Why Build a Carriage House or a Backyard Suite?

W What is a backyard suite or a carriage suite? It’s not a common site in Calgary because the city has not put much motion or incentive for people to build an additional suite on your existing property. We’ve gotten the facts, and we are here to share the knowledge. Other names for a carriage suite would be a Garage Suite, Mother-in-law Suite, Garden Suite. To the city, they classify it as a secondary suite.  Homeowners, property investors, real estate professionals, and simply residents interested in backyard suites and infill to attend. Attendees will learn the rules and regulations for backyard suites from the City of Calgary, the process to build from experienced builders and designers, common pitfalls and advice from current suite owners, and how to finance a suite from a mortgage specialist. There will be opportunities for one-on-one conversations with industry experts, so that you can connect people who will take your from concept to completion.

T The benefits of having a backyard suite vary from person to person. They offer homeowners a number of benefits including additional rental income, opportunities to downsize and age in community, multigenerational living, and affordable rental accommodations in desirable neighbourhoods. Whether it’s to house your ageing parents close to home, generate a rental income, or plan for your future, Backyard Suites are a flexible form of housing that can help meet you and your family’s changing needs. ​As a form infill, Backyard Suites help Calgary build in instead of out, which promotes fiscally, environmentally, and socially responsible development. They also help our city build in more efficient and sustainable patterns.

Rental Income

Build a suite, rent it out and make some additional income. Use your suite as a mortgage helper, investment, or retirement income.

Downsize – Age in Place

With Backyard Suites, long-time residents can downsize and age in their community when their main home becomes too much work.

Affordable Housing

Building a suite in your backyard can help add to Calgary’s affordable housing stock.

Stronger Inner City Communities 

Backyard Suites help create more walkable, compact, and attractive communities that support physical and mental health.

Multigenerational Living

Backyard Suites can enable multigenerational living, where ageing parents or young adults can live close to their families, while still have privacy and independence.

G Going through the process of building a backyard suite can be confusing and complicated. Knowing and avoiding common pitfalls and challenges is critical to a successful project. Since building a backyard suite is one of the biggest financial decisions a homeowner will make, it’s important to understand the rules and regulations, the process to build, financing options, design considerations, etc. The tour is a great opportunity to see inside some of Calgary’s own backyard suites. Seeing suite designs on paper is one thing, but experiencing them in person gives you greater insight into the possibilities that exist for designing the suite of your dreams.

Z Zoning of your property is something that you can look at to first determine if your home can have a secondary suite. RC-2 is the most common zoning, along with RC-1 for residential properties. RC-1 does not necessarily mean that you cannot apply (i.e. zoning for 1 residential dwelling). However, you will need to further apply for your home to be rezoned to an RC-2 or something that can hold more properties.