Garden suites

General information

  • A garden suite has cooking, food preparation, sleeping and sanitary facilities which are separate from those of the principal dwelling. 
  • The ground floor area of a garden suite is applicable to the total accessory ground floor area allowed in the Zoning District. 
  • This does not include a manufactured home, manufactured home (single-wide), secondary suite or additional dwelling.
  • Only one garden suite may be considered per dwelling. 
  • A principal dwelling shall be developed on the lot prior to the development of a garden suite. 
  • A garden suite shall not exceed the lesser of 40% of the gross floor area of the principal dwelling or 100 square metres (68 square metres in RE, RCM, RCH zonings).
  • The garden suite shall not be located closer to the front property line than the existing principal dwelling.
  • The exterior design of the garden suite shall include a roof pitch and exterior finishing that is similar in design, colour and material and which is of a complementary nature to the principal dwelling. 
  • The exterior of a garden suite developed as part of a detached garage shall continue to appear as a garage.
  • A minimum of three on-site parking stalls must be provided (two for the principal dwelling and one for the garden suite) which conform to parking regulations. 
  • Bedrooms must contain at least one window having a minimum unobstructed opening of 3.77 sq. ft. in area and no height or width can be less than 15 inches. 
  • Ceiling height minimum for garden suites is 6.4 ft. (1.95 m).
  • Smoke alarms must be hard-wired and interconnected with the accessory structure (if applicable) so they will operate in unison.
  • Exit can be provided either by direct exterior exit or an exit with stairs leading from the suite to the accessory entry (that has a doorway to the outside).
  • Fire protected walls and ceiling (use of 1/2 inch drywall) are required between a garden suite and the accessory portion as well as around common exits. 
  • Electrical, plumbing and gas work must be done by a certified professional (e.g. master electrician, journeyman trades person).
  • Heating and ventilation for the suite must be independent from the accessory. 
  • Gas furnaces and water heaters must be enclosed in a room with fire protected walls and ceiling (use of 1/2 inch drywall).
  • Water and sewer can be provided through the main house or have their own systems. 

Printable brochure - Garden suites information (316.2 KB)

Applying for permits

To obtain the necessary permits, you will be required to submit:

  • A completed application form with landowner signature.
  • A completed application form.
  • Three copies of the site plan (a photocopy of the Real Property Report is preferred) showing the garden suite with the setbacks to the property lines.
  • Three copies of the floor plans for each level in the accessory (including one with the suite), the dimensions and rooms must be labeled. Window sizes and smoke detector locations must also be shown. 
  • Elevation drawings, to scale, of all four sides.
  • Current copy of land title (printed within the last 30 days)
  • Two copies of any additional engineering requirements.
  • A completed fire safety plan (84.5 KB) - information on construction fire safety plans and protection requirements.

Garden suite fees

Please see "Garden Suite" in the current development and building fee schedules

Note: The Safety Code Council fee also applies to garden suites, please see the current building fee schedule. 

More information:

Planning and Development Services
Phone: 780-464-8080
Fax: 780-464-8142
Email: planninganddevelopment@strathcona.ca

Last updated: Wednesday, April 24, 2019
Page ID: 40963