A Cozy Home in the Backyard

In the book “In-laws, Outlaws, and Granny Flats: Your Guide to Turning One House into Two Homes” by Michael Litchfield, the author says “in response to tight times, a remarkably upbeat and widespread change is taking place in households across America. Homeowners are creating second dwelling units—often called in-law suites, mother-in-law apartments, or granny flats. Second units make a lot of sense.”

I’m currently in the process of updating a tiny guesthouse in the backyard of my family’s property for the purpose of using it as a more long-term guest space, a rental, or even a bed and breakfast. One interested party wants to use it as a sanctuary for a silent retreat.

There are additional benefits of having a tiny or cozy house built in the backyard of an existing home:

• As a transition home for a teenager or young adult

• As a private space for an elderly parent

• As a starting home for a couple or young family

• As a retreat space for someone looking to downsize

• As a monthly rental for the long term

• As a nightly rental or “B&B” situation

There are several Cozy Home Plans that would make for a great backyard tiny house. Two of these are the Thimble Peak and Thimble Peak II both of which are 288 square feet and would fit nicely into a larger backyard with plenty of space for a small garden. They both include a covered porch, vaulted ceilings, a nice sized kitchen and a full bath and an area for a washer and dryer. The living area is flexible to include a bed or a futon for sleeping.

Another Cozy Home that could be a mother-in-law apartment is the well-appointed 307 square foot El Capitan. This design was inspired by a garden shed and has a second entrance to the bath which is pretty large for such a small house. The living/sleeping area has a huge closet and the kitchen has a small dining area.

What makes these three homes a great idea for a backyard tiny house is that they are flexible in the way they can be arranged, so they can be used for various purposes. However, as with most building projects, be sure to check with your city’s codes department to see if second homes or mother-in-law’s are allowed in your area.

 Top photo courtesy of Earthworm/Flickr


By Christina Nellemann for [Cozy Home Plans]

2 Responses to A Cozy Home in the Backyard

  • Great guest house ideas.

  • Thanks SD! These types of structures just make since to me on multiple levels. Urban sprawl is not an entirely bad thing to have, that’s what makes America so different/great. By filling in some of the current holes with more compact residential options, I think this will help us get ready for how the rest of the world currently lives.

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