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Detached Granny Flats — How To Do It Right

Detached granny flats are not a one-size-fits-all type of dwelling. In other words, you can get plenty creative when building a granny flat that’s detached from the main house. That’s because you could easily convert a garage into a granny flat or transform a small shed into a functional living space. Use this guide to help you get started with planning your detached granny flat.

What to consider when building a granny flat that’s detached?

Detached granny flats have municipal requirements that determine the minimum and maximum internal square footage and the distance at which they can be placed from the main house or the edge of the property. Following these requirements are essential to building a granny flat that gets approved. They will also help you make decisions about the style, layout, and your budget.

Lot size

Newsflash: If you live in NSW, building a granny flat no longer requires any local council approval!

In 2009, the NSW government released the Affordable Housing State Environmental Planning Policy that effectively permitted all residential homeowners who meet a certain set of criteria to build a detached granny flat without neighbourly objections.

As long as you meet these requirements, you could be approved in as short as 10 days.

What are these requirements? As long as your property lot:


The style of your detached granny flat should match the overall style of the home. For example, if your home has a farmhouse or ranch-style look, then you might want to match the design of your granny flat to it. Some homeowners also decide to rely on quality inclusions to create alignment between the main house and the detached granny flat.

If you’re looking for inspiration, the first place to start, other than Pinterest, is a display home.


Layouts are a significant part of building a granny flat that’s detached from the main house. It’s a self-contained unit, so you need to decide what kind of rooms, storage, space and design will work best for its occupants.

For example, if you’ll be building a granny flat for aging parents, they may not need anything in the way of a full kitchen. But if you intend to use your detached granny flat as a rental property, then you may want to consider a layout design that includes a living room and complete kitchen.

What should a detached granny flat include?

Modern designs for detached granny flats usually include the ‘works’. You don’t need to have all the bells and whistles, but if it’s going to be a standalone unit, then it’s a good idea to make it self-contained.

What you decide to include when building a granny flat depends on the functionality of the build. If you’re just looking for a retreat or a studio for your business, you may not need a bathroom or a kitchen. Instead, you’ll just make use of the living area. However, if you’re specifically using a granny flat as an investment, you may want to include everything that a tenant may need.

This means:

Boost your property’s value by building a granny flat with Smart Choice Granny Flats

Building a granny flat that’s detached from your home needs a fair bit of planning and experience. Even though it’s a smaller unit than other construction projects, such as a full-fledged house, building a granny flat is no small undertaking.

You’ll need to make sure the layout and design meet both your functional needs and your budget. You’ll also need to make sure that crucial logistics like water lines, plumbing, and electricity are working properly.

When you’re ready to build a successful detached granny flat on your property, Smart Choice Granny Flats has you covered. Listen in on what our clients have to say about our unparalleled customer service and design process when building granny flats for their homes.