There are several reasons why you may want to build a garden suite in Toronto. If you are planning on building a garden suite, there are a few important things you need to consider first.  You can’t just decide to build a garden suite – it must be approved by the City. Choosing to add a garden suite can provide temporary housing to a family member who is in need or would like their own separate living space.

What is a Garden Suite?

A garden suite is a single dwelling built by a homeowner that is detached from the main property. It has plumbing and electrical services and may be connected to the main property, washroom, kitchen, bedroom, and living area. These are often installed so the owner of the property can bring in aging parents in order to care for them but still maintain their independence. It’s an ideal way to provide affordable housing for seniors. 

Garden suites can also allow adult children of ageing parents to oversee their care or monitor them while still giving them the independence they crave with their own home. These dwellings are typically detached from the main home.

The size may vary and this will depend on what your actual space will allow, and what the  City of Toronto will allow. These are not permanent dwellings and are meant to create affordable housing for seniors or those with disabilities. 

These dwellings can also be used as rental suites, but since they are not permanent, they are often used for family or extended family members to give them an affordable and secure place to live.

Ways To Qualify for a Garden Suite

In order to proceed with your garden suite, your property will need to have the items listed below:

1. A clear path for access in case of emergency. You or first responders must be able to access the dwelling with no barriers.

2. Healthy trees cannot be removed. Protected trees on or around your property must not be removed, cut, or damaged. 

3. The garden suite must be at least 16.4 feet away from the main house.

4. The proposed property must be a rectangle shape and the neighbouring properties must be the same shape and roughly the same size.

5. The garden suite must be no bigger than 645 square feet per floor. It can take up no more than 40 percent of your yard, there must be adequate drainage, and no taller than 6 meters.

6. You must submit a formal application to the City of Toronto to build a garden suite.

7. You are required to post a public notice on your existing property so your neighbours are aware of the garden suite.

The Process of Building a Garden Suite

Once your property has been approved for a secondary dwelling, then your first step is to contact a designer. You also need to make arrangements for financing. You need to have an idea of the design before submitting your application. 

This can be a difficult and confusing step and one that most homeowners don’t have much experience with. Here at Aria Build, we can take care of all of that for you. We meet with you and work with your ideas and what you need.

Once we know what is needed, our expert technicians will discuss all the project details with you. We cover everything from costs as well as any potential problems or challenges we may run into. 

Once we have come down to the final cost agreement and the finished plan, we can set out a timeframe for the project. Once everything is to your satisfaction, then we will start the building process.

Contact A Custom Home Builder

Some garden suites can be built on-site, or premade and delivered as a whole or in sections. Because these secondary dwellings are smaller and may have special requirements, like wheelchair accessibility or lower cabinets, it’s best to contact a custom home builder.

You will be working with limited space so it is important to get all the details right. These garden suites are often built to accommodate an ageing or ailing parent or family member. That takes a lot of planning and details about any special needs or requirements that your loved one may need. Things like ramps, wider doorways, or cabinets that are easy to access.

It’s crucial that you hire a team that can take the space and make it work with all the elements that you need. 

You also want to work with a company that has completed these types of jobs before. They will already know what is involved, the permits that are required, and the rest of the requirements that go with a garden suite in Toronto.

Find Out if Your Property Qualifies

Before you can get approved for a building permit, your property needs to comply with all the City regulations. You need to have your property assessed by the City to make sure you qualify. 

You need to meet with the development team and let them know what your requirements are. There are restrictions on the size and height of the dwelling, how far it needs to be away from your home, a back lane, and the street. These garden suites can have more than one floor and they can have a basement, but that requires more work, digging up your yard, and more permits. Since these dwellings are not permanent, you need to consider this aspect.

Your property needs to be assessed in addition to the reason you want a garden suite in the first place. If you want to use it as a rental property, there may be zoning issues that limit or prohibit you from doing so.

Contact the City of Toronto, or someone here at Aria Build for more information, and if you are eligible to builod a garden suite on your property.

