Which Side Of Your House Gets The Most Sun? (Garden Tips)


In gardening and landscaping, the sun is a constant factor that needs to be taken into account. How much sunlight an area gets can make or break a garden. It’s important to know how to get more or less sun, especially for one’s own home. Naturally the question then arises: which side of your house gets the most sun?

The south side of a house in the northern hemisphere will see the most sunlight each day. In the southern hemisphere it will be the north side. The intensity of the sun’s exposure changes with the seasons as the earth tilts toward or away from the sun.

There is of course more to it than that. If there is something obstructing the sun from a particularly side of your house then it creates shadows. This in turns mean that there is less direct sunlight for plants and gardens. Where does this leave the east and west sides? So, how much direct sunlight does each side of a house get?

How Much Sun Does The North Side Of A House Get?

Knowing where the most sunlight hits your house can help you with gardening and taking care of plants across your property. The side of a home facing north, or a garden facing north, is generally considered to have more shade. This begs the question: how much sun does the north side of a house get?

The north side of your house will get the majority of the sunlight in the southern hemisphere. However, in the northern hemisphere, the north side of the house will receives only a moderate amount of sun. This means more shade will be in those regions when facing north.

With plants and gardens, having them facing north might not be the best idea when in the northern hemisphere. There are plants that live specifically in more shady areas and will be a more applicable in those instances.

Yet, one thing to take into account is that these are more generalities. Individual plants, soils, and even growing regions can have an impact or garden and flower bed placement.

It does really depend where you live. This will determine how much having less sunlight in the northern hemisphere will actually affect you and your house.

How can the North Side Be Beneficial For Gardens And Backyards?

For plants needing less sunshine, usually known as partial sun plants, spaces with a moderate amount of sunshine are perfect. If located somewhere in the northern hemisphere, then these types of plants when facing north can be in the perfect environment.

With backyards, some like more shade rather than being roasted alive by the sun (and yes, that’s the technical way of phrasing it). Sides of houses facing north are considered to be more shady, and rightly so if in the northern hemisphere, this makes it one of the best choices when wanting backyards with less sunlight.

Lounging, barbequing, and family gatherings are usually more comfortable in the shade.

How Much Sun Does A South Side Of A House Get?

If the north side of a house gets different levels of sunlight depending on which hemisphere it is in, does this apply to the south as well? How would this affect the amount of sun shining on your house?

The south side of a house will have the most sunlight compared to other orientations when in the northern hemisphere. If not, like along the equator or in the southern hemisphere, then the side of the house that faces south will have less sunlight throughout the day.

This means that those in the USA would benefit their garden, for the most part, by having the garden be on the south side of their house. Or, in other words, have their plants face south.

Benefits Of A South Facing Garden And Backyard

Plants known as “full sun” are a great option in situations where you get a lot of sunlight. Since as the name implies, they favor direct sunlight for the entirely of the day. Yet, not all plants want direct sun from sunrise to sunsets, so you’ll have to find those that do.

Vegetable gardens are a good choice as well as flower gardens in these areas. The trick is to water frequently, and keep down the weeds.

If facing south in the northern hemisphere does bring more sun, then it is a amazing combination to have “full sun” plants in your garden and/or backyard.

One thing to consider to, is that more sunshine doesn’t just help gardens and plants. It can also help with cognitive well-being. As is discussed in this study, by Environ Health.

This means that activities outside are a good choice for southern exposure. Yard games, sport areas, and swimming pools all are good choices for these spaces.

More sun can help make your backyard a more vibrate place. If your backyard happens to face south in the northern hemisphere then it can be a great activities gathering location for your family and friends.

However if you live near the equator or down in the south hemisphere then you’ll get no where near the same amount of sunlight for your garden and backyard if directed south. Those Aussies and Peruvians will want to choose the north facing side.

What Do People Commonly Think Regarding South Sides Of Houses And Sunlight?

If it is generally considered that facing north will get less direct sunlight, then what is the common consensus of a side of a house that faces south and the amount of sunlight attributed to it?

Facing south is often thought of as having more sunlight than the alternatives, or this is mainly the case when in the northern Hemisphere. Most homeowners think of it in terms of being overly hot for some activities.

Many house constructions will place windows on this side in the colder regions and refrain from doing so in warmer ones. This type of design helps with heating and cooling bills.

