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Outdoor Rooms and Granny Flats: How to Choose



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If you have a big backyard but you’re not quite sure what’s the best way to use all that space, there are a couple of things to consider. First, try to figure out just how much room you actually have. This won’t be particularly difficult, as if nothing else, you can measure the space. Next, if you have enough room, consider adding a new structure to your backyard. The two most interesting choices come in the form of either outdoor rooms or granny flats. Both of these options have some unique advantages, so we’ll try to present them in the following text.

Outdoor rooms

Building an outdoor room requires less construction work than building a granny flat. On the other hand, an outdoor room is significantly smaller and not as versatile function-wise as a granny flat. The outdoor rooms usually consist of three walls plus a ceiling, and the fourth wall is made so that it can be opened completely, most commonly using glass sliding doors. Also, you can either decide to make your outdoor room work as an extension of your home (in this case, it’s almost always attached to the house) or you can decide to build a separate, independent structure.

outdoor room

Design-wise, an outdoor room can literally work as the extension of your home, and if that’s the case, it is usually decorated with a toned-down version of your home’s interior design. However, if you decide to make it a separate structure, the design of your outdoor room doesn’t have to match anything. This will allow you to go crazy, but keep in mind that the room should be functional, cozy and relaxing, above all else. Boho chic, shabby chic, Moroccan, modern-rustic, modern-eclectic, etc. – literally any design will work gorgeous in this room.

Granny flats

Granny flats are a rising trend during the last couple of years, especially in well-developed countries such as Australia. These structures are usually made as separate objects, and they are most commonly equipped just like the regular house, only scaled down. Since building such a structure requires professional help, ask around and see if there are any experts in your area that can help you out. For example, experienced granny flat builders from Sydney even help you design your granny flat and offer various other consultations, seeing the entire project through from start to finish.

wooden granny flat

When talking about the design, you should really treat styling-up this area as you did your own house. The important thing to keep in mind is that there is no room for clutter in a granny flat, so it’s best you design it with minimalism in mind. Some of the favorites include the infamous Scandi style, Wabi Sabi or the good ol’ minimalist style. Do note that granny flats also contain the kitchen and the bathroom, which means that you’ll basically have to design and decorate a whole new house, which is perfect for any interior design lover.


Important notice

Now that you know what’s what, choosing which one to build should be significantly easier. An outdoor room is the area where you can relax and enjoy some peace and quiet, while a granny flat can accommodate either your elderly relative (hence the name) or you can even choose to rent it out for some additional budget boost.

outdoor living space

Another important thing to mention is that, before you decide to build either one of these, you must go to your local authorities and inquire about the rules and regulations. Know that you will most likely have to obtain a couple of licenses and permits, so take care of this in time to avoid having to pay hefty fines.

Finally, if you decide to rent your granny flat, know that you will be getting only one set of utility bills for your entire property (granny flat included) so you must figure out how you will be charging the rent. Of course, check out the local laws regarding this as well.

As you can see, there are a few ways you can use the extra space in your backyard either for your personal pleasure or as a means of boosting your home budget. Whichever you choose to build, do it right – check the local laws, obtain all the necessary paperwork and make sure you hire reliable contractors so that you know everything is done by the book.



Derek Lotts is a Sydney based writer and researcher, a regular contributor at Smooth Decorator blog. He writes about décor, gardening, recycling, ecology and business. He thinks all of these topics fall under the self-improvement category. He believes in the power of sharing ideas and communicating via the internet to achieve betterment.

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