But before you get too excited about your new backyard housing solution, there are a few things you need to know and plan for.
Most cities in the Seattle area have restrictions on where and how you can build a backyard cottage. Assuming your lot meets the requirements for the project, you will still need to plan your design carefully to avoid disrupting your neighbors or creating other challenges.
Luckily, we’re here to help you build a fully legal backyard cottage everyone will love.
Can I Have a Backyard Cottage in My Yard?
Each city has its own requirements for building a backyard cottage. For example:
- To build a DADU in a single-family zone in Seattle, you need to have a 4000 square foot lot and (in most cases) an off-street parking space. The DADU itself must be 800 square feet or less, including any garage or storage area. You must provide one off-street parking space for the cottage and meet current land use and building standards. The rules are slightly different for DADUS in other zones.
- In Kirkland, DADUs must be no more than 800 square feet and have one an off-street parking space in addition to the two required for the primary residence.
- Snohomish DADUs must be no more than 50 percent of the gross primary floor area or 800 square feet, whichever is less.
- Many other parts of the Greater Seattle area, including Redmond, Clyde Hill, Yarrow Point, Issaquah, Woodinville, and parts of incorporated King County allow backyard cottages in single family zones. Check with your local government to learn more about the laws regulating backyard cottages in your city.
In addition to regulations on unit size and location, there may be restrictions on the backyard cottage’s height, setback from the property line, exterior paint color, and more. Talk to a qualified remodel contractor to ensure you are following all the relevant laws when you build your cottage.
How Should I Plan My Backyard Cottage?
A backyard cottage generally includes a bathroom, kitchen, living room, and sleeping area. The cottage must include a lockable entrance door and be physically separate from the primary house on the lot.
In addition to ensuring your cottage meets all these requirements, we recommend carefully considering where you will place your cottage to avoid excessive noise, bothersome lighting, and obstructed sunlight that could bother your neighbors. Placing a two-story DADU close to your northern property line could increase noise and reduce the amount of sunlight coming into a neighbor’s yard, which may impact their ability to garden or enjoy outdoor activities.
To build the perfect backyard cottage, you will want to hire qualified professionals. A general contractor can find, manage, and hire the right trade contractors to build your cottage.
At Seattle Style Remodel, we offer a complete Design-Build service so you don’t have to worry about anything during your project. Based on decades of industry relationships and trusted partnerships, we project manage all aspects of the remodeling process from interior design and architecture to engineering and building. Contact us to begin planning your ideal backyard cottage!