Garden Suites

Thinking of building a garden suite on Vancouver Island property? Great news – with the recent change in regulations, you may be able to do just that! Let us walk you through some of the basic garden suite development regulations in Vancouver Island.

What’s a garden suite?

A garden suite is a one- or two-story stand-alone living space built in the backyard of a single-detached home. Also known as a garage suite, carriage house, backyard suite, laneway house, or accessory dwelling, garden suites feature a minimum of a kitchen, bathroom, and living room.

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Who’s permitted to have a garden suite?

Two key factors come into play when determining if you’re permitted to build a garden suite: your lot zone and lot size.

Lot Zone

Garden suites are now permitted in most residential zones including: RF1, RF2, RF3, RF4, RF5, RF6, RSL, RPL, RR. RMD, TSDR, TSLR, GLD, GLG, HVLD, GHLD, and SLD.

Lot Size

The lot size requirement is dependent on your zone. In zones RF1-RF6, your lot must be a minimum of 360 m2. For the remainder of the zones listed above, your lot must be a minimum of 280 m2.

If your lot doesn’t happen to meet the minimum size requirements, you may apply for a variance. Under said circumstances, a development officer will determine whether a garden suite is suitable for your lot.

Are there specific design requirements for a garden suite?

There are many regulations when it comes to the design of your garden suite. Let us walk you through some of the basics.