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Backyard Cottage ADU Design & Build

Charming, standalone dwelling that offers a cozy retreat

or a potential source of rental income, right in the comfort of your backyard.
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Choose between in-house or online free meeting with our ADU Consultants to discuss your project
Our experienced team drafts a detailed estimate, which we then finalize together to align with your vision and budget
We sign a contract, finalize the designs, and our team kicks off the plans and permit process
Relax as our efficient construction process unfolds, ensuring a stress-free experience

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In circumstances when the current living space is not sufficient, many families face a tough choice: to spend an enormous sum of money on building a new house or to keep crowding into a tiny space. However, you don’t necessarily have to choose the lesser of two evils. One possible way to deal with it is to build a small cottage home on the same lot.

An accessory dwelling unit (ADU), or so-called granny flat, is a completely self-contained tiny home with a location on your property land near your primary dwelling. It differs from the main house only in the way that tiny homes usually have smaller square footage. Yet, like your primary house, your backyard cottage should typically have a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and all other amenities like an HVAC system, proper lighting, plumbing systems, and so on.

One thing that’s important to know is that ADU building is not an easy endeavor. It takes months of work and tons of expert knowledge to bring your project into existence. Therefore, the majority of homeowners choose to apply to professional backyard cottage builders who are apt and well-versed in the renovation sphere. ADU Builders California is one of the companies that can help you create an ADU in any style!

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Backyard Cottage Types and Benefits

There are plenty of ways to categorize accessory dwelling units. They differ from each other in size, layout, location in relation to the primary home, and other criteria.

The most common ADU types are the following:

These backyard cottages stand alone and function independently of the primary home. They have their own complete amenities, including electrical wire and water supply systems, and their own separate entrance. Most building codes allow such additional units to be quite big: up to 1000–1200 sq. ft., depending on jurisdiction. Thanks to the sufficient privacy of detached backyard cottages, they are the most popular ADUs among homeowners.

These tiny homes share a wall with the main house and often have shared plumbing and power supply systems. Also, they provide less privacy. Therefore, homeowners usually opt for an attached accessory dwelling unit when they use it as a so-called mother-in-law suite for aging relatives in need of constant supervision. Or if they just want to extend their living space. The charm of this versatile structure is that you can always use it for storage or for entertainment.

Garage conversion is a recent trend that you may have encountered on social media. Many see this as an appealing idea that, after applying a certain effort, it’s possible to transform your unused shed or cluttered garage into a nice backyard cottage. Not only is it a faster process because the walls and roof are ready, but it usually requires fewer budget expenses. Who knows? Maybe inspired by your neighbors’ renovation of their old domestic facilities, you come up with your own ADU project.

If you decide to rehaul your attic or basement and turn them into a living area, this would mean you created an internal ADU. An internal ADU is a tiny home built within your main residence. However, there are minimum size and width requirements for an internal room in the house to qualify as an ADU.

These tiny homes are actually tiny. Junior ADUs have such a name because, unlike the usual ADUs, they must not exceed 500 sq. ft. in terms of size. As for their benefits, JADU buildings have fewer restrictions and limitations, so it’s easier to get them permitted by the local authorities.

No matter what ADU type you pick, ADU Builders California company offers its construction services to turn a project in your imagination into a solid structure on your land.

Backyard Cottage Construction

To determine the type of ADU you need, ADU Builders California suggests taking the following factors into consideration:

  1. Local Rules and Regulations for an ADU Size

The size of your backyard cottage will always be in the range between 150 and 1200 square feet. But there is one important caveat. If we talk about attached tiny homes, many jurisdictions restrict the square footage of this structure to half or even 30% of the main residence size. With that being said, a detached ADU has an incomparable advantage over it, with its maximum size reaching 1000–1200 sq. ft. But even where local regulations prescribe smaller dimensions for ADUs, the minimum detached ADU size cannot be smaller than 800 sq. ft.

  1. ADU Construction and Maintenance Costs

It’s easy to guess that building and maintaining an attached ADU is cheaper than dealing with a detached one. But what are the reasons behind it? Firstly, these are larger quantities of materials and work that increase the construction costs. After all, your contractor needs to build everything from scratch. Attached ADUs can partially utilize some components of the existing house, for instance, the adjacent wall, as well as ready-made HVAC and plumbing. Additionally, if you’re building a detached ADU, you’ll need to maintain these separate systems in good condition. So, if financing is your primary concern, it makes sense to opt for an attached unit.

  1. Extra Room for Parking

Since parking regulations tend to vary from one place to another, you’ll need to consult with your ADU contractor on this topic when deciding on the type of tiny home. To illustrate our point, if you build detached ADUs, local authorities will most likely require you to arrange for a mandatory off-street parking space on your property. Whether it’s a garage or outdoor parking. On the other hand, attached ADU owners typically do not encounter such requirements. However, it’s always wise to check your local rules anyway.

As you can see, there can be numerous construction issues involved in creating an ideal backyard cottage. Sometimes, it may become too perplexing to figure out details, which may affect your project in a negative way. This leads us to the evident benefits of hiring a qualified contractor like ADU Builders California who possesses the necessary knowledge and resources to complete your ADU project seamlessly.


