This whole thing is over-emphasied if you ask me.
In terms of gardening a square garden has 4 sides so one side of everyone’s garden points N,E,S and W!!! Also many houses have gardens at front and back so what favours one side of the house disfavours the other side.
For gardening it can depend a lot on how big gardens are and how much light is being cut out in different directions by the house, walls, trees etc.
Also with bedrooms most 4 bedroom houses might have bedrooms or bedroom windows at both front and back of house so swings and roundabouts again in terms of which orientation is best.
It is nice to have as much sun as possible in the main living area though and whether you want to have this in the morning or evening. A good way to achieve good light in all areas of the house is to build out your living area into the garden with lots of skylights and even inside the house if possible try to bring light through from a skylight over your stairs - this really brightens up a house regardless of orientation.
Back of the house facing South/South West is my essential requirement - after that everything is negotiable. After finally finding a house I like after 3 years I’m not going ahead after finally figuring out that its the front of the house that gets the sun from about 2 pm - there would be sun in the back garden but at the end of it.
For me its not so much about having a bright house - I agree that can be achieved with skylights etc - also I don’t care too much about bedrooms (though east facing means expensive curtains) its about having the main living/dining/kitchen area sunny and private. So that means the back of the house and it means S/SW.
That’s what I had in my last house and it was great. The orientation of this rented house is S/SW so I get great sun all day (blistering as I write) but the kitchen is to the front which I hate and its really dark too.
As a final thought what I personally really hate is the back of a house being very overlooked (no privacy!). I once rented a house that had a lovely sunny back garden but hated the fact that it had low walls and houses right behind!
That is often the case with recent (even luxury) developments in Dublin where the house itself may be great but the back garden is a postage stamp with other houses right behind. Older 60s houses are often much better in terms of bigger gardens, higher hedges etc. making it easier for kids & families to enjoy the garden.
I have good privacy in the house I am in at the moment and if I was buying again this would be a bigger consideration than house orientation.
Thanks for all of the responses on this topic. Some very interesting points raised which I wouldn’t have considered before.
We have only just begun the search for our first home so we are still trying to get our heads around the basics. I would also like to hear people’s views on side entrances to houses. Do people think they are important? For example do those who live in terraced houses/semi-d’s with no side-entrance find it to be an inconvenience or not when taking out bins/bike’s etc.?
This is one thing I like about the typical late Victorian terrace of the kind built from the 1880s to the first world war. The relatively long gardens mean that you get quite a lot of privacy from a fairly small plot, given fences or hedges of even just five or six feet, since you’re generally between 100 and 180 feet from the back of the house in the next street and your next door neighbours can see in only obliquely. The wide open rectangle formed by two consecutive streets’ worth of gardens generally ensures sun over at least one end of the garden for much of the day unless somebody has planted tall trees at the end of their garden. Victorian building technology leaves a lot to be desired by modern standards and there’s the whole car parking issue, but aesthetically they aren’t too bad and can even be attractive (I’ll admit I’m a bit of a fan of much 19th century design ) and I still think that with modern materials and construction the basic pattern is a very good solution to medium density housing, particularly if you live somewhere with adequate public transport that allows you to get away with a 1 car household.
This domestic heliostat could be interesting for northfacing back gardens. Probably needs a decent length back garden or a high mount point. Maybe some problems with it blinding when crossing its reflective path while in the garden.
Certainly more stylish that way. Avoid butch houses.
Today I learned about heliostats. Awesome. Anyone have one?
$249 (inc stand - but not postage + tax!)
Would surely be worth a dip at that price.
they’re mad yokes, I’d love to see if they work. long garden wouldn’t be any good though, says the maximum distance is 30ft.
I would only really use a garden in the summer months June to august for sitting out on the very odd sunny eve we get here. At that time of year the sun sets in a north west direction, and about 1pm the sun is due south and at 6pm it’s due west point and moving towards the north west. IMO the big difference is between west and east rather than north and south. For a person who mainly uses there garden on a summers eve it’s interesting that a due north garden would have more light than a due south garden would.
^^ Something all BBQ lovers should know!
back garden in my place gets the evening sun (when there is some)
pain in the ass when have to close the curtains because the shine on the TV
agree the east west distinction makes a bigger difference but then some people will say that it allows you to sit in the sun in front
Our house is East/West. We get lovely sun at breakfast time. Then the sun moves to the side of the house around midday. We get a few hours then of no sun. In the afternoon it moves toward the west and we start getting it to the front of the house. Our back garden is 60’ long. At the height of summer the sun is gone from our back garden at about 6.30 p.m.
I would much prefer a south west garden.
You want something between SSE and NW (working clockwise) for gardens and from N to SSE for bedrooms, to get warm daytime (particularly afternoon and evening) sun for the former and dark, cool evenings for the latter, to help you to get to sleep, since sleep is more easily disturbed in the early to mid night. Probably the ideal directions are SW and SE, respectively, since the sun only rises in the SE from mid autumn to mid spring, when the nights are longer anyway and you won’t get very early morning sun in summer, but will get it in winter when it’s harder to wake. This suggests a corner site, or at least a detached or maybe semi detached house in a favourable location.
If you value your back garden more than the front, for the extra privacy, this means that you don’t want to live on a main road, so that your bedroom doesn’t face towards busy traffic. You will probably also want dense curtains or blinds, to cut out any street lights.
Alternatively, just go and live in the countryside, buy a site and build your own home. Then you can orient your house however you like.
Love my SW-facing garden. Wouldn’t have considered anything not oriented south or west.
Our bedroom is at the back too. Never had any issue with it. If it’s too warm we open a window.
Each to his own. I’ve had west facing bedrooms and they’ve varied from uncomfortably warm to downright nasty. I like cool and dark for sleeping (my bedroom is never heated in winter while I’m sleeping).
We wouldn’t consider an east facing house or directly north facing back garden. She grew up in a NW facing garden and it really is fantastic for BBQ’s in the evening and having friends round for a few drinks. I think the amount of good days we get is understated - there’s at least 8 to 10 days every summer where you get a really good bbq opportunity, and plenty more days are adequate.
I grew up in an east facing gardened house and the sun was gone by 4pm - shi’t really
Anyway it seems a regular 3 bed semi we are looking at has about a 30 foot garden and we’re interested in a couple facing south.
However there is one that has a 60 foot garden (also not overlooked) and is NW - so really captures the sun after work in the evenings.
All other things being equal it’s about 25k more expensive - seems a good whack to be honest. But i guess the extra length and potential extension space is a massive reason.
Any thoughts on this premium?
Is there anything to be said for a gay house?