A Granny Annex is a self contained bungalow or Granny Flat which
is built in your garden, designed specifically for you and the needs
of your family to provide a care solution which is family orientated whilst giving each part of the family their own space and independence.
...or as some refer to them, a Granny Flat or bungalow
Your Granny Annex/Granny Flat questions answered
Thank you for contacting Garden Living about Granny Annex/Granny Flats
We thought the best place to start this Granny Annex page was with you.
We have compiled the top six Granny Annex questions our customers ask and hope they answers are of help.
How many rooms? how many bedrooms will the Granny Flat have?
We believe in creating a “Home” that is exactly right for you. So we start with a blank piece of paper and design exactly what you want. There is no additional cost in doing this. So if you want a 1-bed with a separate lounge and kitchen or a 2-bed with open plan living or any other configuration that is exactly what we will deliver. If you click here you can see some of the variety of Granny Flat plans.
Will I be warm in my Granny Flat?
The building method is 21st century and far superior to over 99% of the current housing stock in the UK. The buildings are so airtight and efficient we believe your heating costs will be no more than £150 per year.
Is the Granny Annex future proof?
Our architects consider tomorrow as well as today in our Granny Annex designs.
Level thresholds so no step out of the front door.
Wide internal door opening to accommodate wheelchairs if they become a necessity.
Showers with low profile trays that are large enough to accommodate a seat.
Panic alarm infrastructures.
Of course you may not need all or any of these today but we believe by by putting in place the infrastructure now the impact later on is minimal affording the most comfortable life.
Do we need Planning Permission?
Granny Annex is a permanent habitable space. So the short answer is YES. There are ways to build day rooms without kitchens under permitted development rules and so not need planning permission. Garden Living will take care of the process whichever route you decide to go. We ask our customers to evaluate the benefit the annex will bring to family life against the effort involved in seeking planning permission.
Here is an article from the Telegraph dated June 2012 that shows the Government are now on board with making annexes work for families both at Planning and Council Tax level.
How much do they cost?
A Granny Annex is a significant investment but not compared to a Retirement Home, Retirement Apartment, Park Home or even a Bungalow. Our prices start from as low as £35,500 but do climb to £100,000 and beyond. Much of the cost is driven by how the customer wants to live. After all we are building a Home. Some people want a hand made kitchen, designer bathroom, wooden floors and a “living roof” for example. If you click here you can see some Granny Flat designs with an idea of price too.
Are Garden Living the right people?
It is very easy to make statements - expertise, experience, passion to name but a few. Garden Living believe they deliver on these and others. However, we fundamentally believe to deliver is to demonstrate:
FREE architect designed drawings to enable family discussion
A large Gallery showing actual annexes we have built
Our Blog and Facebook pages detailing case studies with photographs and videos
Visits to actual customer annexes, without us present, to enable you to have frank discussions about us and the annex with the customer themselves
Our process, Granny Annex Information Wheel, details all the stages we take in delivering your annex. The rest of this page details this process.
Our Granny Annex Information Wheel
Garden Living created the Granny Annex Information Wheel to help our customers understand the stages required to introduce a Granny Flat into the garden.
The diagram below shows the 6 key stages involved in introducing a Granny Annex. Clicking a description box on the diagram will provide further information about each stage. Alternatively click any one of the links below.
With a number of images, articles and video we hope this Granny Annex page will go some way to providing the information you need. You can download a summary of this information by completing the form, right.
Your Family - getting to know you, your family and the garden in which the annex will be built.
Annex Design - the iterative process of attaining design freeze - the rooms needed and the finishes both inside and out.
Planning Permission - a habitable space requires planning but that is not necessarily an obstacle and indeed the front page of the Telegraph confirms the government is making it even more attainable.
Building Control - another council department that ensures the construction meets regulations
Factory Fabrication - to spend only 6-8 weeks at your home we precision engineer in a factory environment
Onsite Construction - with our team of experienced tradesmen we will be handing over keys within a couple of months
Garden Living believe that to deliver a granny annex (see product range) in which our clients will be happy and of which we are proud there is only one place to start and that is, the family for whom we will work.
It is important to get to know not only the people who will live in the annex, but also the family in the "main house" as well as more functional elements about the garden itself.
Garden Living’s strap line if you like is ...
Creating Space to Live
A statement which crystallises our philosophy.
At the end of the day we are building a home not just a number of rooms.
We want to know about how our clients live so we can create a Granny Flat that suits them down to the ground. For example, in one granny annex we created a craft room to allow our client to have a dedicated space for their hobby. In another we added a living roof so that the family in the main house looked down onto a beautiful garden landscape from the bedroom windows.
We ask some pressing questions as well as the simple in getting to know you and what you are looking for.
How big is the house you live in at the moment? How many bedrooms?
