How to Make ADU Plans for Your Backyard Living & Working Space
Workplace Inspiration

How to Make ADU Plans for Your Backyard Living & Working Space

|Sep 20, 2022

Are you excited to build an accessory dwelling unit in your backyard but don't know where to start or how to make your ADU plans? Don't worry! Fortunately, you have come to the right place. 

Building ADUs is the best decision if you want to increase your living space, create a working studio at home, or just add more value to your property. Therefore, you must make sure that you are taking the correct steps. 

Here you can find what you should do before building one, including a guide and the best tips for planning an ADU. 

What Is an ADU?

What Is an ADU?

"ADU" stands for "accessory dwelling unit" and refers to additional spaces erected on the same single-family residential lot. 

These extra homes or apartments cannot be sold on their own, as they are additions to the primary residence. However, you can use them to create additional housing or build work-at-home offices. 

ADU houses are also known as granny flats, backyard cottages, and secondary units. 

These secondary houses or apartments are also used to earn additional income through rent or to house a family member who cannot move into isolated housing. 

ADUs can be attached to houses or garages. However, there are also some models that can be built as separate units from the main house. In either case, both spaces will share water and power connections. 

In addition, ADU houses usually have their own separate entrance, living room, kitchen, bathroom, and other multi-purpose rooms. 

Benefits of Having an ADU in Your Backyard

Benefits of Having an ADU in Your Backyard

Making ADU plans to create additional space in your home's backyard can benefit you and your family in many ways. These are the main advantages of having one of these units: 

Earn Passive Income

If you want to earn some extra money each month, ADUs are a great option. Many people decide to do ADU plans and build their own units because they know they can bring in a considerable amount of income. 

ADUs often have their own entrance, kitchen, living room, bathroom, and bedroom. Therefore, you can rent them as separate living spaces and earn extra cash! 

Renting these units out to tenants can be a short-term or long-term plan. However, in any case, you can be sure that it's an excellent option to generate passive income, and it is much easier than dealing with a traditional rental. 

Create Multi-Purpose Spaces

Create Multi-Purpose Spaces

ADUs are not only convenient for those who want to earn more money. Anyone can reap many benefits if they build one! 

There are tons of ways to use a secondary house or apartment. You only need good ADU ideas before you get down to business. 

Would you like to build a distraction-free workspace? If so, you should get an office pod for your backyard. You can also choose an ADU if you want an affordable backyard studio

If you have more than one car and need more space, it's time to start making an ADU garage plan or choose a prefab shed for more storage. The options are endless! 

Perfect Space for Guests

Do you love hosting your friends or family, but your house is too small, and you can't accommodate them? An ADU is an ideal solution! 

With these units, you can have extra space in your backyard to accommodate your guests whenever you want. 

In addition, if you choose an ADU, you don't have to worry about privacy or comfort. Your guests will feel at home throughout their visit!

More Property Value

More Property Value

Many people also decide to do ADU plans and start building these units to add more value to the main property. 

ADUs are inexpensive, so you don't need huge budgets to build one at home. If you choose prefab accessory dwelling units, you can save much more! 

However, although they are cheap, these additional houses or apartments increase the selling price of your property. 

Additionally, most buyers are much more attracted to properties with ADUs, as they increase privacy, offer more housing space, and lower living expenses. 

Housing for Senior Family Members

ADUs are also known as granny flats or mother-in-law suites because they can be perfect spaces for parents or grandparents. 

With these units, you can keep your loved ones close to you while saving money, as you don't have to pay other rent or nursing homes for them. 

Types of ADUs: Which One Should You Choose?

Types of ADUs: Which One Should You Choose?

You can find two main types of ADUs on the market: modular prefab and custom. Do you want to know which one is the best for you? Check out the information below. 

Prefab unit dwelling units are built entirely by the manufacturers. You only have to choose a reliable provider, select your preferred transportation method, and wait until you have your ADU at home to start the installation process. 

If you choose a prefab ADU, you won't have to handle the entire tedious building process yourself. Also, you will not disturb your neighbors with construction noise! 

Prefab units have evolved over time. Now you can find an outdoor office pod ready to use with all the tools you need to set the perfect workspace. However, you cannot make many changes to these units. 

On the other hand, custom ADUs must be built on site from the ground up. Their most significant advantage is that they are customizable. You can choose the design that best suits your needs or change those aspects you don't like. 

However, you should keep in mind that these units can be more expensive, and you will need more time to build them and check that everything is okay before using them. 

As you can see, both custom and prefab ADUs bring many benefits. You only have to consider your needs, preferences, and budget to choose the best option. 

5 Things to Consider Before Making ADU Plans

5 Things to Consider Before Making ADU Plans

If you've been thinking about building an ADU on your property because you prefer custom options, there are a few things to consider first, including: 

Budget and Costs

While building an ADU can add value to your property, you should be aware that the process requires investment. 

If you decide to put money into the project, there are many ways to get it back in the future. However, even if you want to buy a work pod, you need some cash. 

