Truly, the only limiting factor here is your imagination, but take a look at some examples we’ve gathered here.

A Compact Guest House

Granny flat deck kitchenette bathroom bedroom

Perhaps, not spacious or functional enough to live in, but more than enough to accommodate visitors for a week or so.

A Secluded Study

Granny Flat study

If you need a home office, a garden cabin is a perfect place to focus and work while enjoying a lovely view.

A Home Gym

Granny Flat Gym Mirrored Wall Boxing Bag Skylight

It can be difficult to find a place for gym in your home without disrupting the flow of your rooms. This makes an outside gym a much better idea.

A Parents’ Retreat

weatherboard Granny Flat with large deck

When you need a bit of time for yourself without having to find a babysitter and drive out of town, having your own retreat in the backyard is a great benefit.

A Party Room

Cabana near pool

If you like throwing big parties and entertaining guests, a space like that is a perfect addition to your Melbourne home.


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