Obtain A Construction Proposal

A construction proposal is an in-depth, itemized outline of what will be taking place. It will let you know that your garden suite contractor understands all aspects of the project. Your construction contractor writes a construction proposal for any project they are going to build. It covers everything about the proposed project. This proposal will clearly define all aspects of the proposed construction including costs and timeline.

There will be some very important parts to this construction proposal, and it is vital that you are familiar with them. It needs to cover all of the work that will be done and the work they don’t do as well.

It acts as your contract and your warranty. It will also list things that may happen, like unforeseen delays, hidden damages, and other snags in the project. It needs to be defined who pays for these as well.

The scheduling must address all of the tasks, including getting permits, the order that the work will take place, and a time frame for each step. There must also be room for delays, like weather or materials that are beyond anyone’s control.

Determine How to Finance the Project

Paying for your new garden suite or even making improvements to an existing one is going to be expensive. But there are various ways that you can get the money to invest in your project. If you have built up equity in your home, you can refinance your house and release that money to pay for the construction. This is a popular option for many homeowners.

You can also apply for a construction loan. This is a loan designed to build property which is different from a mortgage. There are also several programs in place in Ontario where you can apply for funding. These can be used to build a new building or to make improvements to one you already have.

Depending on where you live there may be different loans or grants available. These loans vary in their requirements. Each program requires a limit on how much rent you can charge if you are going to be charging rent. Take a look at each program that you may be qualified for to determine the exact requirements. You can receive a loan or grant for up to $25,000 with such programs.

These programs can help you get started and ease the burden of the costs. Depending on the construction company you use, they may also offer funding. It would be beneficial to look into provincial or federal funding that may be available.

Start on the Design

When it comes to garden suite design, you are going to need some expert help. If you are building a dwelling to simply rent out, then you may not need to worry about specifications. If you are building your garden suite for a family member who is elderly or disabled, then things will get a bit trickier. You are already working with limited space, so you need a team you can trust to get the job done right the first time.

It’s important that you work with a designer who understands the needs of your family members. You may be bringing in someone who is still very independent at the moment but may need more assistance in the near future.

You need to keep this in mind when you are working on the design. Perhaps you need a larger shower stall with reinforced pull bars and a permanent seat inside. You might need countertops, a stove, and cabinets lowered so someone in a wheelchair can easily access everything. If a ramp is needed, then you have to comply with the regulations regarding the proximity to the street, lane, and your house.

It’s much better to have all of these details worked out before you start to build the dwelling. You don’t want to be halfway through the construction process only to realize something will not work. This can be a very costly mistake and delay your project considerably.

Start Building!

With the planning and everything else in place, we’ll get started on the construction of your garden suite. Ideally, it shouldn’t take too long if you are building a straightforward garden suite. A small structure may only be one or two rooms.  

A basement will require more work and if there are very specific designs you need or you have ordered materials that are not readily available, then the entire process can take a bit longer.

With limited space, you may need to get creative with your storage designs. There are great ways to make use of otherwise empty spaces. With Aria Build, you can floor along with the progress with access to Houzz Pro.

We take care of everything during the construction process and after. We will be in contact with you at regular intervals so you can see the progress and ask any questions you may have. You don’t have to worry about any mess in your backyard as we will make sure it is in perfect condition when we are finished.

Contact Us

There is a lot of work involved when building a garden suite in Toronto. It’s important that you follow all the procedures to avoid any unpleasant surprises. You need a team that specializes in custom design and build as your garden suite will likely have some very specific needs. Not only on the inside, but it’s important that all needs are met and regulations are adhered to. When it comes to custom design and experience, you can count on Aria Build. We can help you with all aspects of your construction project for design, financing advice, and any information you may need for permits and zoning. 

Aria Build is a family-owned and operated business since 2010, focused on the design, development, and remodeling of high-end homes across the GTA. Our construction teams are all trained professionals with WSIB and liability insurance.If you are looking to get started on building a garden suite in your Toronto yard, contact us here at Aria Build for a quote.

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