Northeast-facing back garden; deal-breaker?


Hi there,

I am a total newbie here and hoping for some advice on a house which we have seen which ticks all of our boxes with the exception of the orientation. It is a very large detached house (c 2800 sq ft) in a wonderful location with a large back garden, approximately 70ft deep and 65ft wide. There is a single story extension to the left-hand side of the house which is stepped back from the house proper and this is the only reason we are still considering this house as it isn’t as straight forward as a house with the wrong orientation. We would keep the main house as is with the large reception rooms to the front and the living area would be in this side extension which currently has a bay window to the front and a slider at the back on to the garden but no veluxes. When we viewed it it did feel dark in the rear of the house but they haven’t done enough to maximize the light in this part of the house either. I hope I am explaining myself correctly but my question is whether those of you who are knowledgeable on the subject feel that this would be a mistake even though this house has a single-storey extension where we feel we could increase the light into the living area by putting in lots of veluxes etc. Granted, by the time would pass over the front of the house to shine directly into the extension it would be approx 2pm I imagine. I just don’t know if there would be enough light to permeate the rest of the living area which is L-shaped and also would extend into the rear of the house proper to the right of the extension. I acknowledge that we would never have a light-filled patio directly outside but the garden is long enough that we could create a patio at the rear of the garden instead. The decision is made more difficult by the fact that we currently have a Southwest-facing back garden and are used to the living area being drenched in sunlight which is lovely, however, a few kids later we need a bigger house. Houses in this area don’t come up too frequently and this one is actually the nicest as it is detached with all the extras, garage etc. but with the minor/ major problem of the orientation. All thoughts and opinions greatly appreciated.


I just also wanted to add that the house is on a corner site so where the single-stores extension is to the left of the house as you look at it, this is adjoining a road so no houses to the left basically if this makes a difference…


I know various houses with northern orientations that have perfectly acceptable light. Very much depends on what you’re used to, and what your expectations are. I’ve spent most of my life in a house with back garden pointing directly north.

With a bit of effort you should be able to work out the exact solar angles for any time of year. is a bit broken because of Google Maps, but may still be functional enough to help. You can get solar elevations from or an analemma. Length of your house’s midday shadow is RidgeHeight / tan(90 - latitude +solarDeclination). For instance, 8m ridge height in Dublin on 1st May gives 6.25m shadow at midday.