Has your property search led you to the perfect new house, and one that has a south facing garden? If so, you may be asking should you buy it? Is a house with a south facing garden a good buy?
So should you buy a house with a south facing garden? If you buy a house with a south facing garden in the northern hemisphere the back of the house will enjoy sunlight for most of the day. The back garden will be drenched in sunshine for most of the day. Some homebuyers are willing to pay over £32,000 more for a south-facing garden.
Side note: This article is written for those living in the northern hemisphere. This includes the UK, North America and Europe. But if you live in the southern Hemisphere, like Australia and New Zealand, substitute south for north. In the southern hemisphere the sun still rises in the east. But the sun tracts around the sky to the north instead of to the south.
What is meant by south facing garden or yard?
A south facing garden means if you stand in the back garden with your back to the house looking to the bottom of the garden, you’ll be facing due south. To check if your garden is south-facing you’ll need a compass.
To check the direction of your garden, download a compass app on your your smartphone. With the compass app open, point your phone towards the bottom of the garden.
If the garden is south-facing, the compass dial will be pointing south or 180° (as per the above image). This image was taken using an app called “Compass“.
Does a south facing garden get sun?
A house with a south facing garden will enjoy the sun for pretty much all day, subject to what obstacles are in the way that may block the sun as it tracks around in the sky.
A south-facing garden will get full sunlight from first thing in the morning when the sun rises in the east, throughout the day and until it sets in the west.
Please note: The above applies if you live in the northern hemisphere. However, if you live in the southern hemisphere, like Australia, New Zealand or similar, replace ‘south’ with ‘north’.
How much sun a south facing garden gets during the day depends on what obstacles are in the way. Obstacles include other houses and tall trees.
The shadows to the left of a south facing garden (i.e. to the east) are affected by the height of any obstacles on this side of the garden. Whereas shadows to the right of a south-facing garden (i.e. to the west) will be affected by any obstacles on this side.
But unless there are some very tall trees or buildings at the bottom of a south facing garden, it’s unlikely that these will cut out the sun at midday.
But in the winter months, when the sun is lower in the sky, there is more chance that if an obstacle is high enough (like very tall trees) these may block the sun at midday.
South facing garden sunlight sun diagram
The above south facing garden sun diagram shows the shadow the sun will create in a south facing garden at midday. This is caused by the house blocking the sunlight.
This means the front-side of the house will be in shade (i.e. the north side).
At midday the whole of the back garden will be in sunlight.
Pros and cons of south facing house?
Despite the fact there appear to be more cons vs pros of a house with a south-facing garden, you’ll also read below how some homebuyers are willing to pay more for the privilege of south-facing gardens.
What are the benefits of a south facing garden?
They say that a house with a “south-facing garden” commands a higher price and are in higher demand when compared other gardens (see below).
- The rooms to the rear of the house will be bright with sunlight for the majority of the day.
- Estate agents often consider south-facing gardens to be one of the best aspects, followed by west-facing gardens. (with this in mind, you may be interested to read this article to discover if ‘west is best‘).
- South facing gardens are very warm.
- Houses with south-facing gardens are great for sun-lovers and for sun-bathing.
- South facing gardens are good for growing plants that love sunshine.
- South facing gardens are good for lawns.
- Your patios and decking will stay clearer from algae.
- South-facing gardens are less prone to have lawns with moss.
- South-facing gardens are easier to sell and command a higher price.
What are the disadvantages of a south-facing garden?
- Rooms at the back of a house with a south-facing garden can get very hot during the day, especially at midday in the summer.
- Conservatories on the back of a house with a south facing garden will get very hot in the summer months. This will even be the case on sunny spring days too.
- The front garden will be in the shade for most of the day.
- Rooms at the front of a house will be dark and in the shade and cooler.
- The front of the house and driveway will be damper and more prone to moss.
- Tall obstacles to the left of the house (i.e. to the east) may block the morning sun. This is especially the case in the winter months.
- Tall obstacles to the right of the house (i.e. to the west) may block the evening sun. This is especially the case in the winter months.
- Depending on what’s at the bottom of the garden (i.e. tall trees or houses), the midday sun can be over-powering.
- Garden furniture and other garden items may become sun-bleached due to excessive sunshine.
- If you’re fair-skinned you may not like a south-facing garden due to how much sunlight it gets.
- If you have children you may not want them to play in the garden until late afternoon when the sun is not as strong.
- South-facing gardens are more expensive to buy.
What will help you to decide if a south facing garden is right for you?
The best way to decide if a south facing garden is right for you is to view the property at different times of the day.
You should at least walk past the property at different times to see how much sunlight hits the garden. If the vendors are keen to sell, they should be willing to oblige if you ask them to visit the property more than once.
In fact this article about viewing a property again before you you buy would be worth a read. If you explain your concerns about checking how the sunlight hits the garden, they should understand.
Do south facing gardens get evening sun?
If your garden is south-facing your righthand boundary will face west and will get the evening sun, so long as there are no significant or high obstacles to block the sunlight. You will also get plenty of sunshine throughout the day and your lefthand boundary is east-facing so will get morning sun too.
Will a sun app help you decide if a south facing garden is the right choice?
Having a sun app may also help you decide if a south facing garden is good or bad. You can download the app on your smartphone. The one I use is “Sun Position and Path“.
The above screen shot was taken from the Sun Position and Path app. Included on the sun position screen is the following information:
- Compass north, as marked on the above image to the top left.
- The sun’s rotation and daily position by hour for summer, which is indicated in red.
- The sun’s rotation and daily position by hour for winter, which is indicated in blue.
- Orange indicates the sun’s rotation and daily position by hour for the time of year you view the app.
- Your position will be indicated on the screen with a blue dot. But you can position the map anywhere you like, as I’ve done in the above screenshot. When you first open the app, it will position the cross of the lines exactly over your current position.
Alternative apps include “Mr Sun” and “Light Trac” too, both of these apps are also free to download and use. Which apps are available to you will depend on whether your smartphone is Android or Apple.
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.
In the northern hemisphere the sun tracks round to the south. Whereas in the southern hemisphere the sun tracks round to the north.
For this article to make sense, you need to swap ‘South’ for ‘North’, as the sun at midday in a southern hemisphere garden will be in the north rather than in the south.
Does a south facing garden add value?
Nearly 75% percent of homebuyers are willing to pay 5% or £16,053 for a house with a south-facing garden. But 23% of homebuyers will pay up to 10% or £32,106 more for a south-facing garden. But in certain cases a smaller percentage of buyers would pay up to 20% more for a south-facing garden.
In the same survey included in an article in ‘This Is Money‘, the survey found that 71% of buyers are more likely to buy a house with a south-facing garden.
Are houses with south facing gardens more expensive?
From a search of 400,000 listings on Rightmove of three and four bedroom homes in the UK that have a south-facing garden, these were priced £22,695 higher on average than homes without a south-facing garden. This represents a 7% national asking price premium.
Final tips before you buy a house with a south facing garden
Before you buy a house with a south facing garden check what tall obstacles are to the left and right of the garden as you look towards the bottom of the back garden.
If the house is a new-build and you are buying off-plan check to see what houses will be built to the bottom of your back garden, which is to the south.
Please don’t forget to read this before you leave…
Please don’t forget to also read this article to discover how you could save £71,475 on your next mortgage if you sell your house and rent before buying again. As I said earlier, even I was amazed when I did the calculations!
But also, you should now read about whether you should buy a house with a north-facing garden too. You may be surprised to read the nine advantages of a north facing garden. Or also about buying a north-east facing garden too.
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