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Sheds & Granny Flats – Do You Need to Involve Council?

granny flat and sheds

Potentially, you have a shed on your property that you’re not using. So, can you build a combined shed with a granny flat?


Definitely, yes. Just like a carport or garage, a shed will not cause any issues with your allowed floor space ratio. 


Today I will cover everything you need to know plus design and decorating ideas for combining a shed with a granny flat. 


DON'T PAY A FORTUNE FOR YOUR GRANNY FLAT. Find out how to deal with council and build a granny flat for the lowest cost possible. Learn More.

UPDATE: If you are considering converting a shed into a granny flat – Check out my article on Converting a shed into a granny flat. The same rules will apply.


garage to granny flat conversion

Converting a shed into a granny flat follows similar rules to converting a garage


So lets make use of that shed taking up space on your land.  


Do You Need to Involve Council to Legally Build a Shed Combined with a Granny Flat


Basically, no. As long as your block of land meets every regulation that’s required to build a granny flat, this can still be approved through the SEPP.


That means that you can be approved through Complying Development (CDC) – so, you do not need to get Council involved.


The necessary standards that you must meet include:


  • Your block of land is a minimum of 450sqm, and in a residential zone.
  • You do not have another granny flat on your land, and
  • You do not have another granny flat on your property.


Your shed itself must also meet regulations, including:


  • It’s situated more than:
    • 3m away from any trees on your land.
    • 3m away from your rear property line, and
    • 0.9m away from your side boundaries.


IF IT CANNOT meet these setback requirements, you may instead be able to get approved if you use a fire-rated wall on the side which is too close to your boundary. (For example a brick wall on that particular side).


  • All fascia or eaves (if it has any), must be fire-rated.


But, as is the case with all Councils and their regulations regarding granny flats, your local Council may have their own rules. So, I do recommend that you give your Council a call, and ask their advice on what you can/cannot do.


Benefits of a Combined Shed with a Granny Flat


The main benefit of combining a shed with a granny flat is that attaching a shed is much like attaching a carport to the side of a house. That is, your Council will not classify the shed as “habitable space”, so it will not take away from anything from your allowed floor space ratio.


granny flat shed

You can also create a covered outdoor space, which won’t eat into your regulated floor-space-ratio constraints


Meaning, it will allow you much more floor space. As a granny flat is small, this extra floor space can be very beneficial.


Design Ideas


Lets’ move onto design ideas.


Firstly, dependent upon where your shed is placed on your property, your granny flat can be either attached to, or detached from, your main home.


This is where it will help to get a surveyor, to measure are mark out your property’s primary boundaries, and establish where it can be placed, so it will be approved through Council.


They will also work with your designer, (i.e., an architect or drafter), so you can get construction ready floor plans that suit your land, lifestyle, and needs.


Basically, the benefits of a detached granny flat are:


  • Versatility – You have more space to work with, with allows you more free rein when designing.
  • Privacy – You can give the occupants more privacy, such as their own outdoor patio area.
  • Price – Depending on the type that you choose, detached granny flats can be fairly inexpensive to build (see these budget options).
  • Asset – If allowed by your state, you might be free to rent them out as you wish, and their privacy makes them favoured by tenants.


Detached granny flats aren’t without their downsides though:


The regulations are also not the same if the granny flat and shed is attached or detached.


The most important is:


  • An attached granny flat cannot have an inside door that leads from the granny flat to the main home – instead, it must have its own separate entrance.


However, once you have determined what works best for you and your land, here are some design ideas for you – whether attached or detached.




Granny Flat Layouts discusses how to best design, and where to locate, your granny flat, so you can: 


  • Make your design less expensive and simpler. 


Plus, more useful information. 


Multi-Use Rooms


A granny flat is small, so rooms that can be used for more than one purpose saves space. A multi-use room is one that can be used in multiple ways, and you can see ideas here.


Open Plan Designs


Also known as “combined rooms”, open plan designs will also save you space. 


A common example is an open plan kitchen – with no walls dividing the rooms, the kitchen just flows into your dining and living area. 


Another often used design is conjoining two rooms, such as the “wet rooms” – the laundry and bathroom. This keeps all “wet” equipment in one room, making your granny flat “future-proofed”, for when people become older and may not be as mobile.




Natural light has now been used for years to make a small space ‘feel’ more decent-sized – through using more, larger windows, glass sliding doors, or skylights. 


These additions won’t make your floor space magically grow. However, what natural light can and will do is: 


  • Make the space ‘feel’ bigger, as it enables you to see more. 
  • Call attention to the prime focus, whilst throwing light back to spots that are small and tend to be otherwise unseen. 
  • Give you a view of the what is on the outside, so instead of feeling trapped inside, you feel closer to nature. 


This can be harder to achieve than you may realise, but the knowledge of a professional designer will assist you in reaching your goal. 


Now that you’ve installed natural light, you should also consider adding decorative lighting, including:





There’s a space between your granny flat and main home in which your design must show the objective to create visual and acoustic privacy. 


This can be seen in an article called Granny Flat Privacy & Separation, where you will be given the minimum Principal Private Open Space and Landscaped Areas that are needed in this space for the size of your land, and how you can achieve this through designs such as landscaping, soundproofing, and more. 


Outdoor Area


Just like a shed, an outdoor area, such as a deck, patio, or the like, are also not classified as a “habitable area” and thus don’t take anything away from your floor space ratio.


So, you should consider adding some sort of outdoor area. Their other benefits include that they:


  • Provide more natural light and lovely views, and
  • Merge the balance of indoor and outdoor living. 


You also have many different types of doors that you can choose from when designing your outdoor area. For example, a frosted glass door is trendy, and brings in more natural light to your living area.


All of this makes your granny flat ‘feel’ larger. 


So, if choosing to add an outdoor area, the only things that may hamper you are your: 



Creating an Entrance


A shed will typically have a door that is roughly 0.82m wide and 2.04m high.


If you are combining a granny flat with your shed, you may want to replace the existing door with a new door that “fits in” with the overall style you want. The front doors make a massive first impression, so consider installing a nice door on the shed.


You can refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for a guideline on how to install your new door, as these will change depending on the door you choose. 


Once you’ve installed the door, don’t forget the final touches – all new doors require:


  • Seal and insulation – Spray any edges and gaps with spray foam and caulk.
  • Adhesive sealant – Apply this to the bottom of the door.
  • Decorative features – Such as a coat of paint and some wall-mounted lighting.


Built-In Storage Spots


Another great thing about combining your shed and granny flat is that you can use the shed for storage.


So, while it’s always a wise idea to have every one of your storage solutions (i.e., shelves, cabinetry, etc.) in place in the granny flat while drawing your design, you must also consider every available spot for storage.


So, including ideas for Granny Flat storage your shed can be used as a big storage area that you wouldn’t have in a standard granny flat. Consider adding shelving in here as well.




I hope this article has provided you with enough inspiration on designing your granny flat, but feel free to read: 


You can also consider converting your shed into a granny flat, rather than combining them.