Garden Homes – an affordable option for the sandwich generation

Garden suites are an affordable option for the sandwich generation.

Submitted by Urban Mews

(EJNews) – More Canadians now than ever before find themselves in the “sandwich generation”. In fact, about a fifth of Canadians are challenged with the responsibility of managing their aging parents’ care and, at the same time, either still raising their teenage children or having grown-up children return home. As the population ages, it’s only going to become a more normal part of life for Canadians. The bad news is that, in all likelihood, their parents will find it difficult to find an affordable or suitable retirement home, as waiting lists for seniors’ homes continue to grow exponentially.

Financially constrained provincial governments can’t keep up with construction of seniors’ homes and privately developed facilities are far too expensive for most. Thousands of Alberta seniors are now on waiting lists for suitable accommodation, while they no longer can manage to live in their own houses with stairs and other mobility barriers. In Edmonton, many such seniors needlessly occupy hospital beds.

There is good news! Many Alberta municipalities, with Edmonton and St. Albert in the lead, have responded to the looming shortage of senior and affordable housing by recently amending land use by-laws and allowing for development of Garden Homes or Garage Suites in residential backyards. These attractive, self-contained homes, with separate utility metering can now be built on many city lots, allowing seniors to either move into such home in their own yard and rent out their large home, or move into their children’s back yard. Also, Garden Homes became a practical housing solution for live-in caregivers. For many families it’s a win/win proposition.

“It is a brilliant and affordable solution that offers many benefits of multigenerational living. As a parent of a young child, I see endless benefits of having grandma and grandpa living nearby” says Thomas Lukaszuk, Alberta’s former Deputy Premier who saw the dire need for such housing while serving in government and who now is the Managing Director of – local design and building company specializing in designing and crafting such homes.

“At Urban Mews, we combined decades of experience and expertise in community development, architecture and construction to design attractive, economic, and ecological garden homes and above-garage suites to meet the growing demand for such housing. Urban Mews homes can be disability friendly, they exceed all building and energy code requirements and are covered by government approved New Home Warranty,” says George Iligan, Designer at Urban Mews.

The Urban Mews team designs each home to their client’s individual liking and they take care of all municipal permitting and administrative tasks.

While these homes are still a relative novelty in Alberta, property owners are starting to realize that their backyards can serve a more practical purpose than just growing grass. Lukaszuk says that while multigenerational housing is a major market for Urban Mews, above-garage suites and garden homes in Edmonton can fetch as much as $1,600 in monthly rental revenue. That makes these homes great mortgage payment helpers for younger families or pension supplements for seniors.

Lukaszuk points out that building an above-garage suite or a garden home can be very quick and easy, if a dedicated, experienced and reputable builder is selected.

“At Urban Mews we realize that we are building in our clients’ backyards, which means that we must be respectful of their neighbours and existing trees and landscaping,” he noted. “There is no need to have months of noisy construction in your backyard.”

Here’s another statistic to leave you with. More than 60% of those working and caring for an older person, while still having children at home, felt that caring for a senior was simply giving back what they had received, and 70% stated that their family relationship was strengthened. You are given piece of mind that your loved ones are close and being well taken care of. Urban Mews homes allow families to remain together in the same yard – mere steps away, but with the privacy you desire.

“Whether it’s for your parents, for your teenagers, for rent or simply a guest house or a quiet place to pursue your hobby, this Spring, now that the snow is finally gone, you may view your backyard a little differently. You now have options that you didn’t have before,” concluded Lukaszuk.

“If you’re curious to see some of Urban Mews completed Garden Homes, our team will gladly show you some of the already constructed homes in the Edmonton region. Contact us at 780-428-7778 or email

1 Comment on "Garden Homes – an affordable option for the sandwich generation"

  1. Mike clarke | May 18, 2019 at 9:18 am | Reply

    I am interested in seeing some of the options that are available. Wednesdays and Saturdays are the best days for myself.

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