Has your property search led you to the perfect new house, but one that has a north-east facing garden. If so, you may be asking should you buy it? Is a house with north east facing garden a compromise too far?
So should you buy a house with a north east facing garden? You should only buy a house with a north east facing garden if you love the house and you’re happy that the back of the house will be in shade and cool for most of the day. When the sun is at midday the property will create a shadow across the back of the house and immediate garden and patio area.
What is meant by north east facing garden or yard?
A north east facing garden means if you stand at your back door and look straight out to your garden you’ll be facing north east. Where north east is the mid-point between two points on a compass ‘North‘ and ‘East‘.
Does a north east facing garden get sun?
A house with a north east facing garden will get sunlight first thing in the morning when the sun rises in the east. But a north east facing garden will also get sunshine towards the bottom of the garden in the summer months during the day too.
However, in the winter months, those houses with short north east facing gardens won’t get any sunshine from just before midday onwards. But bungalows may be lucky to get sunlight towards the back of the garden as the property is lower.
North east facing garden sun diagram
The above north east facing garden sun diagram shows the shadow the sun will create in a north east facing garden at midday. This is caused by the house blocking the sunlight.
If your garden is long enough, you will have a strip of garden that will still receive sunlight. This is marked on the above north east facing garden sun diagram as “Bottom of Garden in Sunlight”.
From the above diagram, you will note that the morning sun, which is to the east of the garden, won’t cause the house to cast a shadow over the garden. This is unless there are other obstructions.
Obstructions like fences, trees, hedges or neighbouring houses between your garden and the sun’s rays on the eastern boundary of the your property. Or as the sun tracks south it will be on the south east fence boundary, which is marked on the diagram above. The eastern boundary is to the top right corner of the above north facing garden sun diagram.
But it’s at the point when the sun reaches the third sun image below the sun rise position in the above diagram when a shadow will begin to appear. This shadow will be caused by the house. The north east facing garden sun diagram above shows how the shadow will appear at midday.
Afternoon sun in a north east facing garden diagram
After midday the sun will begin to fall from its high. It is at this point in its track when the sun will begin to come to the front of the house. But at midday the sun is on the south corner of the house.
It is from this point forward when the garden is likely to be in shadow. Somewhere between the Early afternoon sun and Late afternoon sun (as per the above Afternoon Sun In A North East Facing Garden Diagram), the sun will be directly in front of the house.
Depending on the time of the year and how high the sun is in the sky, will affect how much of a north east facing garden will be in shadow. During the summer months the sun is high in the sky and the shadow will be small. But the rear of the house and immediate garden will be in shadow.
However, in the winter the sun will be much lower in the sky. Therefore, depending on the length of the north east facing garden will affect how much of the garden will have sunlight. But for short gardens it is likely the whole garden will be in shadow at this time of day.
Northern hemisphere vs southern hemisphere solar noon
In the Northern Hemisphere (which is north of the Tropic of Cancer) the sun is due south as seen by the observer at solar noon. But in the Southern Hemisphere (i.e. south of the Tropic of Capricorn) it is due north.
If you didn’t know, countries like the UK, USA, Canada and the whole of Europe are all in the Northern Hemisphere. Whereas, countries including Australia and New Zealand are in the Southern Hemisphere.
Are there benefits to have a bungalow with a north east facing garden?
The benefit of having a bungalow with a north east facing garden is the reduced height of the property. Therefore a bungalow with a north east facing garden is a better property to have if you decide to buy a house where the back of the bungalow faces north east.
If the property is a bungalow the shadow will be a smaller area. This means the “Bottom of Garden in Sunlight” of a bungalow with a north east facing garden will be larger. Or in other words you have more garden getting sunlight.
What are the disadvantages of a north east facing garden – how bad are they?
There are a number of disadvantages of a north east facing garden to consider. These are as follows:
- The back of the property will be in shade for most of the day.
- The rooms you use the most tend to be at the rear of the house. In a house with a north east facing garden these will be dark and devoid of sunlight. Except for first thing in the morning.
