As we grow older, the family takes on more and more significance. Once we have grandkids, we want to spend more time with them. We become more cognizant of our mortality, and watching these little ones helps us feel young again. It’s also a healthy reminder that we’ve done some good in life because we had a role in their presence on the planet.
For adults in their late thirties and early forties, having elderly parents around can become a standard part of life. It feels good to support the parents who looked after you when you were little, and it helps to have a trusted babysitter when your work schedule gets hectic.
In some communities, elders of a certain age are automatically shunted to retirement villages and nursing homes. Not everyone ends up that way though. For some families, the cost of nursing homes isn’t manageable. For others, the ideas of sending grandma or grandpa away isn’t on the cards. It just doesn’t feel right.
Of course, this can present a whole different challenge. If your elderly parents have been living on their own, they may have a hard time moving in with you. They may feel like they’re a burden or might have a hard time giving up their way of doing things. It can be hard for them to adjust to your rules and lifestyle without reverting you to 5 years old.
A good solution in such situations is to install a granny flat. Since it has its own kitchen and bathroom facilities, your parents can maintain their independence while still being within reach. You can check on them to be sure they’re okay without infringing on their space.
Another situation where best granny flats are handy is when your teens and college-going kids become too much of a handful. Whether it’s their loud music, messy friends, or inconvenient hours, living with teens can be a tad crazy-making.
Solution? Build them a granny flat. You’ll know where they live, which eases your worries. But you won’t have to deal with their foibles since they can essentially cook and clean for themselves. It’s a good deal all round. Granny flats also make a good home office.
While many councils don’t require specific permits for granny flats, they do ask that you restrict them to family use. If you’d like to install one for rent, you’ll need a special license. In some areas, regulations also mention the size and location of your granny flat. Before you order yours, visit the municipal centre and find out what you can and can’t do.
Granny flats are generally pre-fab units, which means you get a box with the walls, roofs, floors, windows, doors and so on, then you assemble them and erect the housing unit. Your primary decision will be where exactly to put this house.
Make sure your chosen site doesn’t interfere with the sewer system, power lines, or other water pipes. You should also check that the ground beneath your unit is level and stable to prevent sinking and other unpleasantness. Check the area for old trees. They can have robust root systems that can uproot the house at a later stage.
Another key location factor is privacy and access. Putting the flat in the back yard rather than the front offers the resident their own space. They don’t have to worry about being watched by any random person that walks onto the property.
You might also install a back gate so that residents have their own entryway and are not forced to go past your home every time they want to get in or out of their little house. In the same vein, if your resident routinely comes to the main house for meals, build the granny flat close by. This is especially useful for grandparents who can’t walk long distances.