Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

What is an ADU and Why You Should Care

ADU stands for Accessory Dwelling Unit and they might just be your next edited home. You might know ADUs by their other, quasi-affectionate names such as granny-flats, mother-in-law-apartments and so on. They are dwellings–either attached or detached from a main house–that exist on a lot with another house. Many ADUs are buit above garages such as the one pictured above.

ADUs have myriad benefits such as:

  • Creating a secondary rental income.
  • Increasing the occupancy of a given plot of land.
  • Creating more communal living, while still providing autonomy and privacy for both homes.
  • People who may have once needed a large home–e.g. parents whose children have moved out–can move into the ADU and rent out the main home.

ADUs are not lean-to’s; they are real homes that require building permits and some investment. A great resource is, which goes into the ins-and-outs of ADU construction, financing, zoning for every state and other issues.


For those looking to install an ADU on their property, but who don’t want the headache of designing a custom home, there are many prefabricated options like the model above by Blu Homes.

What’s great about ADUs is that they provide a way of optimizing traditional the American home, whose lot size is often considerably larger than its home. We realize many people who want to live an edited life live in traditional American homes; moreover they neither want to move into a micro apartment in the city or a tiny house in the country. The ADU provides a great way of working with existing resources, while providing extra income, increasing the efficiency of a property and creating a more community-oriented lifestyle.

Do you have experiences living or building an ADU? Tell us about it.

Top picture by Pete Sloutos, courtesy of Peter Brachvogel, BC&J Architects

  • Pingback: ADU- A quick explaination by LifeEdited | ADU: A Design Undertaking()

  • brydanger

    Stumbled over lifedited some time ago and enjoy checking in from time to time.

    We are currently creating an ADU in our attached garage. We have already edited our lives (to live with less and enjoy more)…
    our primary struggle has been to figure out was how to live affordably and still have a nice (tiny) home to live in.

    The ADU plan is so simple i cant believe we hadn’t thought of it before!
    We were already renting our home as part of our cost savings plan. Now, as soon as construction is complete we will move in to the garage, continue renting the home and essentially be living in our perfect neighborhood rent and mortgage free.

    If i can help contribute to lifeedited and its readers in any way let me know!

  • David B

    Went over to BluHomes.Com – just to be clear these homes are not cheap and are not competitive. Depending on land and site costs you are talking about sinking well over $1Million and upwards for these homes. I know for a fact that a competent local contractor can get you more house, built better, for less money. My guess is that the will be out of business soon.How about some ideas for the 99%

  • BuckRogers

    A 2nd home in a garage works if your rent value is already low. If you have a premium home in a good area this is a bad idea. No one wants others living in the renovated garage. Chicanos or hoodrats can pull this off, otherwise may want to check with potential renters in your area if they’ll pay full price to rent your home with you living in the garage that would otherwise be for them.

    • Kc sandypants

      Hey buck Rogers, I agree about the Chicanos and the hood rats but it tends to be mostly the white trash not unlike yourself.

      • BuckRogers

        Im not white. You racist POS.