Flexible spaces: A garden granny annexe or a first home alternative

Garden rooms are sometimes seen as ‘posh potting sheds’; a space away from the main hustle and bustle of the house which can be decked out for a particular hobby or purpose.

Modern garden rooms are much more substantial and versatile than this and can be tailored for almost any purpose, with home offices, art and music studios, massage therapy rooms and home cinemas just a small selection of uses. With the ability to connect all utilities and home comforts, they’re as flexible as you need them to be but the part about being away from the hustle and bustle of the main house is still certainly true and can be invaluable.


One such instance is the garden room as the ‘granny annexe’, which is an independent, smaller living space that is completely self-contained. The practice of having elderly relatives move in with their children has reduced in Britain in recent years, but remains common in other parts of the world. With Britain looking towards an ageing population, with people living longer and being more healthy into later life, it could be a consideration for many families in the coming years.

Granny annexes are a perfect way to offer help and support to older relatives while still retaining everyday independence. While offering up a ‘spare’ bedroom (should one exist) to an elderly relative may provide an answer, this can sometimes be seen as taking up room, being an extended houseguest or even worse, a lodger. It’s also not ideal for most families, with adults trying to get ready for work whilst simultaneously getting children ready for school, making breakfast, feeding dogs and the other fifty things that happen in family homes every morning.

By using the space of the garden room, it’s away from the commotion of the house; it’s independent and self-contained and brings the whole family together to offer support without forcing those moving in to abandon certain aspects of their lifestyle or have their routines overridden.


Although the collective name for these kind of small, independent living spaces is ‘granny annexes’, the joy of having such a flexible space is that it can be used for any number of purposes. With the average age of a first time buyer now at 37, many parents are finding their children move back home after University while settling into new jobs and celebrating having their degree. Rather than starting as a qualified adult and then having to regress back to their old teenage room (possibly with questionable aeroplane/pony wallpaper), having a living space away from the home gives them the opportunity to start living as a working adult and have the support of the family while starting out without having to rely on cash handouts.

There’s also the option that, once the space is no longer being used for younger or older relatives, that it can be used as a lodger home, which can be much needed in certain city spaces.

The joy of creating the granny annexe is that it can always be useful and valuable to your family, in more ways than one.


Garden Spaces have built a number of living spaces and provide a free site survey as a way to begin a project. If you would like to discuss a potential project then a visit to Grand Designs Live could well be worth the trip. The Garden Spaces team will be on hand to explain the design and building options available and you will also be able to view their show building to help fully appreciate the materials and quality on offer.

Visit them on Stand G130

For more information about Garden Spaces living annexes visit their website or give the team a call on 0845 387 9 387

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