What Is The Best Facing Garden For Sun In The UK?

Olivia Peat
Olivia Peat
May 23, 2024

The debate of which facing garden is best for sun has been ongoing for as long as people have been buying houses.

But which is best; a north, east, west or south facing garden? Each garden orientation has its own merits and how you want to use your garden will also play a part in the best facing garden for you.

What To Expect From a North Facing Garden

North facing gardens have got a bad rep over the years, but in actual fact they are one of the best garden orientations if you want sun in both the morning and the evening. Since many of us are working or out during middle part of the day, it often suits our lifestyles to have sun earlier and later in the day. With a north facing garden, you can enjoy your morning cup of coffee in the sunshine and dine alfresco in the evening; it’s the best of both worlds!

North facing gardens are also great for planting almost anything. Most plants enjoy some midday shade as this is when the sun is at its hottest.

Woodlandplantssuchashellebores, snowdrops and pulmonaria,whichflowerearly,beforethetreecanopyshadesoutthelight,andputongrowththroughsummerdespitetheshadeoverhead.They’reidealforareasthatonlygetearlymorningsun.
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Types of garden shade

What To Expect From a East Facing Garden

East facing gardens receive the majority of their sun in the morning, with the shade starting to edge in around midday onwards. That’s not to say you won’t still have areas of sun later in the day, but which sections will depend on the surrounding buildings and shape of your garden.

When designing an east facing garden, you might want to first wait to see which areas get sun and shade at what times before zoning for planting, relaxation and more.

If you’re looking to grow salad and leafy greens, an east facing garden is ideal as the morning sun is more gentle and the afternoon shade creates a cooler climate for these to thrive. 

What To Expect From a West Facing Garden

The opposite of east orientation, a west facing garden will receive the majority of its sunlight after midday and into the evening, while being very shaded in the morning. It’s always a good idea to scope out which areas of your garden will get sun at what times of day when planning how to best use the space.

For planting, west facing gardens are perfect for sun loving plants such as sunflowers and fruits such as tomatoes and peppers.

What To Expect From a south Facing Garden

Often hailed as the best facing garden for sun in the UK, south facing gardens are very sought after.  This is because they tend to receive full sun from morning right through to the evening. Having a south facing garden can make designing easy if you’re wanting to soak up the sun at every opportunity and provides a great climate for sun loving plants and most fruits and vegetables.

One thing to consider though are the levels and surrounding structures that could potentially block sun, even in a south facing garden. Before starting your garden design, try so view your garden at different times of day between April and October. This means you’ll have a full picture of which areas of your garden get the most and least sun at any time throughout spring and summer.

There really is no best facing garden for sun in the UK, as each garden orientation has its own benefits.

It’s about how you cleverly design the space to ensure you and your plants can enjoy both the sun and the shade. Take a look at our guide to designing your dream garden in 5 simple steps here. Or take a look at this article from Gardener's World.