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A backyard cabin: the perfect granny flat

Providing support and care for aging parents while offering them the dignity of independence and privacy can be a delicate balance.

Installing a Cedarspan cabin was the win-win backyard granny flat solution for Emma and her mother, Elma, creating a comfortable haven close to her loving family.

“She felt ready to live a bit more independently again but wasn’t ready to stray too far away from us.”

The growing need for senior living solutions

Almost 3.5 million Australian residents are now over the age of 70 and this number is only expected to rise significantly in the coming years.

As our population ages, families are increasingly seeking solutions that allow loved ones to be close by and cared for while maintaining their independence and own home comforts.

And a backyard ‘granny flat’ cabin is the perfect answer for many.

Comfortable and accessible, a secondary dwelling in the garden is emerging as a popular win-win solution. It’s one that offers peace of mind for the younger members of the family and autonomy with care and companionship for the older generation.

For Emma and her mother, Elma, a Cedarspan Cathedral cabin proved to be the comfortable haven that delivered all of this and more.

Regaining independent living

After many years of care under Emma’s roof, Elma was ready to reclaim some independence. “She had spent years with us taking care of her, and she felt ready to live a bit more independently again but wasn’t ready to stray too far away from us,” Emma says.

So, when the family relocated from Victoria to the Southern Highlands of NSW, this was the opportunity to give Elma the ultimate gift.

An adorable 100-year-old cottage on an acre of beautiful, private gardens provided the perfect location for a backyard granny flat cabin to be built.

And it was a Cedarspan that gifted Elma independent living while she remained close enough to the rest of the family for the connection, care and companionship that she needed.

The Greenspan gift

Emma selected Greenspan for the personalisable design offerings and the country cottage appeal that would match the aesthetic of the main home and the local area.

“We didn’t want to go into contemporary, new-age designs,” Emma tells us, “We are in a weatherboard cottage; it’s about 100 years old. We wanted something that was a natural echo of that.”

A Cedarspan Cathedral, with a cedar cladding upgrade, was the perfect design choice to complement the main cottage and fit in with the surroundings.

Measuring 9m x 5.6m and with an additional full-length verandah, it offered plenty of comfortable space to create a small self-contained home in the garden for Elma.

“The fact that you can change dimensions and measurements, those things worked well,” Emma tells us, emphasising the importance of personalising the design to suit Elma’s needs and preferences.

“All the people I dealt with, and any flexibility I wanted with it, there was always an openness for discussion,” she continues to recall of the experience, “They were fantastic.”

An easy, quick and stress-free granny flat alternative

The stress-free experience continued with a Cedarspan cabin proving to be a cost-effective alternative to a traditional backyard granny flat.

“The price point was pretty fantastic for what you get in the end,” Emma says.

And being a modular, prefabricated building the installation process was also fast and easy. “Very, very quickly up pops up this gorgeous little home,” Emma describes, recalling how straightforward and convenient it was to bring Elma’s ‘granny flat cabin’ to life in their backyard.

A perfect Southern Highlands fit

Following installation, Emma continued to complement the character and charm of the local area and the main house through the external colour palette.

The cladding was painted a charcoal grey for seamless integration with the “Woodland Grey” roofing. White balustrades to the verandah pick up the accents delivered by the window frames.

All in all, with its classic weatherboard charm, it looks right at home in the Southern Highlands.

“It looks quite natural and beautiful in the setting,” Emma agrees.

Continuous charm

Inside, Emma finished creating a safe and comfortable home, perfect for her mum’s needs. Her brother helped to complete the fit out of the kitchen and laundry, ensuring it was tailored to Elma’s specifications. A bedroom, bathroom and cosy living area complete the home comforts while timber-clad walls and ceilings, painted in white continue the classic country style of the exterior.

And this, along with the external cedar cladding, creates a perfectly ambient temperature all year round too. “I put some good heating in as well, and because it’s so well insulated, it heats and cools so beautifully and easily for her,” Emma tells us.

Thinking ahead for change

Future-proofing for continued accessibility, comfort and use was also an important consideration.

“We added the stairs, and we put the verandah on the front in a way that we could then potentially add a ramp,” Emma explains.

And now, they are considering a potential future extension, a straightforward task due to the modular design of our buildings. Possible plans include the addition of a second bedroom, an extended verandah and a wider bi-fold entrance.

“It’s an adjustable little design, and it amazes me how flexible it can continue to be,” Emma says.

A backyard granny flat cabin: the ultimate gift

Emma and Elma’s story highlights how a high-quality backyard granny flat can be quickly and easily achieved with a Cedarspan cabin.

Flexible, versatile, and stress-free, it’s a way of awarding your loved one a private haven tailored to their specific needs, close to the love and care of family.

As circumstances change, the adaptability of our modular timber designs allows for straightforward modifications. You can rest assured that your special family members will always have a happy, comfortable, safe and supported home.

Emma says it best. “Having your independence and having community nearby is part of your humanity. It’s what builds our confidence and what makes you feel capable and needed.”

It’s the ultimate gift.


Emma’s Cedarspan is a Cathedral 30C50 measuring 9m x 5.6m with the addition of a 9m x 1.8m verandah.

It features a cedar cladding upgrade, aluminium windows in “White” and Colorbond® roofing in “Woodland Grey”.

All measurements are approximate.


Do you want to gift your loved ones care with independence?

Download our Design Price Guide to find out how you can create your own backyard granny flat with a Cedarspan cabin.


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Book a 15 min Discovery Call. Tel: 1300 635 966

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