- North east facing gardens in the summer won’t be too bad. But in the winter when the sun is low in the sky this is the worst time. The worst case scenario is if the garden is short. What will make this worse is if you have a two storey house or higher. In which case your garden won’t get any sunlight in the winter. This will be a problem for the grass.
- You may struggle to grow a decent lawn. This is unless you use a grass mix that likes the shade. Even then you may struggle.
- You’ll have a moss problem on your lawn. Moss loves wet shady conditions to grow.
- You’ll find that nothing except moss and the hardiest plants and shrubs survive nearer the house.
- North east facing gardens with clay soil will struggle to dry out after heavy downpours. This is because without the sun and evaporation the ground quickly becomes water logged.
- You cannot grow plants and flowers that like the sunlight. This especially includes fruit and vegetables which need lots of sunshine.
- You get a build up of algae on the south side of the garden and on the house as it’s in the shade.
- In the winter the back of the house will feel very cold.
- The rear patios will go green very quickly with algae and moss.
- Not ideal if you have or want a swimming pool, as this will be in the shade and cooler than it would be in a south facing garden.
- If you love gardening, a north east facing garden isn’t perhaps as good as a south facing garden.
- On work days you may have to be content to sit out in the shade in the evening when you get home from work.
What are the advantages of a north east facing garden?
- If you are fair skinned you’ll enjoy the shade at the back of a house with a north east facing garden.
- The rooms in the front of the house will benefit from plenty of sunlight from early afternoon.
- The rooms at the rear of the house don’t get boiling hot in the summer.
- If you have a conservatory on the rear of the house, it won’t get unbearably hot in the summer.
- If you have children who you don’t want to play out in the sun, they will be able to play in the shade from midday onwards.
- Where you have a living room at the front of the house, this will get the sun during the afternoon.
- Your garden furniture and cushions are less likely to get sun-bleached.
Are houses with a north east facing garden worth less than houses with south facing gardens?
With all else being equal, the value of a house with a north east facing garden will be lower than that for an identical house in the same location with a South-facing garden.
This is because houses with south facing gardens tend to be more popular than houses with north east facing gardens.
Will you regret buying a house with a north east facing garden?
You won’t necessarily regret buying a house with a north east facing garden if the garden is long enough. This is because you’ll get sunlight across most of the garden for most of the day in the summer months. You might want to build your patio and barbeque area at the bottom of the garden instead of next to the house.
You may regret your purchase if you love bright sunlight. Your rooms at the rear will be dark and gloomy. So you won’t like this and you may live to regret your purchase. And remember you can change virtually anything about a house except it’s position. Unless of course you knock it down and start again that is!
I always recommend you visit a property at least twice before making an offer. Make sure to visit the property at different times of the day too, especially if you’re worried about light entering the rooms. To be sure of what sunlight the garden gets, you should visit the property early to mid-afternoon time.
You should also take a read of this article about whether you should view again before exchange. In this article you can read about why it’s a good idea to do this.
Conclusion to should you buy a house with a north east facing garden
If you are keen on the house you’ve found, but not sure about the fact it has a north facing garden, you should arrange further viewings to see the house at different times in the day. You should visit around early afternoon to see where the sun hits the garden.
But also, view the rooms at the rear of the house at this time of day to see how you will cope with the darkness of the rooms on this side of the house.
Buying a house is a massive commitment. You don’t want to regret your decision after you moved in. Take your time to decide, as you may live in the house for a very long time. You want to be happy. And remember “act in haste” and you’ll “repent at leisure.”
If you are a keen gardener, a north east facing garden may not be the right choice. Also, if you are a sun-lover, you probably won’t suit a north east facing garden either.
So whilst compromise plays a part in choosing any home, if you love sunlight this is the thing you should not compromise on.
You might also want to compare this article with buying a house with a north facing garden too. Many who have a choice would prefer a north facing garden to a north east facing garden.
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