Since in the USA gardens are usually at their best when facing south, some then tend to believe that it might apply to all over the world. Due to the fact that the sun shines differently across the world, those in the southern hemisphere have the opposite experience.

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How Much Sun Does A East Side Of A House Get?

A east side of a house is generally thought as having less sunlight than other sides like north or south. Yet, is there any truth to this common opinion?

The east side of a house gets direct sunlight mainly during the mornings starting with the sunrise. When the day progresses, this side of a house will lose exposure as the Earth continues its orbit around the sun. This means that facing east will bring more shade later in the day.

Due to this, gardens and plants needing good amounts of sun, but less intense heat are the best choices when directed towards the east.

In the same way that the north and south directions have more or less sun when in different hemispheres, facing east or west has a somewhat similar case.

This can be seen along the equator though instead of in either of the two hemispheres. The east side of a house will receive the most sunlight because of how the sun rises over the equator.

When the sun rises from east and sets in the west, it goes directly over the roofs of those who live along the equator. This makes both the north and south sides of houses receive less sunlight than those facing east (or west).

Why do Early-Birds like facing East

They’re those who like to get up early in the morning (a concept revolting to a great many millennials) because that is how they like to enjoy their day. These individuals are commonly referred to as “Early-Birds”.

“Early-birds” tend to like it when their windows face east, particularly bedroom windows, because it gives them both wake up call and a beautiful view of the sunrise.

This is small example, yet no less relent to our topic, showing getting different amounts of Sunlight can help with more than gardening.

What is the benefit of East Facing Gardens?

If your choice of garden placement does not include the south side of a house, eastern facing areas are a good second choice. The direct, less intense sunlight of the mornings is enough for many vegetables and flowers.

They will be shielded from the early afternoon sun to and evening heat. Out of the four cardinal directions a southern facing vegetable garden is best, but an eastern facing one is a close second.

How Much Sun Does A West Side Of A House Get?

Like how the sides of houses in the direction of north and south have opposites amount of sun, so too is the difference in east and west. If the east generally brings sunlight in the morning then where would that leave the west side of houses?

The west side of a house gets most of its sunlight in the afternoons and evenings ending with the sunset. Earlier in the day, the side of a house facing west will not receive the same amount of sun. This makes shade from the sun in the early parts of the day and more direct sunlight later.

Along with facing east, plants and gardens facing west will need to be the type that won’t require a ton of direct sunlight. Sides of a house facing east or west in regards to how much sunlight they get is pretty much different sides of the same coin.

There is also another thing that you may want to keep in mind. If you are in a region that gets any amounts of morning dew, it will take a while longer for the west side of your yard to dry. This can effect not only garden placement, but also overall mowing start times. It is not a good idea to mow wet grass.

Likewise, the sides of a house oriented towards east or west both have more sun shining directly on them along the equator at different times of the day.

Why Do Sides Of Your House Have More Or Less Sun?

If the main contributing factor for different amounts of sunlight shining on a house is due to location, then why is that? Or essentially, why do sides of your house have more or less sun?

The Earth revolves around the sun with concentrations of the sun’s ray generally being along the middle of the planet, which is called the equator. If located along the equator the sun will be directly above. Whereas if above or below the equator, the sun will be at an angle.

From the way the Earth rotates around the sun, and tilts on its axis the northern and southern hemispheres will receive sunlight from different angles. This makes the different directions; north, south, east, and west all have varying degrees of direct sunlight due to the way the sun shines on the Earth.

As is talked about in this article from EarthSky, the Earth revolves not only around the sun, but on an axis. This makes it where the equator is actually a general line across the Earth than an exact mirror image of it’s movement.

The Final Touches On Which Side Of A House Gets The Most Sun…

We went over how much sun each side of house gets in relation to the directions that they faced. The location plays a big part in determining how much sun a particular side of a house gets.

To sum up the key points:

  • The north side of a house gets the most sun if in the southern hemisphere.
  • The south side of a house gets the most sun if in the northern hemisphere.
  • The east side of a house gets the most of it’s sun in the morning and early. Yet, along the equator facing east will have more sun that facing north or south.
  • The west side of a house gets the most of it’s sun in the afternoons and evenings. It can get more than facing north or south if located somewhere around the equator.

If you want to learn more about lawn care from some experenced grandpas then read some of my other articles!

Mathew Booe

Mathew has worked in landscaping professionally for over 10 years. He is a grandpa and frequently interviews other experienced landscapers and lawn care experts who are also grandpas for these articles.

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