How ready are you to downsize? Will everything you own fit in and if not what are your plans?
Ikea kitchen or handmade kitchen?
Do you want an extra bedroom so that company or family can come to stay?
For grandmas and grandpas, au-pairs or deposit savers:
A Granny Annex can provide the perfect solution for caring for a relative who needs a little extra support, while still allowing all the family to retain privacy and independence. All of our Granny Annexes can be designed to include features such as call-buttons, as well as finished and decorated to whatever style suits your taste. Depending on your personal circumstances, there may also be grants available from your local authority to help with costs.
Our Granny Annexes to retirement home or park home living. See our article "The alternative to park home living".
Our Granny Annexes also make great Nanny Annexes, offering families the flexibility of having a ‘live-in’ Nanny, maintaining a level of privacy within the family home, and a space for Nanny to retreat to at the end of the day.
In todays difficult economic climate, more and more of our customers are turning to Granny Annexes to provide additional living space to the family home. Sometimes for the children who are returning from university but can’t afford to strike out on their own; other times families are ‘switching’ their accommodation to allow children and grandchildren the greater room of a large family home.
Your Perfect Granny Annex:
We know that no two families are the same, and that everyone’s wants, needs and circumstances are different. That’s why the majority of Garden Living Granny Annexes are bespoke, designed to be ideal for you and your garden. Our website shows some of our more popular designs but our design team are happy to work with you to create the Annex that is right for you. We also offer a garden design service, so your Granny Annex can sit in the perfect setting.
It's your choice
Contemporary (open plan with laminate flooring) or Traditional (carpets and a woodburning stove?)
Spacious (a bedroom and a study perhaps?) or snug and cosy (a one bedroom)
Would you like to luxuriate in the bath or have a quick refreshing shower (or both)
Flat Roof or sloping roof, living roof, or traditional slate tiles?
Armed with all the information about you, your family and your garden one of our architects will put together an initial granny annex floor plan with elevations (click here for to see some plan ideas presented in our Gallery) for you to peruse. The drawing start to allow family discussion about where the hoover will go and is the deck in the right place. All of which allows us to meander towards “design freeze” where drawings are signed off and the next stage, seeking Planning Permission can commence.
Obtaining planning permission is a legal requirement when it comes to Granny Annex. Any space that is permanently lived in requires permission.
Garden Living take care of the entire process - the drawings, the application form, the meetings and liaison with the planning officers managing the case. We de-stress the planning process completely.
It is however often the stage where many families, believing it to be difficult, and even impossible say “thank you but we do not wish to go through planning”.
It is here we ask a very simple question:
If there was an granny annex at the bottom of the garden what would family life be like and therefore is the planning application worth a punt?
Often the granny annex is for an elderly parent who needs just a little closer attention. The benefit to their life and the alleviated stress and worry to other family members is significant. With the alternative often meaning care home... a few hundred pounds and a planning application process is for most families worth the hassle.
Besides Garden Living will take care of the whole process as part of their turnkey service.
Even if you are building a granny flat for a “deposit saver” the process can be worth it. We
have families who are looking to add a granny flat for a child returning from university who
will live in the annex until a point where they may be starting their own families at which
point mum and dad are intending to move into the annex and the deposit saver will move
into the main home. The families assets staying in the family.
We are not going to say we will be successful every time but legislation and governmental
thinking is heading in the right direction. A recent article in the Telegraph shows that
everything is moving towards the family rather than away.
Another application process with the local authority albeit a very straightforward one. The
Building Control department at the council are responsible for ensuring the granny annex
is built to modern regulations.
Many of these regulations are Europe wide and range from insulation levels, ventilation
(air changes), electrical compliance as well SAP (simplistically CO2) and EPC (Energy
In conjunction with the paper trail there is also onsite visits whereby the build will be
assigned a control officer who will visit the site at various points to ensure that the paper
trail is transferred to the actual building.
It is a process that our team will manage completely. Your granny annex will progress
smoothly. At the end of the build the Building Control department will issue Certificate of
With the planning box ticked and the building control box part ticked we can begin factory
fabrication of the granny annex.
The benefit of a factory environment are numerous:
Computer driven tools which allow for precision engineering.
Superior air-tightness which keeps cost to heat at very low levels
Minimise material waste levels
6-8 week reduction to on site schedule thus less disruption to home life
External walls & roof
We are often asked about the construction technique, that is Structurally Insulated Panels
The technique has been around since the 50s in Canada and the US. It is widely
employed in Scandinavia and Scotland too. What is common to these countries is the
harshness of the winter and the heat of the summer (bar Scottish summers that are less
predicable). So the application of the technology is able to keep buildings warmer in the
winter and cooler in the summer.
Here in the remainder of the UK SIP construction is taking a strong hold in the building
of schools, hospitals, hotels as well as residential homes both commercial and particularly