The granny flat is fast becoming a residential feature in many locations, as many elderly people and their relatives have found this to be an ideal accommodation solution.
Clearly, making the decision to install a granny flat, or garden annex, will predetermine the area it is in, but this does not mean the state of its immediate surroundings should not also be a consideration. A granny flat can help people maintain a certain quality of life, but this is dependent on more than just the structure itself. What also matters is choosing the ideal garden location for your granny flat.
The Placemaking Principle
In planning and architectural circles, placemaking is the idea that a space serves the people who use it, and that where there is a building, what surrounds it matters as much as the structure itself. It focuses as much on the end-user as it does on the design.
On a more intimate scale, you can apply this principle to the granny flat. For many elderly people, the relocations they undertake later in life can feel significant and also a little daunting. They may feel displaced or vulnerable, and in downsizing, they might have had to dispose of various possessions they will have become used to and attached to.
A major benefit of the granny flat is that it gives people independence while placing them immediately close by to a family support network. However, it is vital that they feel totally at home in their new surroundings. If you look at installing a granny flat from a placemaking perspective, the garden location is hugely important.
A Room with a View
The garden should present the granny flat resident with a good view. If you put enough care and attention into your garden and its features, then it makes sense that these should be clearly on view. Part of the garden annex construction process is ensuring that the location works both in terms of the overall look of the entire garden area, but also from the perspective of the granny flat itself.
Light and space are key elements here. Granny annexes should have windows that let in natural light, while providing good views out onto the garden. It is important to install the granny flat in a location that will maximize these features. Other options include sky light roof windows and extra French doors, to ensure the granny flat makes the most of even the quirkiest of garden settings.
Another feature is to bring the outside closer by customizing the granny flat with an outside deck, so that on pleasant days, the resident can sit outside and enjoy the sense of being part to their garden surroundings, while also having the comfort of their home close by.
The key to all this is flexibility and adaptability. While the granny flat is a contemporary, prefabricated form of accommodation, it is also a highly versatile one.
A Garden Fit for Living In
Once the garden has become a place where someone lives, it is vital to keep it in a condition that suits this new purpose. This can also be about participation and encouraging the person or people occupying the granny flat to be active in the garden and its upkeep.
This can work by adapting the garden so that its green areas are contained and easy to manage, with a combination of grass and other landscape features such as decking and gravel. Choose potted plants for ease of maintenance, and consider non-slip resin surfaces and pathways to help navigate to and from the granny flat.
With the right planning, design and installation support, the granny flat and garden will become a comfortable, welcoming home in its own unique surroundings.