What is a Garden-Style Apartment?

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You may hear people use the term garden-style apartment, but what exactly does this mean?

What is a Garden-Style Apartment?

A garden-style apartment refers to a type of a specific type of low-rise apartment building (garden) complex that can be one, two, or three stories in height.

Unlike a hotel which usually has long interior hallways, garden-style apartments usually are in buildings that have 4, 6 or even 8 units. The benefit of this is that residents usually enjoy a direct private entrance into their apartment, or a shared entrance with only a few other families.

Types of Garden Style Apartments

While not really characterized formally with terminology, we think it is helpful to share 3 different types of garden style buildings:  exterior stair walk ups (breezeways are exposed to weather),  interior stair walk up (covered), hybrid of interior and exterior.

Exterior stair walk ups (breezeways are exposed to weather),

These are the types of buildings where you often walk up steps. Usually the roof provides coverage to rain from above during part of the walk but one or more sides are exposed as breezeways.

Interior Stair Walk Up (covered)

These are buildings where you walk into a small common entrance. Once inside the entrance, you are completely protected by weather elements and can walk directly into your apartment.

Hybrid of Interior and Exterior

Usually in this set up, you have private entrance apartments on the ground floor, and a separate entrance that provides access to a small common entrance.

Again, these are terminologies not generally thought of by others, but we thought it was helpful to characterize them as such for our readers who may see different building types and be curious.

What is a Garden-Style Different From?

This is in contrast to a mid-rise (about 4 to 11 stories), high-rise (over 12 stories), or even a small 3 story low rise.

If there is a small 3 story building, but with large internal hallway and potentially an elevator, this would typically not be a garden-style apartment, and rather just a low rise.

Key Advantages and Disadvantages Summary

The main advantage for residents are: ease of access in and out, ample parking, green space, and generally amenities.

Possible disadvantages of this outdoor / garden-style apartments are exposure to weather elements (i.e. requiring residents walking outside to take trash) or the spread out nature of these communities (further from amenities).

Quick Summary Video (if you prefer), and then keep reading

Pros of Garden Style Living

landscaping apartment complex

The exact definition of a garden-style apartment is not too important and some people may have slightly different definitions. The possible benefits however, are worth noting:

  • Easy access. When you wake up in the morning, you usually don’t have to travel very far to get to your car (assuming the building has good on-site parking).
  • More spread out from your neighbors. Most of the garden-style buildings are generally more spread out as opposed to a mid or high rise.
  • Lots of greenery. By definition, because they are outside, many garden-style communities are characterized by green space. A good management company keeps this greenery, flowers, and landscaping looking beautiful. Oftentimes, there are interior courtyards.
  • Amenities on-site. Because of their space, many garden-style complexes have amenities like a clubhouse and pool.
  • Private Entrance Possibility – With garden style apartment, you have the possibility of private entrances where you can walk directly into your apartment home.
  • Surface ParkingTypically, in garden style apartment, you have surface parking spots, as opposed to garage parking

There are advantages and disadvantages to different building types, but it’s also a personal decision and one that’s going to vary depending on your options and preferences.

What are some drawbacks of garden-style apartments?

  • Weather Elements – lack of protection from weather elements (i.e. need to go outside to take out trash usually)
  • More Spread Out – more spread out campus (i.e. amenities could be on the opposite side of where you reside)
  • Surface parking – you do not usually get garage parking with a garden-style apartment which some people prefer
  • No Elevator – Most garden style apartments do not have elevators, and you likely need to take the stairs, or opt for first floor apartment

Are Garden Style Apartments Nice?

which apartment floor to live on

Yes, Garden Style Apartments can be very nice. In fact, it is possible for garden style apartments to be built with an equal amenity package (if not superior) to mid and high-rise buildings.  The better question to ask is what makes a good apartment building.

Are Garden Style Apartments Cheaper?

Park Place One Apartments property exterior

Not necessarily. You need to consider location, size of the units, amenities offered, quality of upkeep, and so on.

In general though, because garden-style apartments tend to be on the outskirts of major cities, all things being equal, they tend to offer cheaper rents than the downtown urban core.

Do Garden Style Apartments Have an Elevator?

Most garden-style apartments are walk-ups with exterior staircases. These staircases are usually open to weather elements, but some staircases are partially covered. An elevator is not typically found in garden-style apartment.

What Makes Great Garden-Style Apartment?

At the end of the day, if you are searching to live in a garden-style apartment, you care less about the definition and more about the lifestyle.

You’ll want to make sure the apartment has good bones (great sound control, quality windows, open floor plan), and also that it has the features you want (dishwasher, balcony, washer/dryer, sound controlled walls, closets), but also new improvements.

Innovative garden-style apartment managers will offer modern-day features like video intercoms, digital fob access control, and other great features that can enhance lifestyle.

Final Thoughts

At Fidelity Management, we have lots of garden-style apartments to choose from including Ambassador I and Park Place One Apartments. As owners, operators, and developers we can say that garden-style apartments as we know them today became popular probably around the mid 1970s and have remained a popular choice to this day due to the strong benefits of garden-style apartments outlined in this blog.


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