The Advantages of a South-Facing House and Garden
You’ll get more sunshine
The main advantage of a south-facing house or garden is the amount of sunlight you’ll enjoy. As the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, the south side of any house will see the most hours of sunlight during the day – especially in the Northern Hemisphere – so a south-facing garden takes advantage of this. If you like entertaining on a summer’s evening, or want as much natural light as possible in your living room, then a south-facing aspect may be a big consideration when choosing your new house.
You can grow more plantsIf you’re green-fingered, a south-facing house or garden is generally better for growing a bigger range of plants and flowers, although the soil will usually be drier so you’ll need to do more watering too. Sunny, dry borders are great for irises, tulips, petunias and sweet peas, along with crab apple trees and climbing roses, while fruits and vegetables that enjoy full sunshine include rhubarb, tomatoes, courgette and pumpkin.
What about north, east and west facing gardens?If your house or garden isn’t south-facing, all is not lost. In fact, there are benefits to all other orientations of gardens, depending on your preferences. Although north-facing gardens are usually fairly shady, temperatures will be more consistent, while east-facing gardens are sunnier in the morning and west-facing gardens enjoy more sunshine in the afternoons and evenings. If you’re more inclined to eat breakfast al-fresco than sitting in the garden after work, morning sunshine may be more important for you. During cooler, shadier hours you can always put up solar fairy lights, or invest in a garden heater or chimenea.
Although south-facing houses and gardens are usually desirable, there are other considerations to bear in mind. If there are houses or trees obscuring the sun, for example, you might not see the benefits of a southerly orientation as your garden will be shady regardless. Likewise, if the view is better from your house or garden when facing north, west or easterly, the advantages of a different orientation can outweigh the benefits of the additional sunlight.
If in doubt, make sure you do a drive-by of your new house at different times of day, so you can see which areas are sunny and which are shady in the morning, afternoon and evening. You could even use the compass app on your smartphone to see exactly which way the garden faces and get more of an understanding of how much light the property gets throughout the day.