Is North Facing garden enough of a deterrent to purchase?


Have been stalling for a while but now beginning to see some value out there.
One particular property (2 storey semi-d in South Dublin) is ticking all the boxes bar one - its sizeable rear garden is north facing.

From renting an apartment for a good while now one of those boxes was to have a decent garden to enjoy BBQ’s, having a dog etc and for the kids when they come.
Then there is the aspect of having sunshine enter the main living area for most of the day - kitchen/dining room - and the possibility of adding a conservatory at some stage to the rear of the house (adjoining the rear garden).

If rear of house and rear garden is north facing I reckon I would be getting very little sunshine except for down at the bottom of the garden because of overhanging shadow of the house.

Looking for others experience in this and whether one should strike a potential property off based on its orientation?


Hey Monkey,

I can only give you my limited experience of this: I currently live in a house I love (renting) and it too has a North facing Garden. It’s tiny in any case, but we’ve always thought it a pity as it gets literally no sun. That hasn’t stopped us using it when we can, but we are envious of the houses that back onto ours as they get the good stuff shining onto their gardens.

In no way is it enough of a detraction to make us move, or look for a house with anything different. A nice sunny garden is on the wishlist, but only that - it is not a principle concern.

Now I can see how a dog (and child) owner would have different considerations, and I too hope to have those things one day, but the child and dog can play in the shade. Also, this is Ireland, and we don’t get too much sun. Whether this is an argument for or against depends on your disposition, but a garden in an Irish house is not the same factor it is in a French one.

I treat gardens and balconies here as secondary considerations. I lived in an apartment with a balcony previously. I think in two years I went out on it 8/9 times and that might be generous. The other 720 days I sat in the living room and slept in the bedroom.

You know yourself this is a personal consideration. Just remember that we live indoors.

my house has its rear garden north facing however due its length it gets the sun the bottom end all day

depends on size of garden

go see the house in the day time and evening see where the sun lands

If you like sunlight and there will be people at home during the day in the kitchen/living areas then you want the sun there. You don’t need the sun on your sitting room at the front because chances are you will be spending your evenings there and not your days.
Even on cold days it makes a remarkable difference to your life (IMO) to have the sun shining into the kitchen.
We have passed on several houses because they are the wrong side of the road and gardens face north or east.
If you like gardening and that sort of stuff then the North facing is pure miserable. The house I’m renting faces north east.
And the sun is gone from very early afternoon (also in a 2-storey you block your own sun on the back, after it starts to go down in the other direction.

And need I mention you might get another house cheaper anyway with a south facing if you can hang on another while longer…

Plenty of terrace houses with small gardens in my area.
Looked at some with nth facing gardens - grim.

Theres one street with beautiful 3 storey houses and nth gardens.
In the summer the whole road is lined with people sitting on their front steps because at 3 storeys the garden is like a bog.

Also the shaded parts are always cold and can suffer bad damp in older houses - including rotting windows.

I lived in a 2 storey house with North facing back garden and even at the height of summer the sun only got to within a foot of the back of the house.
The kitchen would always be cool while the sitting room at the front would be gorgeous.
I had my patio at the back of the garden which was a great sun trap. Wasnt a massive garden so didnt really matter that we had to bring everything down the back of the garden for a BBQ etc.
BUT am currently looking for a house, and having the main living area south facing is a priority.

Have to say that I thought nothing of a north facing back garden until I bought a house with one.
We ended up building a very nice deck down there, but its never as usefull as it being right at the back of the house.

Bloody ketchup - its much easier just to step in to get it than run down the length of the garden :wink:

Depends on the size of the garden. (And maybe on the chances of a house on the other side of the road coming on the market). It wouldn’t be a deal breaker for me but I do know of people who wouldn’t even look at a house if the orientation wasn’t right.

Do not underestimate how lovely a south facing garden is.

Not only is it lovely, it reduces your heating costs significantly in my experience. I have a perfectly SW facing back yard and living room and I haven’t had the heating on since the end of the cold snap. By contrast, my bedroom at the front, which I also use as an office, I have had to give a quick blast of heat in recent months to keep it snug when I’m working in there. It makes a big, big difference.

i wouldn’t even consider living in a north facing house, long term, after living in 2 nth and 2 sth facing.

if you watch tv during the day in a nth facing house you need to close the curtains all day (not great for the world cup)
if you want to sit in the sun in a nth facing house you have to bring your couch out the front like some hillbilly.

not for me!

For me it would depend.

First - does the front of the house get sunlight, or is it totally overshadowed by the other side of the street?
Second - does the layout of rooms in the house suit the direction the house is facing, and if not can it be adjusted appropriately
For instance, do you get sunlight in the kitchen in the morning and/or early evening? That’s when you’ll be in there. Sunlight in the sitting room doesn’t matter so much, you tend to use that most in Winter and when it’s dark out anyway. If the rooms in the house run front to back, you’ll get light right through anyway.
Third - does the garden get any sunlight at all? If it gets some from April - September, then I’d probably be happy enough. The fact that it’s down the back end of the garden I could probably live with. It’s just a matter of putting the patio there instead of outside the back door.

Thanks to everyone for your replies. Sense I am getting is that a north facing garden is quite undesirable.

We did a check today around 1pm and the sun does come a lot of the ways up the garden but does not touch the house itself or the patio paving in front of it. Given that this is midday with sun at its highest it does seem that it would be a dark kitchen/dining area and any conservatory one would add in the future.

The front of the house gets plenty of sunlight (nothing blocking it) but since the rear of the house (kitchen/dining area etc) will be the main living area it doesnt really help.

I didnt really think of this when I started to look at the house until a relation mentioned it and perhaps the good price that comes with it is somewhat down to its orientation.

Hmmm, decisions decisions. I guess it is a big deal and why not wait for the perfect property.

Thanks again.

Sounds like you’ve already heard enough but my tuppence is south/south west facing back garden all the way. I had that in my last house and it made coming home from work a real pleasure. I used to be able to sit outside the back of the house in complete privacy sipping a glass.

Its on my must have list for the new buy. But then I’m deeply unfashionable and love sunbathing.

FWIW I’m currently living in a house which faces east, and the west facing garden gets a lot of sun in the evening. So it’s not as clear cut as north & south facing

  1. Growing vegetables will be a struggle.
  2. Your kids won’t play in the garden in the evenings.
  3. Barbeques won’t be pleasant.
  4. Not really suitable for a dog.
  5. The kitchen will be cold and unpleasant.
  6. Higher ESB bills for lighting.
  7. House will be more expensive to heat.

I think you would be better to keep looking.

One of the reason I liked my house so much was it was north facing,

sun in the back, where it’s most usefull…

As it so happens this is mentioned in the Irish Times today

How about going solar down the road. Would need to be mounted on front roof so as to be south facing. Planning, ugliness etc. Another consideration?

IMHO always have a compass when househunting and watch out for the old chestnut “house faces south” i.e. back faces north.

Excuse my ignorance but do houses never face East or West.
I have a mobile home on the Atlantic coast, facing the sea (West).
I found that had the best orientation, particulary in the long Summer evenings. Beautiful sunsets.
O.P I wish I had your life, where this was my only concern.

Yes, my apartment faces west and a west-facing bedroom can be a real pain, particularly in summer- hot at night and still light at nearly 11pm. Dense curtains or blackout blinds are essential, together with an open window behind them for cooler air.
East facing wouldn’t be an issue for the light. By about 5am, I can sleep through nearly anything.