Kitchener is committed to building a caring community and finding solutions to the affordable housing crisis. Today, the City of Kitchener kicks off a first of its kind backyard homes competition.  

The Backyard Homes Design Competition invites participants to design a backyard home in Kitchener, while telling a story of who the home is for. It could be designed for a college graduate looking for their first home, a grandparent who is looking to downsize, or someone simply looking to live a minimalist lifestyle. 

"Kitchener is committed to building a caring, vibrant community, helping to ensure that as we grow, our community provides our residents with a range of housing choices that meet affordability and lifestyle needs," said Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic. “This innovative design competition is a great way to match-up the community’s enthusiasm for Council’s decision permitting backyard or tiny homes with the desire for great development that adds to the design and appeal of our community.” 

The competition is open to everyone in the community. Participants can choose one of four categories: youth, community, post-secondary student or professional. 

“We’re looking for creative ideas from the community. We invite architects, students, engineers, planners, designers, thinkers, companies, organizations and everyone interested in the mission of the competition to submit their creative backyard home ideas.” said Adam Clark, Urban Designer with the City of Kitchener.  

Entries will be expected to follow the City’s zoning criteria and consider user experience, affordability and sustainability while delivering high quality architecture and urban design. 

Backyard home submissions are being accepted until midnight on August 20, 2021.  Winners are expected to be announced later this fall. Winning submissions could win up to $2500 for their submission. 

Kitchener City Council recently approved a new zoning by-law amendment that allows for detached additional dwelling units – often called tiny homes or backyard homes – on qualifying properties. This new zoning by-law change allows a wide range of additional dwelling units including backyard homes, coach homes, laneway suites, tiny homes and more for those that meet the necessary requirements.   

Backyard homes help offer both an increase and wider range of options for affordable housing that support the City’s strategic plan goals of building a caring community and further implementing Kitchener’s Housing For All strategy.   

For more information including entry requirements and how to enter, visit


For more information:  
Shawn Falcao 
Manager, Corporate Communication 

Adam Clark 
Urban Designer