Building in Your Backyard

Building in Your Backyard

Are you feeling a little cramped and looking to utilise some space from your backyard? Before deciding whether to build a unit, granny flat or studio on your land it is important to know the types of buildings available and what meets your needs.


A planning permit is always needed to build a second dwelling on your land, but you may be able to avoid a planning permit with other types of buildings. As planning controls vary across the state, you will need to speak with a town planner to confirm whether a planning permit is required for your project.

If you are looking for some work/hobby space or for a teenager retreat, a studio or backyard sleep out might be best. This is simply a building that doesn’t have all the facilities necessary for a dwelling.

For a building to be deemed a dwelling it must have these facilities:

  • A kitchen sink;
  • Food preparation area;
  • Shower or bath, and;
  • Toilet and a basin.

So, if the building doesn’t have all of these facilities you may be able to build it without needing a planning permit, saving you time and money.

A granny flat is another type of backyard building that is sometimes considered by property owners. A granny flat is a type of dwelling (as it contains all of the facilities mentioned above). In Victoria a granny flat is a temporary removable dwelling used for housing someone (often an aging/ill parent) who is dependent on the occupants of the main house. In most residential areas a planning permit is not required for a granny flat (otherwise called a dependent persons unit), but it is expected that it will be removed once the dependent person no longer needs it.

With this information you can decide what type of building will best fit your needs.  If a studio or dependent persons unit will fit your requirements you may be able to bypass the need for a planning permit, saving time and money.

Regardless of whether your building needs a planning permit it will most likely need a building permit, so check with a registered building surveyor.