Outside Spaces: Granny Flat vs Canbana

Over the past few years, outside cabins and “granny flats” have become a pretty popular extension, and now we’re seeing them pop up in dozens of residential gardens. Though they can be fairly comfortable to live in, there are a wide range of applications for a granny flat, and it’s typically seen as a few steps over a cabana. Which one of these is better for you though?

Source:  Wikimedia

Source: Wikimedia

One major thing to consider when buying either a cabana or granny flat is the money involved. One immediate advantage that granny flats hold over cabanas is that they act as an investment. Once they’re built, granny flats increase the value of your home, but also creates a convenient outdoor space which you can rent out to lodgers. Despite this great potential as an investment, granny flats are very expensive when you rack up all the labour, building materials and so on. If you’re looking for an outside shelter simple for your own personal use, then cabanas are probably the best choice for you. These can be set up and maintained for far less. However, if you’re going for a serious home investment, then a granny flat is probably for you.


It’s important you take the time to consider what the main function of the space is actually going to be. If you don’t have any clear ideas yet, and you want to keep it flexible, then a cabana is probably the better choice for you. These can start off as fairly minimalist spaces, and then be gradually improved and upgraded over time. The nature of granny flats is a little more rigid. If you were to build one with a traditional layout, for example, there would need to be a functioning bathroom in it. Be careful with plumbing like this, along with electricals and other expensive instalments. These can make the outside room very hard to modify further down the line. Cabanas, on the other hand, are a lot more flexible, and you’ll be able to add more space and rooms with time.

Source:  Flickr

Source: Flickr

Finally, I recommend asking yourself how much you can put up with all the technicalities of building an outdoor cabin. Unless you’re a private contractor, I’ll assume that you don’t know all that much about all the permits you have to have and the laws you have to follow. Wherever you live, there are going to be a range of laws dealing with the ownership and square footage. and other bylaws relating to your specific community. Obviously the company who sells you your granny flat will have experience with this. They may be able to offer some guidelines to help you through all these technicalities, but you’re going to have to do at least some of the work yourself. If you settled on the granny flat option out of one-upmanship, then it may be time to step back and consider how much legalese you’re prepared to go through!


Be sure to run yourself through these considerations before choosing your granny flat or cabana. Despite the various pros and cons, both of these make lovely additions to a garden!





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