Cottage Court


A group of small (1 to 1.5-story*), detached structures arranged around a shared court visible from the street. The shared court is an important community-enhancing element and unit entrances should be from the shared court. It replaces the function of a rear yard. Often rear-most building can be up to 2 stories.

Typical Specifications

Lot Front-loaded Alley-Loaded
Width* 115–160 feet 100–150 feet
Depth* 100–150 feet 100–150 feet
Area* 11,500-24,000 sq. ft. 10,000–22,500 sq. ft.
  0.26-0.55 acres 0.23–0.52 acres
Number of Units 5–10 5–10
Typical Unit Size 500–800 sq. ft. 500–800 sq. ft.
Net Density 13-38 du/acre 19–44 du/acre
Gross Density 10-20 du/acre 15–31 du/acre
Parking Ratio* 1-2 per unit 1-2 per unit
On-street Spaces 5-7 5-7
Off-street Spaces 1 per unit max. 1 per unit max.
Front* 10–25 feet
Side* 5–15 feet
Rear (main building)* 5–15 feet
Between Main and Accessory Buildings 5–10 feet
Building Size
Width 18–24 feet max.
Depth 24–36 feet max.
Height (to eave)* 12–18 feet max.
Floors 1-1.5 stories (Rear-most building sometimes 2 stories)
* Varies based on context

Idealized specifications take the best characteristics of this type and update them for today’s typical building standards, serving as a model for new development.

Alley Loaded

Ideal Specifications

Width 110 feet
Depth 150 feet
Area 16,500 sq. ft.
  0.4 acres
Number of Units 8 units
Typical Unit Size 840 sq. ft.
Net Density 21 du/acre
Gross Density 16 du/acre
Parking Ratio 1.625 per unit
On-street Spaces 5
Off-street Spaces 1 per unit max.
Front 15 feet
Side 5 feet
Building Size
Width 24 feet
Depth 35 feet
Height (to eave) 15 feet
Floors 1 story

The following example(s) show this housing type documented as real-world examples as they exist today. NOTE: Documented examples may be not be up to today’s local building code standards. See the Idealized tab for up-to-date specifications in line with modern building standards.