North, south, east or west? Which is best?
Well, you may have noticed that estate agents and sellers love to flag up ‘a nice south-facing garden.’ So much so in fact, that most first-time buyers by default seem to know that south means good – but might not be sure why. You may find yourself asking what direction a garden or a terrace faces, without really knowing what the answer really means.
If you’re bemused by the whole ‘what’s the best aspect’ debacle, here’s our quick guide to gardens and the ways they face.
Typically, a south-facing garden means more sunshine and light and therefore, a more blooming, flowering garden for you. Although the UK’s not known for its baking heat, a south facing aspect can also help ensure your bricks and mortar get some natural warmth from the sun’s rays. However, if you’re planning a conservatory/glazed extension to your home – a south facing glazed room could be pretty unpleasant and stuffy in the warm summer months, so beware.
But overall, a south-facing garden (particularly south westerly facing) should give you the the most out of the UK’s summer sun. South-facing gardens are normally the most coveted by buyers, so you may find this to be a good selling point in the future, when it’s time for you to move on.
With west-facing gardens, you’ll typically get the sunshine all the way into the afternoon and evening – so there’ll be time for a nice G & T on the patio after work! West-facing usually gives you sun into the later hours. East-facing gardens on the other hand, can still be sunny but you’ll probably lose the sunshine towards the late afternoon/early evening – maybe even earlier. So if you plan to have long BBQs well into the balmy summer evenings with your friends, east-facing might not be the most ideal option.
Unfortunately, north-facing gardens are normally darker and less sunny than their southern counterparts. With that in mind, these gardens can sometimes become a bit damp and waterlogged as there’s little sunshine to dry out the soil. You might find some plants and flowers are tricky to grow in a north-facing garden – for example, a veg patch will probably lose the will to live. Of course, that’s not to say north-facing gardens can’t be very pleasant and occasionally get spots of sun. However, if you’re a green-fingered sun lover, a north facing aspect might be best avoided.
Getting it right
Large trees and buildings can obviously block out the sunshine whichever way you face, so always take a note of this when viewing a property. Equally, it may be more important to you that the garden is private and not overlooked – rather than being a sun trap. Make sure you have a good scout around a prospective garden…go right to the end, look over the wall, peer through the trees, look at it from different angles etc. You can get a compass app for i-phones and android phones, so it might be wise to download one before setting off on your house hunt!