Everything You Need To Know About Toronto Garden Suites

As one of the latest developments, Toronto Garden Suites have become an enticing prospect for both homeowners and investors alike. Discover key details, costs, and requirements for building your Garden Suite in Toronto. Let’s get started!

What Is A Toronto Garden Suite?

A Toronto Garden Suite is a residential dwelling located on the same lot as an existing house. It provides homeowners with additional living space while maintaining a connection to the main property. 

This innovative housing option has gained popularity in Toronto due to its flexibility and potential as a supplementary income source.

Toronto Garden Suites

The idea is that these houses will be like Laneway Suites. for rental purposes or multi-generational living. This means a single-family home can be converted to have up to three units: a main house, a secondary suite in the main house, and an accessory structure (Laneway Suite or Garden Suite).

Note that Garden Suites are intended to be “non-severable”, which means they cannot be turned into separate property from the main house. Water, sewer, and other utilities will be connected to the main house.

Source: Urban Lanes


How Much Does It Cost To Build A Toronto Garden Suite?

The construction cost of a Garden Suite in Toronto varies based on the management approach:

  • Self-management construction costs $350+ per square foot
  • Construction costs with a hired property manager may be $400+ per square foot.

Size is a significant factor due to fixed costs like demolition, foundation, and service installations, especially in smaller spaces. Building one-story garden suite generally incurs a higher cost per square foot.

Additionally, the type of construction matters, with underpinning being a significant expense. Opting for a basement excavation can significantly increase costs, and the rent-to-cost ratio might not be favourable from an investment standpoint.

How Does Rental Income Compare To Other Real Estate investments?

The rents relative to the construction cost are very attractive, especially as the size of the garden suite build increases.

Here is a comparison of how rents, costs, and rent yields compare between a Toronto garden suite and a Toronto condo:

Expenses- $150- $1,000
Monthly NOI$3,150$2,300
Cap Rate10.8%3.7%

Changes To Home Value with the Addition of a Toronto Garden Suite

Honestly, there’s not enough sales data to give the market a clear picture of how much a property with a Garden Suite might be worth.

It should worth at least how much was put into a typical construction, and there’s a good chance that it will be worth more, which is what we can value-add gain. 

A common method for assessing the value of a rental construction project is through the use of cap rates, a standard metric employed by real estate investors to evaluate investment properties.

Here’s an example of how an investor might value a Toronto garden suite based on cap rates:

Monthly NOI$3,150$4,250
Market Cap Rate5.5%5.5%
Extrapolated Market Price$690,000$927,000
Value Add$340,000$0

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Toronto Garden Suite Fire Requirements

Since the house is in the backyard, you’ll need to make sure that it can be reached in case of a fire and that it’s close enough to fire hydrants.

  • From Garden Suite Entrance To Main Road: 45m (148ft)
  • From Main Road to Fire Hydrant: 45m (148ft)

Source: Urban Lanes


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Toronto Garden Suite Footprint & Height Requirements

The footprint of the Garden Suite is more complicated than that of a Laneway Suite. The maximum footprint needs to be the smallest of:

  • 40% of the rear yard size including the build
  • 60m2 (645ft)
  • 20% of the total lot size

On top of this, the garden suite has a maximum height of 6m (19.7ft).


Source: Urban Lanes


Toronto Garden Suite Setback Requirements

If your lot is too narrow or short, a Garden Suite might not work even if Laneway Suites do, because setback requirements that are stricter than Laneway Suites.

  • Side Setback (per side): Greater of 0.6m(2ft) or 10% of the lot frontage;
  • Rear Setback: You need to be at least 1.5m (4.9ft) from the rear lot line;
  • Separation From Main House:
    • If your build is not more than 4m (13.1ft) high, you need to be at least 5m (16.4ft) from the main house;
    • If your build is between 4m – 6m (13.1ft – 19.7ft) high, you need to be at least 7.5m (24.6ft) from the main house.

Source: Urban Lanes


Toronto Garden Suite Angular Plane Requirements

  • The Garden Suite may not penetrate a 45° angular plane starting from a height of 4.0m on all four sides.

Source: Urban Lanes


Toronto Garden Suite Landscaping Requirements

You need to have soft landscaping in your backyard, such as grass, to permit water to flow into the ground. Note that permeable pavers also count as soft landscaping, and this can be helpful for parking pad purposes. The amount of landscaping is based on your lot frontage:

  • For Lot Frontage ≤ 6.0m (19.7ft): there needs to be a minimum of 25% in soft landscaping;
  • For Lot Frontage > 6.0m (19.7ft): there needs to be a minimum of 50% in soft landscaping.

Toronto Garden Suite Parking Requirements

No additional car parking is needed but you will need to provide two bicycle parking spaces.

Toronto Garden Suite Tree Requirements

The lack of trees is important since healthy trees are protected under municipal by-laws. You will not be able to remove an existing tree with a trunk that is bigger than 30 cm. 

Because of this, a tree in the area located where you want to build a garden suite will prevent you from building one.

Other Requirements For Toronto Garden Suites

  • Platforms: Platforms must not exceed 10% of the Garden Suite interior floor space and cannot be located higher than 4.0m above-grade;
  • Number Of Structures: You can only have a maximum of one accessory structure on a single property lot;
  • Interior Area: The Garden Suite’s gross floor area must be less than gross floor area of the main house.

Will Your Property Qualify For A Garden Suite In Toronto?

If you answer yes to all of these questions, your property might be a good candidate for a Garden Suite in Toronto:

  • Does your property have at least 1 meter of side clearance?
  • Can you get a minimum build footprint of at least 400 square feet?
  • Is your backyard free of big trees or anything else that might get in the way of the build?

What Toronto Real Estate Investment Is Right For You?​

We’d be happy to learn more about your situation and help you find the best investment opportunities for you.