Can You Put a Tiny House in Your Backyard?

Because these little homes are practical yet beautiful, tiny houses have become a massive trend over the last few years. But can you put a tiny house in your backyard? In most cases, it’s perfectly fine to do so. However, some rules and regulations may affect the way you go about building your tiny home. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about having a tiny house in your backyard.

By the way, if these types of articles interest you, you might like our article that goes over having a mobile home in your backyard.

Let’s get started!

Rules and Regulations

Because regulations and codes vary from state to state, you may have to do some research to find out if you can put a tiny house in your backyard where you live. It’ll also depend on the type of tiny house you want to build. 

However, you’ll typically only be met with resistance if your tiny home is the only one on the property. Even you’re building it in your backyard, it’s still a good idea to double-check with neighbors to make sure they’re okay with it.

To make your backyard more private around your tiny home, read this article.

Building Your Tiny House on a Foundation

A tiny house built on a foundation, simply put, is a miniature version of a normal house. 

The foundation is typically made of concrete and will usually be made with standard framing techniques. When a tiny house is built this way, it is going to be just as strong as your actual home.

Building a Tiny House as a Secondary Home

If you are looking to have a tiny house in your backyard, we assume that it will not be your primary residence. This makes a huge difference when it comes to rules and regulations. 

Because you’re adding a tiny home to the property you already own, you should have a much easier time and have little resistance from the government. 

Additionally, adding a tiny home to your backyard can actually increase the property value, which will make your neighbors happy.  

Advantages to Building Your Tiny House On a Foundation

  • Cost
  • Durability
  • Easier to build
  • Availability of materials

Building your tiny home on a foundation can be reasonably easy. Because it’s made with standard framing techniques, the electrical systems and plumbing will be the same as your standard home.

You can opt to build the home on or off-grid, but off-grid tiny houses tend to be easier to get set up. Since the home will be in one spot, you won’t have to worry about the weight of additions like water tanks or batteries. 

Because it won’t be moving from location to location, it will hold up for a more extended amount of time. It won’t be exposed to heavy winds or have to absorb the impact of driving on the road.

Between the higher longevity and availability of parts, tiny homes on foundations tend to be much less expensive. So if you’re on a budget, you may want to consider building your tiny house this way if the laws allow for it.

Disadvantages to Having a Tiny House On a Foundation

  • Mobility
  • Less individualized
  • Building codes

One of the main disadvantages of a tiny house built on a foundation is the fact that it cannot be moved.

It’s also possible you may have to comply with the local building codes, which may limit what you can do with your new tiny house. There are even some towns that have a minimum size requirement, which could prevent you from building one at all. 

Tiny Houses Without a Foundation 

There are two types of tiny houses that are built without foundations. One option is building a tiny house on wheels, and the other is a tiny home built within a pole barn.

Tiny Homes On Wheels

As the name suggests, tiny houses on wheels are built on top of trailers. These houses range anywhere from 10 feet and even over 40 feet long.

Tiny homes on wheels are pretty common and what many people refer to when they talk about a tiny house. There are even communities that are built to accommodate these tiny houses!

Advantages to Tiny Houses On Wheels

  • Mobility
  • Legality
  • Individuality
  • Resale value

Because the tiny home can move from place to place, the government considers them trailers rather than houses. This is a great option if your area doesn’t allow a tiny home to be built on a foundation. Since it’s considered a trailer, you won’t have to worry about dealing with local building codes.

Another plus side to having a tiny home on wheels is that you can take it with you when you travel! Many people will use a Uhaul truck to pull them and take them along for the ride.

Lastly, the resale value is more than a tiny home that is built on a foundation. You can enjoy living or keeping guests in your tiny house for free, and then make a profit if you decide to sell later on.

Disadvantages to Tiny Houses On Wheels

  • Towing
  • Maintenance
  • Cost
  • Build difficulty

With the tiny house being on a trailer, it will not have the same solid and reliable base as a tiny home on a foundation would. The trailer will rust, and tires can eventually dry-rot. Depending on how often the tiny house goes on travels with you, it’ll get wear and tear from wind and road conditions.

Building a tiny home on wheels is also a bit more complex. Firstly, it must be able to withstand conditions that you wouldn’t have to consider with a stationary home. In addition to that, the plumbing and electric will need to be hooked up similarly to a mobile home rather than a standard house.

You’ll also need to consider how you will tow your tiny house. For this, you’ll have to take into consideration the weight of the home as well as the tow rating of the vehicle you use.

Pole Barns

Pole barns are structures that are framed off of posts dug into the ground. Because these buildings don’t have foundations, they do not fall under the building codes the way other tiny houses do.

Advantages of Pole Barns

  • Cost
  • Easier to build

Not only are pole barns cheaper to build than a tiny house on wheels, but they’re cheaper to build than a home on a foundation. Another plus is that they’re easier to build as well.

Disadvantages of Pole Barns

  • Not as durable
  • Mobility

Similarly to a tiny house built on a foundation, pole barns lack mobility. However, unlike a tiny house on a foundation, pole barns are less durable.

Final Thoughts

The short answer is yes; you can put a tiny house in your backyard in most cases. However, you’ll have to check with your local government to fully understand all of the rules and regulations before doing so. There are different varieties of tiny houses, each with their own set of advantages and disadvantages.