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What Is a Garden Apartment?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated May 16, 2024
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A garden apartment is a residential unit located at ground level on property that is usually landscaped. Although the term is often used loosely to describe any first floor apartment, including one in a high rise or basement, a true garden apartment has no household above it. These apartments are not vertically stacked, but rather horizontally spread out in an open area that may have a courtyard. Examples are found all over the world.

Many of these apartments have one or two bedrooms, but some may have three or even more. One rented for vacation use is furnished, while one rented out long-term is often unfurnished. There may be one or two stories to the apartment, and the entrance could be off of a street or a courtyard. The common garden area may include a swimming pool or other outdoor amenities, such as a basketball or tennis court. Some complexes have a clubhouse or spa.

Attractive apartments have well cared-for grounds with flowers and trees, and the owners of the property are responsible for the upkeep of the outdoor areas. If an area for dogs is included, then tenants are responsible for cleaning up after their pets. This is a general rule for when pets live in apartment complexes and what will often deter a landlord from selecting your application for a lease. If you're applying for a garden apartment unit and are afraid that your pet might get you disqualified consider submitting an emotional support animal letter to your landlord. Some garden apartments may include a small yard, but most have a patio. This can be a nice place to have a barbecue or outdoor meal or just enjoy some fresh air if the grounds are well maintained.

Although tenants share the main outside grounds and any amenities, each apartment is a separate household unit. For example, each has its own furnace and heat controls as well as kitchen and bathroom facilities. This may not be the case in some older units, though.

Many garden apartment complexes offer premium features like exercise rooms, conference rooms and other recreational facilities like swimming pools and saunas. Only some complexes have such features however; for example, only a handful of apartments in Denver offer swimming pools and even fewer have workout facilities.

A walk-up apartment is a type of garden apartment that has an outdoor staircase. The apartment may be located on top of a parking garage. Tenants often have a designated parking spot in the garage in which to park their vehicles. The parking places are likely to be numbered for easy identification.

HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By parmnparsley — On Jan 14, 2011

@ istria- For the most part, georgeplane is right. You will likely need to spend a lot of money for a newer garden park apartment. Space is at a premium, and people aren't exactly moving back to the countryside. You will also probably have to expect the properties to be larger, somewhat similar to a townhouse. At least this is the way it is in the city where I live.

By Georgesplane — On Jan 13, 2011

@ istria- for the most part, new corporate apartment and condominium developments are not going to be of the garden court apartment style, at least not within the city limits anyway. To find these you will likely need to look for older places. I live in Phoenix, and the only ones that I know of (I actually own a garden Condominium) are at least twenty years old, built before the big population boom. The places have character, but be weary of places that are not renovated. My place was almost all original when I bought it, and trying to get the HOA to install a more efficient HVAC unit than the 25-year-old dinosaur has been a pain. The efficiencies of this type of layout in an urban environment also makes for expensive HOA dues. I love the privacy and serenity, but there are definitely trade-offs.

By istria — On Jan 11, 2011

It seems like finding garden style apartments is becoming much harder these days. I just moved out west and I cannot find any nice new garden apartments anywhere. Almost all the places I have found are these stacked resort style apartment communities with thin walls and people on all sides.

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