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At Covent Garden Construction, we are always available to answer any questions you have about our custom garden suites. Check out our FAQs on our website for more information or reach out to us directly for personalized support. We are committed to making the construction process as easy as possible and can't wait to help you build your dream garden suite.

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What is a garden suite, is it legal in GTA?

Garden suites are also known as Coach Houses, Granny Flats, and Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs).  They are becoming very popular in cities and towns across North America. Homeowners can now build separate houses in their backyard without the need for road access, providing there is enough space. Garden suites are a partial solution to rapid urbanization, housing affordability issues, and an increasing desire for many multi-generational households to reside on the same property.

Garden suites are an exciting new housing opportunity for homeowners and investors to add a fully separate detached housing unit in their yards, all without the traditional hurdles and costs associated with development.

The great news is that the City of Toronto, alongside many Ontario municipalities are allowing these in addition to existing homes that already have a second suite. 


Garden suites are designed for multi-generational living or rental purposes. Single families can have up to three units: a main house, a secondary suite in the main house, and an accessory dwelling such as a laneway suite or a garden suite.


However, it's important to note that garden suites cannot be turned into a separate property from the main house, and utilities will be connected to the main house.

How Big Can I Build My Garden Suite?

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The rules across municipalities vary, but as an example, the applicable City of Toronto by-law regulations are provided below.

Garden Suite Footprint and Lot Coverage

The maximum footprint (area the building covers) of a garden suite must be the smaller of either 40% of the rear yard area or 60 square metres. The total area of a lot that all ancillary buildings and structures may cover, including a garden suite and any other sheds or garages, cannot exceed 20% of the lot area.

Floor Area

The interior floor area of a garden suite must be less than the gross floor area of the main residential building on the lot. The interior floor area of a garden suite includes the area of all floors of a garden suite.

Height and Separation Distance

A garden suite may be built up to a maximum height of 4.0 metres where the garden suite is located a minimum of 5.0 metres from the main residential building on the lot. If a garden suite is at least 7.5 metres from the main residential building on the lot, the garden suite may be bult up to a maximum of 6.0 metres. However, this is subject to additional angular plane rules.

For an existing garage or shed (i.e., lawfully existing ancillary buildings), if the existing separation distance between the principal residential building and the existing building is less than the required minimum separation, then the existing separation distance is permitted to remain.

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How Can I Determine If My Home is Eligible for a Garden Suite?

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Before you apply to build a garden suite you must be compliant to the relevant Ontario Building Code regulations, the Zoning By-law, and other applicable laws. Providing appropriate access for emergency services, minimum building area and room sizes, as well as minimum required floor heights, are components of the Ontario Building Code review.  It may seem like a lot to understand but don’t worry, we can help you with this!

If you answer yes to all these questions, your property might be a good candidate for a garden suite in Toronto:


·    Does your property have at least 1 metre of side clearance, and a 2.1 metres vertical clearance from the fronting public street?

·    Is your property able to manage a maximum 45-metre travel distance measured from a public street to the entrance of the garden suite?

·    Is your backyard free of big trees or anything else that might get in the way of the build?

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What are the Yard Setback Requirements?

Garden suites in Toronto are subject to setback requirements including side setback, rear setback, and separation from the main house, with specific distances depending on the height of the building.

Side Setback (per side):

The minimum required side yard setback for a garden suite is generally the greater of 0.6 metres and 10% of the lot frontage, to a maximum of 3.0 metres. 

Rear Setback:

You need to be at least 1.5m (4.9ft) from the rear lot line; On lots deeper than 45 metres, the minimum rear yard setback is the greater of half the height of the garden suite and 1.5 metres. 

Separation From Main House:

  • If your build is not more than 4m (13.1ft) high, you need to be at least 5m (16.4ft) from the main house;

  • If your build is between 4m – 6m (13.1ft – 19.7ft) high, you need to be at least 7.5m (24.6ft) from the main house.

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What are the Yard Landscaping Requirements?

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On lots with a frontage greater than 6.0 metres, at least 50% of the rear yard area including the area covered by a garden suite, must be soft landscaped.

On lots with a frontage of 6.0 metres or less, at least 25% of the rear yard area, including the area covered by a garden suite, must be soft landscaped. 

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Can I build a basement in a garden suite? Is parking required for a garden suite? 

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While a basement is permitted in a garden suite in Toronto, it's important to note that adding a basement can significantly increase construction costs and time spent. As a result, we do not recommend adding a basement to your garden suite unless it is necessary for your needs. Additionally, it's important to consider that a basement may impact the height of your garden suite, which could affect its compliance with setback requirements. Ultimately, our team can work with you to assess your needs and determine the best approach for your garden suite project.


No parking spaces for cars are required to be provided for a garden suite. A minimum of two bicycle parking spaces are required for a garden suite.

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