The 6 Best Tips on How to Choose the Right Position for Your Granny Flat

February 10, 2021

With record-low interest rates, the Government’s HomeBuilder cash grants, the potential scrapping of Capital Gains Tax on Granny Flats, and a high demand for affordable living across New South Wales and the ACT – there has truly never been a better time to invest in a Granny Flat on your property. But where should you build it? In this article, we reveal the best tips on how to choose the right position for your granny flat.


Observe Natural Lighting for Orientation

Take a look at the climate and region of your property, and what direction your backyard faces. Analyse your heating and cooling requirements. The orientation of your Granny Flat can make a big difference, as it can increase the energy efficiency of your home, therefore reducing your power bills while being comfortable for longer.

Generally, it is recommended to position your Granny Flat to make the most of the natural sunlight and wind direction. North-facing backyards are particularly desired in climates requiring winter heating, as they are sunny all day long. However, in hotter climates they can potentially get hot in summer without any shade or a cool breeze.

For example, good orientation for a Granny Flat needing passive heating is about using natural solar energy as a free resource to heat your home during the winter months. To achieve this, choose a Granny Flat position that allows for the windows of the living area, kitchen and dining area to face north and receive sunlight all day long, as this is likely where most of the time indoors is spent. Ideally, this living area would flow out to an outdoor entertaining area with the same orientation so you can enjoy sunrise and sunset.

Consider Who will be Living in the Granny Flat

In order to choose the right position, it’s important to have a think about who the Granny Flat is being built for. Are you building it as an affordable aged care alternative for your ageing parents? Are you building it as an investment opportunity to house tenants? Or are you perhaps giving your adult children somewhere private to live while they save for a home of their own? This will all impact the living area of your Granny Flat and where it should be positioned in your backyard.

Ageing parents enjoy peace and quiet, so consider the noise factor of a certain position, especially if you have particularly noisy neighbours or live close by a highway. Accessibility is also a key factor for the elderly, so if you are building a Granny Flat for senior family members be sure that the access from the car space all the way to the front door of the Granny Flat is as flat as possible without any potential trip hazards.


Prepare for Local Council Requirements

Cubitt’s council planning and drafting teams have decades of experience of working with local councils throughout NSW and the ACT. We take care of all approvals processes for you and keep you updated with a dedicated point of contact. While council requirements in different areas vary, it’s still a good idea to prepare for your local council requirements ahead of time, to help you choose the perfect placement for your Granny Flat. The rules also change depending on the size of your land.

When planning, take note of the distance between the proposed site of your Granny Flat in relation to the main house, as it will need to meet the requirements of your local council while still being close enough for people, such as elderly residents, to easily walk to and from the primary dwelling.

Also check the local infrastructure of your property, to ensure your proposed Granny Flat position does not interfere with water tanks, power lines or sewage systems. The site of the Granny Flat will need to be clear of any tall or heavy trees, so they won’t potentially damage the roof.

Think about the Size, Shape and Attributes of Your Land

Do you live on a narrow or square block? Cubitt’s has a wide range of Granny Flat designs in various shapes and layouts to choose from, so you can align this to suit your land. Alternatively, and unlike most other builders, Cubitt’s can offer custom Granny Flats in a layout and design specific to your needs.

Granny Flats are becoming an increasingly popular way to add instant value to your property while creating a comfortable, flexible and versatile living space to keep your family close. Think about what you love most about your backyard, and what it’s best attributes are so you can harness this in the lifestyle of the Granny Flat. Perhaps your property has a view of the countryside or has a beautiful garden area or a stunning pool. You could position the Granny Flat to make the most of these, to make it feel like a home from day one.


Check Boundary Regulations

In order to achieve a successful development application, it’s important to confirm that the position of your Granny Flat complies with boundary regulations. Some of the main NSW boundary regulations include:

  • Your property must be 450 square metres minimum area
  • The property must have a 12 metre minimum width at the building line of the main dwelling. If not, you may still be able to apply to build an attached Granny Flat.
  • The Granny Flat position should maintain a distance of at least 3 metres from any existing trees that are over 4 metres tall.
  • Lots that are between 450-900 square metres must have a 3 metre setback from the rear and 0.9 metre setback from the side boundaries. Lots between 450-600 square metres can have 330 square metres of floor space, while lots which are 600-900 square metres can have up to 380 square metres or floor space.
  • Lots that are between 900-1500 square metres must have a minimum frontage of 15 metres, a 5 metre setback from the rear and a 1.5 metre setback from the side boundaries. Any lot over 900 square metres can have a Granny Flat with 430 square metres of floor space.
  • Lots that are over 1500 square metres must have a minimum frontage of 18 metres, a 10 metre minimum setback from the rear and a 2.5 metre setback from the side boundaries.

See the NSW Planning Portal Website for more information.


Is your Property on a Sloping, Narrow or Difficult Block of Land? No Problem!

It has never been easier or more affordable to build a Granny Flat in your backyard. Cubitt’s are a proudly Australian family owned and operated business, with over 25 years’ experience building customers their dream Granny Flat or home extension project. This means Cubitt’s has the experience necessary to build on sloping, narrow or difficult blocks of land, so you can make the most of your property. After you choose the right Granny Flat position, choose the right builder!

Call 1300 721 150 to speak with one of our experienced sales and design consultants about your dream Granny Flat project.


Free On-Site Assessment at Your Property

Interested in finding out how to make a positive investment from a Cubitt's Granny Flat or Home Extension? Get in touch for a no-obligation site inspection today.

We require your name, email and phone number to get back to you - and the more you can tell us about your build project, the more effectively our local teams can help.


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About Vince Zinghini

Vince is Cubitt's Director of Planning. With two decades experience in NSW and ACT Council planning and a team of people covering the specific areas in which Cubitt's build, its rare to find a planning scenario we haven't been able to tackle.