Has your property search led you to the perfect new house, but one that has an east facing garden. If so, you may be asking should you buy it? Is a house with an east facing garden a good buy?
So should you buy a house with an east facing garden? If you buy a house with an east facing garden the back garden will enjoy the sunshine in the morning. The front garden will be drenched in sunshine the whole afternoon after 1pm and into the evening. The sun sets in the west so you’ll not be able to enjoy the evening sun in an east 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 east facing garden or yard?
An east 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 east. To check if your garden is east-facing you 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 it’s east-facing the compass dial will be pointing east or 90° (as per the above image). This image was taken using an app called “Compass“.
Does an east facing garden get sun?
A house with an east facing garden will enjoy the sun in the morning as the sun rises in the east. During the summer months the garden will probably get sun until around 4-4:30pm. The front garden of a house with an east face back garden will enjoy full sunshine from about 1pm onwards and into the evening.
How much sun an east facing garden gets towards the afternoon depends on what obstacles are in the way. Like other houses and tall trees. The shadows to the right (i.e. the south) of an east facing garden are affected by the height of any obstacles on this side of the garden.
In the winter months when the sun is lower in the sky, the amount of sunshine the back garden gets will be less. How much less will depend on the height of trees and houses to the south of the house. (i.e. to the right as you look towards the back garden).
East facing garden sun diagram
The above east facing garden sun diagram shows the shadow the sun will create in an east facing garden at midday. This is caused by the house casting a shadow and blocking the sunlight. This will be on the left-side of the house which will be in shade (i.e. the north side).
Until the sun passes midday the whole of the back garden will be in sunlight, as long as there are no tall trees in the way. But once the sun passes the midday point shadows will start to form in the back garden. These will in part be shadows formed by the house itself.
East facing garden sun hours
An east facing garden sun hours in the summer months will be from about 8:30am to 4:30pm which is eight hours. But the number of sun hours will be affected if the back garden is overshadowed by large trees. Also, for those east facing gardens with no houses or trees blocking the view, the garden will get more hours of sun, which will start earlier in the morning at sun rise.
In the winter months the number of hours will be less, as the sun is lower in the sky. The lower winter sun will be hidden behind the house itself earlier in the afternoon.
But the number of sun hours are affected by the height of the house. For example, if the house is a bungalow, the height of a bungalow is less than a two storey house. Therefore a bungalow will have less impact on the east facing back garden.
Pros and cons of an east facing garden
What are the benefits of an east facing garden?
- East facing gardens enjoy early morning to midday sunshine. But will also enjoy the afternoon sunshine in the summer months to around 4:30pm
- The rooms at the back of the house will be bright first thing in the morning. This is great if you like to wake up to sunshine.
- The rooms at the back of the house don’t get too hot as the midday sun is at the right side (i.e. south side) of the house. These back rooms will be cool for the rest of the afternoon.
- East facing back garden conservatories won’t get too hot as the sun at the hottest time of day will be at the front of the house.
- You’ll have a lovely bright kitchen in the morning with an east facing garden if the kitchen is at the back.
- Plants that like partial shade and need shelter from strong sunlight will thrive in an east facing garden. The afternoon shade will protect plants from the sun at its hottest.
- East facing garden will mostly get morning sun and will be in shade during hottest part of the day. This is good for homeowners with kids so they can play in the garden in the afternoon.
- Great if you like afternoon shade as the back of the house will be in shade from 1-2pm.
What are the disadvantages of an east facing garden?
- An east facing garden will lose the sunshine in the afternoon.
- East facing gardens are not good for anyone who likes to sit in the late afternoon/early evening sunshine. Unless you’re happy to sit in your front garden or if the garden is long enough that it has sun at the bottom of the garden.
- East facing gardens are not good for late afternoon/early evening barbeques as the sun will be drenching the front garden. Unless you have the barbeque at the bottom of a long enough garden that still has late sun.
- The back of the house will be in shade from early afternoon onwards. This will be worse in the winter months when the sun is lower in the sky.
- The rooms you use the most tend to be at the rear of the house. In a house with an east facing garden these rooms will be dark and devoid of light in the afternoon.
- You won’t be able to enjoy looking out at the sunsets from your back garden.
What will help you to decide if an east facing garden is right for you?
The best way to decide if an east 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.
Will a sun app help you decide if an east facing garden is the right choice?
The above screen shot was taken from the Sun Position and Path app. The position of the app is over a house with an east-facing garden. 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 southern hemisphere gardens the only difference with an east facing garden is the midday sun will be to the left (i.e. to the north) of the house vs to the right (i.e. to the south) for a northern hemisphere house.
Is an east facing garden better than north?
Arguably an east facing garden is better than a north facing garden as an east facing garden gets the morning sun and will enjoy sun into the early afternoon, whereas a north facing garden doesn’t get much light, especially in the winter months. North facing gardens tend to be dark and damp.
You may like to read this article about whether you should buy a house with a north facing garden too.
East facing garden evening sun
The evening sun for an east facing garden will be at the front of the house so the back garden will be in shade.
Is an east facing garden good?
An east facing garden is good if you like a bright sunlit garden in the morning and you want shade in the afternoon at the back of the house. East facing gardens are no good if you like to enjoy late afternoon/early evening sun, unless the garden is long.
East facing gardens are good for plants that like partial shade.
Final tips for buying a house with an east facing garden
If you are okay to have the house of an east facing garden cast a shadow over the garden in the evenings then you may be okay to buy a house with an east facing garden. But if you enjoy afternoon and early evening sunshine you would be better off buying a south facing garden or a west facing garden instead.
If the garden is long enough, the bottom of the garden may still benefit from the afternoon sun if it’s not blocked by tall trees and houses.
But to be sure you should use the app recommended above. But better still visit the house at different times of the day. But in particular for a house with an east facing garden you should visit in the afternoon to early evening.
You may also like to read about buying a north-east facing garden too.
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