30 Granny Flats and Other Backyard Beauties

Whether you need to house an aging parent, you’d like to have a separate space for guests to come and stay, or you’re just craving a quiet spot of your own to write that bestselling novel, it might be time to reimagine your backyard.

As these inspirational ideas reveal, backyard retreats come in all shapes and sizes – see which one would fit in best at your place.

1. Architects Studio

Contemporary Granny Flat or Shed, Sydney
Architect Ulrika Saar Photo Michael Nicholson

These smart guest quarters aren’t just for guests. The two doors you see on the right open to reveal a bathroom/laundry and a light-filled workshop and storage area. And who doesn’t love an outdoor shower?

2. Shoffice

Contemporary Granny Flat or Shed, London
Alan Williams Photography

Why we love it: Creativity and productivity are assured in a home office this fabulous. Who says a backyard room needs corners?

3. Modern Shed

Modern Granny Flat or Shed, San Francisco

Why we love it: Many people dream of having their own studio into which they can disappear to work on their art, but a studio that itself disappears is one step better. A greenery-covered room of one’s own is definitely worth aspiring to.

4. Shelter Island fisherman’s cottage

Beach Style Granny Flat or Shed, New York
pool table, cottage, barn, photography

Why we love it: Double doors that open when the mood strikes for a game of pool spark a sense of fun, sure to be popular when friends are over.
Krownlab

5. ROB ROY Sliding Barn Door Hardware

Rustic Granny Flat or Shed, Portland
Krownlab

Why we love it: It may be compact, but sliding doors open the living area to the backyard and a skylight in the bedroom above brings in ample natural light. It’s rustic but clever by design.

6. Treehouse

Rustic Granny Flat or Shed, San Francisco 1
Alex Amend Photography

Why we love it: If you loved treehouses as a child, you’ll love this in your backyard… and so will the guests (big and small) who come to stay.

Rustic Granny Flat or Shed, San Francisco
Alex Amend Photography

We especially love that the trees make their presence felt inside as well as out.
Wyndhamdesign

7. Hawk House

Rustic Granny Flat or Shed, Santa Barbara
Wyndhamdesign

 

Those rough-hewn walls make this hideout blend into its surrounds, and its fold-away glass doors make the most of the ocean view. The walls are hinged to open the space to the breeze, and it even has a living roof.

8. Traditional Garage And Shed

Traditional Granny Flat or Shed, New York

A simple design made charming with the help of a window box and ivy-covered front wall.
IndigoJungle Interior Styling

9. IndigoJungle Garden Studio

Contemporary Exterior, Brisbane
IndigoJungle Interior Styling

Tucked away in a tropical garden is this impressive home office and studio. Air and natural light flow effortlessly into space.

Modern Granny Flat or Shed, Brisbane
IndigoJungle Interior Styling

Inside, the mosaic tiles and lofty ceiling ensure occupants never feel hemmed in.

Find out more about this space
Statkus Architecture Pty Ltd

10. Northcote Studio

Contemporary Exterior, Melbourne
Statkus Architecture Pty Ltd

This music room and the guest studio is freestanding but maintains a connection to the main house with the help of a shared deck and pergola.

11. Midcentury Exterior, Nashville

Midcentury Exterior, Nashville
Noble Johnson Architects

It may have had its day as a mobile home, but this refurbished 1972 Avion Camper is now a super-cool space for guests.

12. Midcentury Dining Room, Nashville

Midcentury Dining Room, Nashville
Noble Johnson Architects

A pool house with an outdoor kitchen that doubles as guest quarters is an entertainer’s dream.

Beach Style Pool, Melbourne
Acorn Garden Houses

13. Contemporary Granny Flat or Shed, Melbourne

Contemporary Granny Flat or Shed, Melbourne
Harwyn

A study pod that reflects its surrounds – literally – is just the place to go when you need uninterrupted time to focus.

Melbourne
Harwyn

Top-notch results are practically a given.

14. Guest House Exterior

Country Patio, San Francisco
Paragon Custom Builders

The sliding barn doors open to connect the guest house to the outdoors and main house, but when they’re closed guests can cosy up in absolute privacy.

