5 Different Uses for your Garden Home

With a whole host of different terms used to describe the same building; it’s easy to wonder exactly what the difference is between a modern garden home, and a traditional granny-annexe.

The truth is, there isn’t really one. Both are permanent units, detached from the main home building and fully-equipped with a living space, kitchen and bathroom for complete self-sufficiency.

Despite its name, a granny-annexe can be used for several different purposes – not just to house the elderly. As such, the term garden home is much more encompassing; and more accurately conveys the wide array of living uses these spaces possess.

We’ve created this post to showcase and highlight a number of these different uses – so you can see how constructing a garden home may be able to benefit both you and your family.

1. The Traditional Use – A Garden Home for the Elderly:

The traditional – and still most common reason for building a garden home, is for ageing relatives to use as a dwelling . Far from a modern concept, garden buildings have long been referred to as ‘granny-annexes’ or ‘granny-flats’ for this exact reason.

For many elderly people, a garden home is an ideal alternative to going into care. It’s also an essential thing to think of when planning for retirement. With benefits including the ability to live closer to family – both for comfort and practical reasons; as well as being a much cheaper alternative to private care – it’s clear why it’s such a popular option.

Garden homes by iHus are built entirely from scratch with your needs in mind. With templates designed for comfort and amenities to assist with independent living; a garden annexe can truly be a place to call home.

2. A Modern Twist – Young People in Annexes

Households comprising multiple generations have seen a massive popularity-boom in recent years. As a result of these blended families, people are increasingly using garden homes, and subsequently re-using them, for different generations of the same family.

An interior kitchen

According to a study by Aviva, around one in 20 UK households already have a pre-existing annexe, in one form or another. While more than a quarter of these (27%) were planned for use by older relatives; almost as many (25%) were planned to be used by grown children.

Due to an ever-growing demand for housing and rising costs associated with it, young adults are increasingly looking towards alternative options – such as garden homes. Often as a means-to-an-end, adult children are moving back in with their parents in granny annexes; enjoying reduced living costs and a more independent lifestyle while they save for a deposit.

In fact, Aviva found that 11% of pre-existing annexes already house so-called ‘boomerang’ children – who’ve returned home post university. It’s proving a popular option and, as a result, people have coined the term ‘graddy-annexes’ as an apt way of referring to the increasing use of these spaces by graduates – rather than the elderly.

3. A Garden Home for All – No Matter the Ability:

Nearly 7 in 10 adults with disabilities (69%) live with their parents or guardians, and only 17% live alone. Garden homes can offer these people an opportunity for independent living in much the same way as it does with the elderly. Parents – and the disabled adult living in the annexe; can all have peace-of-mind knowing they’re close by if help is needed.

You can also kit your annexe out with various gadgets and aids to assist them with living comfortably in the space – whatever their disability.

At iHus, we work with our clients to ensure that any garden home we build suits their needs perfectly. Following a consultation, we’ll install devices, such as grab-rails, ramps or hanging switches – to name a few; as part of our construction process.

4. A Good Investment – Financial Benefits to Annexes:

Aside from independent-living and comfort, constructing a garden home also provides several financial benefits too. Doing so will not only increase the value of your property significantly; it’ll also provide an additional selling-point for potential buyers. Increasingly, people are looking exclusively at properties with pre-existing annexes; so investing in one can make selling easier down-the-line .

It’s tough to say exactly how much value a granny-annexe would add to the value of your home – as this figure is dependent on the size and quality of the build. According to statistics however; most garden homes will add around 20-30% onto a property’s market value.

There’s other financial benefits to constructing an annexe in your garden too. By letting it out for use by others – you can generate an additional stream of income. It’s worth noting that potential renters would classify as lodgers; as opposed to renting the ‘normal’ way under a shorthold tenancy agreement.

It’s worth noting that you’ll still classify as a landlord if you decide to do this however – meaning you’ll have to abide by the government’s outlines on landlord responsibilities. With the ability to claim up to £7,500 a year in tax-free rent under the ‘rent a room’ scheme though; it’s an option well-worth considering.

5. Get Creative – Other Uses for a Garden Home:

There’s plenty of other uses for a garden home space too – in reality, it’s all down to your own wants, needs and imagination. Using annexes as summer houses or garden offices have long been popular options; but increasingly people are using them for more inventive reasons.

Garden rooms, which do not have to be self-contained, and granny-annexes make great workspaces for people that are self-employed, running a side-business or able to work from home. Artists and photographers, for example, can use the space as a studio; while freelance beauticians could convert it into a salon.

In a self-contained garden home, your clients could benefit from your workspace being separate from the home; as they can be welcomed in and serviced with a lot less disruption. Whatever its professional use, an annexe can be the perfect solution if you’re searching for a better work-life balance.

They’re also great even if you’re simply wanting some extra ‘family-space’. A traditional garden home works well as private accommodation for any family or friends staying for an extended visit; but you can be as creative with the space as you’d like. Game rooms, cinemas, home gyms; or even just a hang-out space for teens – the options, truly, are endless.

Leave it to iHus

We’ve got over ten years of experience designing and constructing over 200 garden homes; and take pride in creating a space to suit you, and your family’s, needs. We have a wide-variety of pre-designed annexe templates on-hand – so you’re bound to find one that works for you.

Get in touch with our friendly and devoted team today to find out how we can work with you to craft a garden home you can be proud of.

Find out more...

Check out our planning permission or your money-back pledge
Built to the highest quality with a huge range of options
Book your viewing of an iHus near you

Send for your free iHus granny annexe brochure

Simply add your details below, click send, and we’ll forward your beautiful brochure.

    Simply fill in the form and you will be emailed a link to download our 32 page annexe brochure. Please check your Junk mail if your brochure doesn’t appear in your inbox

    Request A Hard Copy?:

    Recent Projects



    This 1 bedroom bespoke Annexe is home to a family from South Africa, their Annexe has enabled them to live in an area that they love close to their beloved family and grandchildren. Find out how the family are getting on, by watching their interview and Annexe walk through video…


    This idyllic annexe is home to Theresa and Austin situated at the bottom of their daughter and son in law’s garden. Having always lived very closely to one another, the family were convinced this way of life wasn’t going to end anytime soon, & their wonderful annexe has made this a reality!
    Speedwell Annexe


    Our customer moved into her Annexe in January and is thoroughly enjoying her lovely new home. She describes her Annexe as ‘Warm Sunny Cosy & Comfortable’. Click below to watch an exclusive interview with the owner and watch their Annexe walk through!
    Williamson bespoke granny annexe

    Jenny Williamson

    The Williamsons family moved into their Annexe over 3 years ago. When visiting the family they told us life in their new home exceeded their expectations for many reasons. So much so, they wanted another iHus building! Click view to find out more about their story and take a look around their Annexe.

    Download Your Free Annexe Brochure

    Simply fill in the form and you will be emailed a link to download our 32 page annexe brochure.

      Simply fill in the form and you will be emailed a link to download our 32 page annexe brochure. Please check your Junk mail if your brochure doesn’t appear in your inbox

      Request A Hard Copy?:

      Download Your Free Annexe Brochure

        Simply fill in the form and you will be emailed a link to download our 32 page annexe brochure. Please check your Junk mail if your brochure doesn’t appear in your inbox

        Request A Hard Copy?:

        Talk to a Consultant

        We know that building an annexe can seem daunting which is why we created our Signature Move process.

        It all starts with a conversation where we want to get to know you better, understand what you need and give you an opportunity to ask any questions you might have.

        To get started complete the form and a member of our team will get in touch to book you an appointment with a consultant…