Garden suites in Toronto have opened up a whole new realm of accommodation possibilities homeowners can tap into and benefit from. It is a modern concept that helps meet the demand for affordable living spaces and allows homeowners to add value to their properties. Torino Construction has been building custom homes for over a decade and can help you navigate the complexities of your Toronto garden suite.

What is a Garden suite?

A garden suite is a single-dwelling unit that is self-contained and detached from the main property. It is a secondary building built for the purpose of creating additional living space on your property. These secondary dwellings are versatile and can be used to accommodate friends or families, or used as rental properties. Consider building a garden suite for elderly parents, in-laws or teenage children who need their own space. 

Do I qualify for a Garden suite?

The City of Toronto has created rules and regulations governing the eligibility and construction of garden suites, so you will need to determine whether your property qualifies for the program. Moving forward with the construction of a garden suite without acquiring proper approval may result in you being forced to tear down your garden suite at your own expense. In addition, you may actually violate the conditions of your home insurance policy and jeopardize your coverage. That’s why it is extremely important to hire professionals who know the approval process before you proceed with your garden suite plans.

To qualify for a garden suite, the proposed property must:

  1. Have an obstructed access road in the case of an emergency. 
  2. Not requiring the removal of healthy trees to accommodate construction.
  3. Be at least 16.4 feet from the main house.
  4. Be rectangular in shape with the surrounding properties about the same size and shape.
  5. Be no larger than 645 ft.² per floor. 
  6. Cannot take up more than 40% of your yard.

The process of building a garden suite

There are many aspects of garden suite construction that require the help of a professional custom builder. Each step is critical and must be done properly to ensure a successful project. Just like any other construction project, careful planning is essential and can make or break your project. The process of building a garden suite entails the following:

  • Contact a custom home builder

Choosing the right contractor is not a decision that should be rushed. Do your due diligence and take time to research your options so you can pick the best contractor for your project. Ask for referrals from people who have had construction work done to find out who they would recommend. When assessing a contractor, ask for references and portfolios to see what quality of work the company has experience doing. You want to be sure that the contractor you hire is able to deliver quality work on time and on budget.

  • Find out if your lot/property qualifies

It is critical that you work with a contractor knowledgeable about garden suite requirements and the zoning laws in your neighbourhood. One of the benefits of working with a team like Torino Construction is that we will help steer you in the right direction if your proposed plans violate any of the zoning laws in your area. Should this be the case, our team will work to help you appeal the decision with the Committee of Adjustment. The process of correcting zoning violations can be overwhelming and stressful, but our team will take on the brunt of the work and keep you informed of the progress each step of the way.

  • Obtain a proposal from the builder

A proposal is a detailed plan for the construction of a building. Your contractor should provide one for you that details every aspect of the process. How thorough the proposal is will let you know how organized and professional your contractor is. The proposal should provide detail on construction costs, administrative costs, and the proposed timeline for the project. 

  • Determine how to finance the project

The cost to build a house in Toronto is high. Financing your garden suite project is one of the key arrangements that need to be made early in the process. If you have some equity in your home, you may be able to refinance your home to pay for your new project. Another option is to apply for a construction loan. This is separate from a mortgage loan and is specifically given to assist in the building of a property. Ontario has a number of construction loan programs in place and can be used to make the financing aspect of your project more manageable.

  • Start with the design

Garden suite designs, or any building for that matter, need the expertise of qualified professionals. Depending on how you plan to use your garden suite, you may need to make some specific accommodations. If your garden suite will be a rental property, then the design will likely be straightforward. However, if your garden suite will be used to house an aging family member or someone with accessibility needs, there will need to be some particulars built into the design. It is critical that you hire a team that can deliver on their promises and has the experience to build a garden suite to your specifications.

  • Begin construction

This is the most exciting part of the project – when construction begins and you can see your project unfolding before your eyes. But this stage can only begin once everything else has been completed. Torino Construction is known for being thorough and our team will double-check every aspect of the project before breaking ground. Once construction is underway the process does not take a long time. The time will depend on the size and design of your garden suite and the availability of materials.

Contact us

Building a garden suite poses a number of complexities that can be overwhelming to navigate. Having a team like Torino Construction behind your project can ensure that everything goes off without a hitch. We’ll handle all of the heavy liftings so you don’t have to. As certified and insured garden suite builders, Torino Construction is one step ahead of the competition and is the ideal construction company to partner with for your garden suite. 

Go with seasoned custom home builders who have the experience to back up their promises. Call today to learn more.