Mississauga offering free design plans aiming to make adding a garden suite easier

According to the City of Mississauga, garden suites are a good option for homeowners who want to downsize, need a separate space for family members, or want a rental unit for extra income.

Artist rendering of the one-bedroom garden suite. (Credit: The City of Mississauga)

The City of Mississauga is introducing free, pre-approved garden suite plans.

Two standardized garden suite models have been approved, which include an open-concept studio with 430 square feet, and a one-bedroom suite with 600-square-feet. Both models include a kitchen space and three-piece washroom.

“Garden suites are small homes that can be built in many backyards citywide. They are a good option for homeowners who want to downsize, need a separate space for family members or who want a rental unit for extra income,” reads the City of Mississauga’s website.

Homeowners will be able to customize their interior and exterior garden suite finishes such as paint, plumbing fixtures, siding, windows, doors and flooring. The layout of the suite, including the wall, door, window and room locations can not be modified.

One of the benefits of the pre-approved plans is that homeowners can skip the design phase and start working directly with a licensed builder. Homeowners will be responsible for all building costs and may need support to help prepare the building permit application.

The pre-approved plans can be downloaded from the City’s website, and aim to help residents save time and money since they won’t need to hire a designer to draw custom plans.

Artist rendering of the studio garden suite. (Credit: The City of Mississauga)

“Today we’re delivering another key initiative from Mississauga’s Housing Action Plan.  Our garden suite plans are a great example of how we’re streamlining City processes to get homes built more quickly and help with affordability,” said Andrew Whittemore, commissioner of planning and building. “Housing is a top priority and these plans are one more way that we’re helping to make it easier to get building.”

According to the City, garden suites are a way to add density to Mississauga neighbourhoods in a “gentle” way. Gentle density helps bring people to areas where schools, parks, community centres and other types of infrastructure is already in place and can also help reduce sprawl by encouraging more compact and walkable communities.

Increasing ‘Missing Middle’ housing in low-rise communities is a key action in the City’s housing plan. In late 2023, the City updated its Official Plan and zoning rules to make it easier for homeowners to build up to two additional residential units (ARUs) in addition to the primary home or a new fourplex on a lot (or convert their current home to four separate units).

“Like other maturing cities, we’re seeing major growth in our urban areas – such as our downtown core – but many of our neighbourhoods are shrinking. Allowing more housing types – such as fourplexes, triplexes and garden suites – is a good way to reinvigorate communities experiencing population decline,” said Whittemore.

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