15. Britespace Model 264

Contemporary Exterior, San Francisco
AVAVA Systems

We love the use of timber inside and out of this modern teen retreat. Adding an extra bedroom couldn’t be easier.

16. Beach Style Exterior, Adelaide

Beach Style Exterior, Adelaide
JDB Carpentry

Handmade from western red cedar, this mini-beach house is cute as a button.

17. Eight & Eighteen

Beach Style Exterior, Seattle
Flat Rock Productions

A granny flat needn’t be gigantic to be functional and inviting, especially when there’s no need for a bathroom or kitchenette. Check with your council to see whether you need approval for a simple design like this – you might be pleasantly surprised.

18. Contemporary Exterior, Madrid

Contemporary Exterior, Madrid
ÁBATON

This contemporary abode can be transported just about anywhere, and its barn-like dimensions are just pleasing to the eye.

19. Country Exterior, Atlanta

Country Exterior, Atlanta
Our Town Plans

A traditional granny flat with country-cottage charm will never go out of style.

20. Contemporary Exterior

Contemporary Exterior

It may be unusual but this off-the-grid treehouse is a cozy retreat for two. Inside, the tiny windows recreate the feeling of dappled light coming in through the trees.

21. Vintage Bus

Eclectic, Portland Maine
Winkelman Architecture

Finding this 1959 Chevy Viking Bus out rusting in a field was a stroke of good luck. The owners completely refurbished it and it now serves as a quirky guest house on their property.

Eclectic Bedroom, Portland Maine
Winkelman Architecture

Inside, hippie-chic decor pays homage to the retro exterior…

Eclectic Dining Room, Portland Maine
Winkelman Architecture

… and you can even have a turn in the driver’s seat.

22. Sylvania Heights

Contemporary Exterior, Sydney
Blue Gum Granny Flats

A granny flat needn’t be fancy to be fabulous. Some of the most successful designs tie in seamlessly with the main house, as this one does.

23. Highgate Garden Room

Contemporary Exterior, London
KSR Interiors

A garden escape fashioned around an outdoor Jacuzzi sounds like heaven to us.

24. Rustic Granny Flat or Shed, London

Rustic Granny Flat or Shed, London
Office Sian Architecture & Design

You don’t need an expansive garden or expensive materials to construct a separate home office – a wall of books turns this one into a place you want to be.

25. Garden Room in Kent

Modern Granny Flat or Shed, London
eDEN Garden Rooms

The thriving vertical garden softens an otherwise contemporary design. At night, downlights turn the garden wall into a feature.

26. Shed Turned Guest Space

Country Granny Flat or Shed, Columbus
Julie Ranee Photography

As long as a granny flat is watertight and it suits the climate, it can be as ramshackle as you like.

27. Oakton Estate

Traditional Pool, DC Metro
SURROUNDS Landscape Architecture + Construction

If you have the pool, space, and the means, a pool house is a fine way to enhance a home. We’re swooning over the outdoor fireplace, in particular.

28. Dunn Cabin

Rustic Exterior, Vancouver
Terra Firma Builders Ltd.

This is essentially a modern version of an old log cabin in the woods. Rammed earth and recycled materials add so much character.

29. Brockloch Bothy

Brockloch Bothy sits remotely on the farm and the off grid building's distinctive pyramid roofs have integral solar panels and skylights for stargazing under Galloway's Dark Skies.
Echo Living

This country getaway sits lightly on the land and is a humble but ultra-comfortable home away from home for visitors.

Glass doors and skylight in pyramid ceiling maximise daylight.
Echo Living

Inside, plywood warms up space on cold, blustery days, and skylights enable stargazing.

30. Glass doors and skylight in pyramid roof maximize daylight.

Contemporary Granny Flat or Shed, Los Angeles 1
Tamara Leigh Photography

It may be bold, but that’s no reason not to love it. The stairs lead up to a rooftop terrace…

Contemporary Granny Flat or Shed, Los Angeles
Tamara Leigh Photography

… doubling its versatility.

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