That's something you should also consider when making your ADU plans, as the budget also defines the type of ADU you can choose.

Also, you should remember that you need money for building processes, such as site preparation, demolition, grading, and more! According to experts, at least 8-15% of the final costs go to construction services or contractors. 

Local Restrictions

Local Restrictions

ADUs are popular in many countries, and many governments have even orchestrated campaigns to encourage people to build these units. 

However, most states have imposed property development restrictions. If you want to build an ADU at home or buy from a prefab backyard office, you should keep these regulations in mind. 

Local restrictions define how many units you can have in your house, their full height, and other things you should consider when making ADU house plans. 

Therefore, before bringing your ADU ideas to reality, you must check your city's codes or contact the planning department. 

Permits and Inspections

Some governments also ask people to meet certain requirements before building an ADU in their homes. 

Your city's regulatory body could ask you for a building permit that proves how much space you have available to build an ADU or carry out an inspection before giving you the authorization to start your project's development. 

Land Issues

Land Issues

Before making your ADU floor plans, you should explore your land and prepare to address any land issues that may arise. 

Also, you should pay attention to your design, especially if you made an ADU garage plan. In these cases, it's essential to make sure the unit is car-accessible. 

Fire Restrictions

While these regulations vary from state to state, most ADU houses must be fire-resistant and have an accessible exit. Therefore, you should find out local construction codes and make changes to your small dwelling unit if necessary. 

Key Steps to Making ADU Plans

Key Steps to Making ADU Plans

Have you already made the decision to build or install an accessory dwelling unit in your backyard? You need ADU plans! Do you want to take care of them yourself? If so, here are the steps you need to follow: 

Design your ADU

While this is something you can do yourself, talking to experts or professional architects is a good idea. 

Building ADUs correctly involves fewer rules than erecting a traditional single-family house. However, you must follow a rigorous method to ensure that these structures are safe. 

Also, you need ADU floor plans. While these are not difficult to make, you should consider other aspects, including the potential land issues mentioned above. 

Experts are prepared to build these units and know the entire process. Therefore, you can trust them to bring your ADU ideas to life while avoiding hazards, such as messing up the build or installation process. 

If you don't have enough money to hire an architect, you can also buy ready-made ADU plans. 

Some manufacturers or vendors offer ready-to-use plans that can help you save time and money. 

How Will You Use Your ADU?

How Will You Use Your ADU?

As you design your ADU, you should define its purpose and goals. Why do you want an additional structure at home? Do you plan to build or install a garden office pod

Answering those questions is essential to designing a perfect structure. If you know your ADU's purpose, you can be sure that it will have better design, finishes, and seating. 

At this point, you must also choose the type and style. Some of the most common are detached, over-garage, and attached ADUs. 

Storage Planning

Another step that you cannot forget is storage planning. If you want to create a new living area, you need enough space for those appliances you will have there, such as kitchens, showers, beds, chairs, and more. 

Also, if you've created an ADU garage plan, where will you store all the stuff you usually keep in a garage? 

Perhaps you will need to build storage space in another place or add more space to your dwelling unit in your ADU plans. 

Make Sure Your Design Meets Local Regulations

Again, you have to think about the regulations. Once you have your ADU plans, you must verify that your design meets local standards or regulations. 


Many states require that homeowners have their designs approved by authorities before beginning the construction process. 

Keep in mind that you should be prepared to do some revisions if the government finds things not in line with local restrictions. 

Sort Your Finances

You should also check again if your ADU house plans fit your budget. Before you hire an architect or contractors to build the additional structure, you should know how much money you have. 

Costs to build an ADU vary depending on several factors, including location, type, and size.

In addition, some homeowners obtain renovation loans or home credits to fund their ADU construction or installation. That's something you can do, too. 

Choose the Contractors or Architects

Choose the Contractors or Architects

Finally, if you have followed all the previous steps, the next thing to do is to hire professionals. You can ask them for bids and choose one that suits your budget or search for construction company recommendations online to find the best option. 

If you prefer to skip the construction process and choose a prefab ADU, you may also need help installing the structure in your home. 

However, it could cost much less than hiring an architect or construction company to handle all the building phases. 

Tips for Making ADU Plans

Do you have all your designs ready? Are you still missing the ADU floor plans? Check out these dwelling unit planning tips! 

  • Think like an investor and keep in mind that your ADU's purpose may change over time. Therefore, try to add more generic or universal elements to avoid higher expenses in the future.
  • Consider pre-made options if your budget is tight.
  • Hire an experienced ADU designer to make your plans if you don't know the standards or regulations.
  • Think about the decoration before making your ADU plans to avoid budget problems.
  • Consider the supply chain, as you will have your prefab ADU or building materials delivered to your home. 

Final Thoughts

Building an ADU at home can be difficult and requires a lot of money. However, there are some alternatives to lower costs and save a little. 

Remember that you can buy ready-made ADU floor plans or look for a prefab dwelling unit if you don't want to spend a lot of money or don't have enough time.

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