Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I select a YardPod rather than a competitor’s product?2023-08-12T14:21:06-07:00


If you want a drafty “shed” that is too hot in summer, too cold in winter and which will rot in a few years, buy a shed from your local hardware store. However, if you want a high quality comfortable office or studio that may be tax-deductible as a home office, and which will enhance your property, select a YardPod.


All materials recommended for use in YardPods are selected to be as sustainable as possible. We recommend bamboo flooring and recycled insulation with excellent thermal and acoustic properties. We offer cool roofs which reflect the sun and we offer highly insulated doors and windows.


YardPods offer the best value. Compare with an equivalent site-built room which can cost $50,000 or more.


We design and operate the business out of San Rafael. In addition, we have a network of Partner-Builders to provide local construction services. Support your local businesses!

How do I get a YardPod?2023-08-12T14:23:54-07:00
  • Before starting, please call or visit your local Planning Department and  check whether or not there are any restrictions on building on your site and whether or not you will need any permits. You will also need to determine the setbacks from your property lines. You can do this yourself, or we can do it for you with our YardPod Site Plan.
  • In most areas, you can build a detached structure which is not for living in, up to 120 sq ft in area. However, some authorities impose stricter conditions by limiting the size and/or the height.
  • Once you know what is possible, please get in touch with us to discuss your requirements.
  • There are two primary ways forward:
    • You can Do-It-Yourself, with or without help, or
    • You can hire a local contractor to build it for you.

Do-It-Yourself (DIY):

Hire a Local Contractor to build your YardPod:

    • First, purchase a YardPod Construction Drawing Set from YardPods.com, or have us prepare a Custom YardPod Construction Drawing Set for you.
    • Select a short-list of licensed contractors and invite them to submit a quotation. If you do not have favorites, we can help you to find them.
    • Review the price quotes and contracts, ask whatever questions you have, select one, sign the order form and arrange payments.
    • The builder will commence work on an agreed schedule.
How long does it take to get my YardPod?2023-08-12T14:25:59-07:00

The start time will depend on two factors: 1. The availability of the builder and 2. Lead times for windows a nd doors.   Normally Yardpods can be completed in about three weeks, from starting the foundation to handing over the keys.

Can I use my own design for a YardPod?2023-08-12T14:31:57-07:00

Yes. We are happy to work with you on your custom design,

We can use the design as-is, or we can modify it if required.

What kind of foundation do I need?2023-08-12T14:39:00-07:00

We recommend building YardPods on concrete piers or a concrete slab. Piers will be required if the site is sloping. Piers are normally cheaper than a concrete slab.

Can I have a larger (than 10×12) YardPod?2023-08-12T14:28:50-07:00

Yes, we are happy to work with you on a Custom Design. However, Planning & Building Permits will normally be required on larger YardPods. YardPods can work with an external consultant to prepare and submit Permit Documents.

Can I include a bathroom or kitchen?2023-08-12T14:36:41-07:00

Buildings with Bathrooms and Kitchens need permits, both Planning and Building.  We recommend that you hire a local architect for such projects. Note that the permit process will typical double the cost of the building.

Do I need a permit?2023-08-12T14:34:23-07:00

Each authority has its own set of regulations. It is the responsibility of the owner to verify whether or not permits are required. Generally, you will not need a permit if you comply with planning setbacks and stay within 120 sq.ft. because such YardPods are defined as “Detached Accessory Structures.” Primary use must be for storage, as a “playroom” or similar.

Note that some areas have their own regulations for buildings not requiring permits:

  • The City and County of San Francisco limits building like YardPods to 100 square feet, measured at the roof level, and a maximum height of 8feet above grade.
  • The Cities of San Rafael and San Jose want to review all buildings of all sizes.
  • The City of San Anselmo restricts buildings to 8ft above grade.

A permit for electricity can usually be obtained over the counter at your local authority, without triggering the need for a building permit.

Please note that YardPods does not develop permit drawing or applications.  Instead, we use Consultants hired by the owner.

Does a YardPod come with heating and/or cooling?2023-08-12T14:37:59-07:00

YardPods are typically well-insulated and we recommend a cool roof membrane which reflects a lot of sunlight, but all buildings will revert to the outside ambient temperature when not heated or cooled. For heating, we recommend a small electrical space heater. For air conditioning, a wall-mounted unit is good, but a Mini-Split System is best. We have recommendations for the best, most widely-available units.

Do you offer Auxiliary Dwelling Units (ADU’s), “Granny Units” or other small homes?2023-08-12T14:40:39-07:00

We are not working on ADUs this year, instead, we are focusing on Home Offices and Studios.

Please call or send a message to discuss your requirements.

Use our expertise for proven quality designs, how-to guidance, and to eliminate costly fees, time delays, and local government bureaucracy.

Call (415) 258-8282

Or send us your question, we will be happy to answer.


We will never share your information with a third party.

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