Most of us like a sunny garden, it looks nice and bright and sunshine always makes us feel better, but apart from that does it really matter which way the garden faces?
Yes it does, because it’ll help you to plan your garden and take control.
Knowing this simple fact will help you with decisions like where to position your patio, depending on your preference for sitting in sun or shade. You can create your own shade with a pergola if your garden is very sunny with little natural shade. After all, sitting in the garden and enjoying it is one of the best things about having a garden.
When you shop for plants you’ll be confident that if you need shade tolerant ones you’ll avoid the roses and lavender and head straight for cool green ferns, hellebores and any appropriate plants with white flowers, because they’ll sing out in shade. White reflects light beautifully, you could paint a wall white or use pale furniture to the same effect. You do need a bit of steely determination not to go off-piste and buy unsuitable plants , because you know really, that however much you want it to thrive, lavender will not be happy in shade and will eventually need replacing.
- a north facing wall is shady
- south facing ones have sun for most of the day
- west facing walls get shade in the morning and sun in the afternoon
- an east facing one has morning sun.
Remember to take into account any surrounding buildings and trees because they can blot the light out of your garden.
If you’re not sure which way your garden faces, just remember that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, so if you’re facing the sun as it comes up (east), then north is on your left.
By the way, I love the composition of plants in the top photo, there’s such a lovely contrast of leaf shapes and textures.
Think like a designer and use this information to help you plan your garden so that it flourishes in the long term.
Photos taken by Jill Anderson.
Beth Chatto garden
RHS Hampton Court Flower Show