Frequently Asked Questions
Click on a question to see the answer.
+ WHAT IS GARAGE OR GARDEN SUITE?
Garage and garden suites are essentially small homes located along laneways or back alleys. Amendments to Saskatoon's zoning bylaw to allow for these suites was approved by City Council on May 5th, 2014. They make up part of the Neighbourhood Level Infill Development Strategy. The Infill Strategy itself can be downloaded here and offers a vast amount of information and background on these suites.
A garden suite is defined as a small ground self-contained, ground-oriented, dwelling unit that is accessory to a one-unit dwelling. It is located in the rear yard of a one-unit dwelling and had cooking, food preparation, sleeping, and sanitary facilities which are separate from those in the one-unit dwelling.
A garage suite is defined as a building containing both a garden suite and an area used as a private garage and is accessory to a one-unit dwelling. It it is located in the rear yard of a one-unit dwelling.
"Garage and garden suites" is the terminology used in Saskatoon. In other parts of the country and the world, these types of buildings are referred to as laneway housing, above garage apartments, granny flats, mother-in-law suites, backyard suites, accessory dwelling units (ADUs), carriage houses, man caves/woman caves, and tiny houses.
+ WHY ARE PEOPLE SO EAGER TO BUILD GARAGE AND GARDEN SUITES IN SASKATOON?
There are many reasons including the following:
a) to turn their home equity into cash flow,
b) to increase the value of their property,
c) to diversify their investment portfolio,
d) to build an additional living space near their home for family members or as a guest suite,
e) or simply give back to the community by offering a rental home.
+ WHERE CAN GARAGE OR GARDEN SUITES BE BUILT?
The City of Saskatoon is now allowing all neighbourhoods in Saskatoon to build garage and garden suites. The neighbourhood where your property is located will influence the type of building that can be built. Neighbourhoods are broken up into Category 1 and Category 2. See map here.
Category 1 refers to pre-war neighbourhoods (with typically taller houses) including King George, Pleasant Hill, Riversdale, Westmount, Caswell Hill, Nutana, Buena Vista, Haultain, Varsity View, City Park and North Park.
Category 2 refers to post-war neighbourhoods (with typically shorter houses) and includes all other neighbourhoods not included in Category 1.
+ IS MY PROPERTY SUITABLE FOR A GARAGE OR GARDEN SUITE?
This can be determined through a free consultation with Laneway Suites. Even if the property is determined to be acceptable for a garage or garden suite, it must still be approved through the City of Saskatoon. At this time, every application is being reviewed on an individual basis and the neighbouring property owners will be notified and may submit comments. Note: The City of Saskatoon will not allow a garage or garden suite to be built if the primary house on the property already has a secondary suite (i.e. a basement suite).
+ WHAT IS INVOLVED IN AN APPLICATION PACKAGE FOR A GARAGE OR GARDEN SUITE?
In addition to the application form and fee, there will also be 4 key pieces of information required. These include the following:
Site plan showing dimensions of all attributes on the property including number of parking spaces. *
Floor plan of the garage or garden suite.
Building elevations and section drawings.
A utility plan showing how the suite will be serviced for water, sewer, gas and any other utilities. *
*Step completed by Laneway Suites.
Compiling this information into a concise package is part of the service offered by Laneway Suites. Laneway Suites has developed a thorough checklist to ensure the all the requirements are met.
For more information on the submission requirements click here. Note: Check with Laneway Suites or the City of Saskatoon for the most up to date requirements.
+ WHAT ARE SOME OF THE DESIGN GUIDELINES FOR GARAGE AND GARDEN SUITES?
As these are designed to be infill dwellings into existing neighbourhoods they should incorporate sustainable design principals in order to minimize their burden on the surrounding area. This can include but is not limited to maximizing energy efficiency, utilizing locally sourced building materials, incorporating water management technologies, and incorporating passive solar design. This also includes proper positioning to maximize overview of adjacent rear lanes or rear yards, and minimize overview of adjacent properties.
For more detailed information on design guidelines please click here.
+ WHAT ARE THE ZONING REGULATIONS FOR GARAGE AND GARDEN SUITES?
The maximum size of a garage or garden suite must not exceed 77 square metres or 828 square feet and must not exceed the area of the principle building.
For more detailed information on zoning and regulations please click here.
+ WHAT PERMITS ARE REQUIRED TO BUILD A GARAGE OR GARDEN SUITE?
All typical residential permits will be required including building, plumbing, and electrical permits. Suites must conform to the City of Saskatoon zoning bylaw and the National Building Code of Canada (NBC).
For more information on building code please click here.
+ CAN I BUILD A GARAGE OR GARDEN SUITE IF I ALREADY HAVE A BASEMENT SUITE?
No, not unless the basement suite is removed. The City of Saskatoon will not allow more than one secondary suite on any single property.
+ CAN I BUILD A SUITE WITHIN MY EXISTING GARAGE?
Not likely. Most existing garages do not have an adequate foundation to support a living space. Structual Engineers would need to be consulted to determine if an existing garage foundation is adequate.
Note: This information on this page is offered as general source of information and at times may be out of date. Please check with the City of Saskatoon Planning and Development Department for the most current information.