Not everyone has a backyard, but the people who do may not recognize the untapped potential on their property. Typically, we buy the house that fits all of our specific needs – that is, if we can afford it. Some of these needs may include a game room, "man cave," an office, a work out room, a library, a wine parlour, and more. One is are “supposed” to buy a house that can provide any number of those needs. Unfortunately, the case for most people is that they cannot buy a house that offers them that luxury (or they want the luxury only long after they’ve bought the house).

The question now is this: what can you do if you have the means to obtain the luxury room you want, but don’t have space for it? Surely, the answer is not to build an extra room onto the house you already have. Instead, the answer lies in the backyard.

Think about it for a minute. What need does a backyard fill? Sure, all of us who want to be gardeners or amateur botanists might find many uses for a backyard, but what about everyone else? Now that I think about it, I’ve never seen a backyard used for much more than a storage space or an open area for a dog to run around in. Sure, another use for a backyard could be to have a tasty BBQ in, but you can invite friends and family for nice cookout in the backyard at most a couple of times a year, on New Years or the 4th of July. So, we are left with a wide open space that is hardly ever used except for by dogs and people who are more social than most. If you’re not a dog, or a terribly social person, then what utility can you find in a backyard? Fortunately for you, someone has already come up with an answer to your dilemma.

A relatively-new startup, Cover has raised over $1.6 million in funding to create a service that allows you to design your own "in-law unit," which is a a living space completely detached from the home. Cover seeks to provide a way for people to design their own in-law unit without the help of an architect or contractor, using a software that helps the user go through the process of legally adding an in-law unit on their property.

The CEO of Cover Technologies Inc. states that Cover’s mission is to “make well-designed and energy-efficient housing affordable and accessible.” The software Cover uses helps the consumer custom-design their living space and shows them what kind of “livable shed” they’re allowed to have on their property according to local regulations. It also takes them through a survey that weeds out exactly what they are looking for in an in-law unit. The survey is comprised of 50 to 100 questions that ask about the land they're planning to use, as well as exactly what they plan to use that new living space for. Other companies that provide this service usually allow people to look through a list of pre-designed living spaces; Cover does it differently, by using a software that utilizes “machine learning and methods borrowed from aerospace and automotive industries.”

Cover’s website says it best: “Every Cover Backyard Studio is uniquely tailored to your needs and property, so we'll work with you to design the perfect one. You'll receive a detailed design with complete pricing information... We've cut out all the middlemen of traditional construction and work directly with the best suppliers. This results in the highest quality construction at an unmatched cost.”

Now, all of that space in your backyard that you hardly use can host an extra living space that is designed exactly the way you want it. Cover allows you to custom make the living space of your dreams in the form of an in-law unit that skips the tedious process of having to get an opinion for an architect or contractor. Of course, you’ll have to make sure that you're well within the regulations of the area you live in, but with the help of Cover, you should have no problem on that count.