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You might be wondering, what in the heck is a PIMBY? Well maybe you’ve heard of NIMBYs and YIMBYs, which mean “Not in my backyard” and “Yes in my backyard.” According to The Atlantic, “This type of thinking is the centerpiece of a progressivist movement called YIMBYism—referring to an abbreviation of “Yes In My Backyard”—which is increasingly notching successes in big cities. YIMBYs are a pointed contrast to NIMBYs, who are named for the phrase “Not In My Backyard,” a [derogatory] term for people who oppose development. This opposition grew, in many places, from a desire to keep populations down and property values up, but also as a way to perpetuate housing segregation. The developments that many didn’t want in their backyards were housing complexes that would have brought poor and minority families into more-affluent areas, in hopes of giving them access to better schools, jobs, and opportunities.” Amid the debate on housing development, a new idea is arising among adults who have parents nearing retirement age. PIMBY- standing for “Parents in my backyard” is a viable housing option for those looking for options to retire, while making the most cost-effective decision for their future. In this blog, we will explain what a PIMBY is in more detail, let you know the building materials available when constructing one, and more!

Many cities have varying laws regarding the building of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) which are known by many names: granny flats, in-law units, backyard cottages, secondary units and more. ADUs are an innovative, affordable, effective option for adding much-needed housing to a property with an existing structure. According to the California Department of Housing and Community Development, some benefits to using ADUs are:

  • Affordable type of home to construct 
  • Source of income for homeowners.
  • Built with cost-effective wood frame construction
  • Allow extended families to be near one another while maintaining privacy.
  • Can provide as much living space as many newly-built apartments and condominiums
  • Give homeowners the flexibility to share independent living areas with family members and others

After checking with your city and county regarding their policies around ADUs, you may be wondering what you’re options are for building this new structure in your backyard. Some things to keep in mind are using building materials that are long lasting, making them handicap accessible and making them feel as cozy as possible.

Long Lasting Building Materials

There are a few different types of ADUs that we usually see being constructed on properties. They are typically found above a detached garage, as a separate structure in the backyard, attached to the main home or a converted basement or attic. No matter the type of ADU you choose to build, use quality building materials to ensure it will last for the duration of your parents’ time with you. For example, choosing high quality cedar wood siding to insulate and protect the structure against wind, rot and termites will help preserve your ADU for years to come. If you are building any type of decking structure, make sure to choose an option that will last. Cedar, redwood or other exotic hardwoods will create a sense of luxury, while also lasting a long time. If you want something that will not require any maintenance or upkeep, consider using composite decking. The only maintenance needed for composite decks is generally to sweep it off and spray it off. 

Making your ADU Handicap Accessible

Your parents may not be at the age yet where you have to think about making the structure handicap accessible, but it’s smart to make those considerations now when you’re building so you don’t have to renovate later on. Make hallways and doors wider to at least 36 inches to make it easy to maneuver a wheelchair. Consider choosing to build an ADU on the ground level with a roll-in shower and a toilet that is compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines. There are other ADA standards to consider, but those are just a couple of them.

Make your Parents Feel at Home

Just because your parents are saving money and moving to be closer to family, does mean that they should not feel comfortable in their new home. Consider adding little touches like reclaimed siding, granite countertops or exposed beams to create a really trendy space. These building materials will be fairly cost-friendly because you don’t need a lot of material. A little goes a long way, when you’re talking about outfitting a smaller space. 

ADUs are an excellent way to care for our aging population in a way that benefits us all. Multi-generational living can be a beautiful thing and there are many options to have PIMBY happen for you. Make sure to build with long lasting building materials, install ADA friendly aspects of the home and don’t forget to design the structure in a way that makes your parents happy to move into this new chapter of their lives.