Hiring a Skilled and Knowledgeable Contractor for Your Backyard Cottage

Choosing the right ADU contractor is already half the battle. To do so, you first need to determine what you’re expecting from the project: what type of ADU and what the purpose of this space will be; the preferred design and layout; and specific requirements (for instance, you want an eco-friendly or energy-efficient ADU). Another vital thing to consider is your budget. If you’re looking for more affordable contractors, that will be one of the most important criteria to base your choice on.

Whether you rely on personal recommendations, visit their page to look through online reviews and portfolios, or demand quotes from every contractor that falls under your preferred categories, enough research is the key to success.

Using the example of the ADU Builders California company, we will consider the main advantages homeowners should pay attention to when choosing a reliable ADU contractor:

In the course of several years in the construction business, ADU Builders California has become known as a reputable company. Having tried it once, its loyal clientele chose to stick with the top-notch services and great customer experience that ADU Builders California provides.

You want your backyard cottage to be resilient to the frolics of nature and wear off over time. With that in mind, ADU Builders California developed a network of trusted suppliers that provided the company with high-quality materials and cutting-edge equipment. ADU Builders California cares about results. That’s why their ADUs are safe, durable, and have a beautiful appearance.

When you plan to build a new structure, the first thing that comes to mind is how exactly your idea will look in reality. ADU Builders California has an extensive gallery of completed projects, from beautiful small homes with picturesque scenery of trees and patios to modern-style bathroom remodels. Get inspiration for organizing your space in the most effective and aesthetically alluring way!

The company itself is accredited and has various licenses and certificates that prove the quality of its services. But more than that, every member of ADU Builders California is a carefully chosen and trained professional in their field. No matter what job you’re searching for—installing a bath or changing tiles in your bathroom, painting your bedroom green, insulating a kitchen window, or manufacturing custom kitchen cabinets—ADU Builders California will assign a specialist for you.

All in all, ADU Builders California is a dependable backyard cottage contractor in your city. If you need to renovate your dwelling space or build a completely new cottage, it will help you gain inspiration, overcome difficulties during the new construction process, and implement your idea into real life, even if the amount of your money is quite limited.

Frequently Asked Questions — FAQ

What advantages can building a backyard cottage bring?

The perks of having an ADU do not end with the additional square footage that your family may enjoy. Increased living space, as well as storage space, are direct consequences of adding an extra unit to your property, but with smart use, you can reap the fruits of rent or resale revenues. Constant passive income or quick earnings on enhanced property value—this choice is for you to make.

Is it comfortable to live in an ADU?

There is an undeniable benefit to “living small”: low life expenses. The less space you need to maintain, the lower your utility bills will be. But what about your comfort? Fortunately, backyard cottages can be rather big and require all the amenities that traditional homes offer. Therefore, they are absolutely suitable for permanent residence. Yet, of course, it’s not a full-fledged house, and you won’t be able to house ten guests there at once.

Does an ADU significantly increase property taxes?

Yes, the extra square feet of a new ADU will increase your real estate taxes. However, you don’t need to worry too much. An ADU can add up to 10–15% to your tax sum, but it’s still significantly lower than a newly purchased house would. Also, some jurisdictions offer tax incentives to encourage ADU building in certain areas. So you may expect mitigation of the tax burden if you live in one of those.

Can a backyard cottage be sold separately from the main house?

No, in most jurisdictions, you cannot divide your property like this, even if your cottage is a detached ADU and has separate access to it. When you create an additional dwelling unit, you should keep in mind that it’s impossible to sell an ADU without your primary home present first.

Valued Recognitions


Frequently Asked Questions — FAQ

What is an ADU?

ADU is an abbreviation for an accessory dwelling unit representing an additional secondary dwelling structure located close to the primary residence at the residential lot usually owned by one family. There are two main types of such structures, attached ADUs (resulting in the reconstruction of the existing inhouse space) and detached ADUs, which are the separate structures located on the premises territory. If you plan to build an ADU, you should find out the ADUs construction regulations established in your area. If the design of your attached or the detached ADUs conflicts with the design guidelines applicable for that of the primary residence, you won't be able to get the approval to perform the ADU building.

Can I cope with ADU construction myself?

ADU construction implies a lot of preparatory work. First of all, you should carefully learn the ADU building regulations established in your state. Secondly, the project design and all the cost calculations should be carried out. Thirdly, you must carry out the purchase of all the construction and decoration materials according to your cost estimate. Finally, the erection or reconstruction (in the case of the attached ADU) works should be performed. So, if you have enough expertise and experience in some areas of activity, you will be able to carry out the ADU all by yourself.

What is the price of ADU Construction?

The ADU construction costs are influenced by numerous factors, such as the type of your ADU (attached or detached), how many square feet your residential lot is, what size your potential ADU is planned to be, whether it will be a one-story or a two-story ADU, and many others. Generally, the ADU price tag can vary from 30 thousand to more than 300 thousand US dollars.

How long does it take to have the ADU built?

The average period of the new ADUs construction depends on whether you are going to erect a completely separated new accessory dwelling unit or reconstruct the already existing primary residential structure. As a rule, obtaining the building and reconstruction permits takes two weeks (the term may be increased in some cases), whereas the construction works themselves can take up to 4-To 6 months, depending on your ADU project
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