With an aging baby boomer generation and their kids contemplating alternatives to retirement homes, a new option is popping up—in people’s backyards. “Granny pods,” also known as granny flats, mother-in-law cottages and auxiliary dwelling units (ADU), are small, standalone dwellings built close to a main house.
These tiny homes allow aging parents to stay close to their children and grandchildren for care and companionship. But they also maintain privacy and independence for all family members.
Some granny pods are outfitted specifically for accessibility, making them a great alternative to nursing homes. However, don’t think that means you need to sacrifice on style. The gorgeous designs of these 10 backyard homes are definitely wow-worthy!
1. Portland Mother-In-Law Cottage
An architect designed this rustic tiny home for his mother-in-law in the family’s backyard. The 200-square-foot space was made mostly with reclaimed building materials. While it has a kitchenette and bathroom, mom is still just steps from the main house.
2. Modern Pod
A sleek pod-style building would add a modern touch to a backyard. These glorified garden shed granny pods are also energy-efficient.
3. Berkeley Backyard Cottage
This family’s guest cottage doubles as a work space.
The white wood interior is cozy and classic.
4. Historically Inspired Cottage
A small outbuilding complements the large Palo Alto Dutch Colonial Revival style home it sits behind.
5. Portland Treehouse
This ADU near Portland stretches out over a wooded hillside area.
6. Camano Island Cottage
This beachfront Washington state cottage isn’t a true mother-law unit. But its perfect size, one-level living and waterfront location make it a dream spot for a retiree.
Originally built in the 1940s, this cute cottage underwent an extensive renovation.
We love the French doors that open directly onto the large deck.
7. Carriage House
The charm is in the details of this ADU over a garage.
8. Breezeway Connector
9. Writer’s Residence
Charm oozes from every inch of this writer’s cottage. The original owner was the author of “Sophie’s Choice.”