What is a south facing garden, and how do I know if my garden is south facing?

What is a south facing garden, and how do I know if my garden is south facing?

You’ve probably heard the term ‘south-facing garden’ before.

You may have seen it in big, bold lettering on an estate agent’s marketing material, too, or you may have been constantly told a property you’re looking to buy has a south facing garden.

But what’s all the fuss about south facing gardens?

Well, if your property is lucky enough to have one, you could be looking at an additional £22,000 on the value of your home, according to research by Rightmove.

According to the property portal, homes with a south-facing garden are, on average, priced £22,000 higher than homes without, while properties with south-facing gardens in Yorkshire & The Humber command a huge 14% price increase, on average, against those without.

Those properties also sell, on average, two days faster than homes with non-south-facing gardens.

But what is a south-facing garden and why are properties with them so in-demand?

What is a south-facing garden?

The clue is in the name, but often buyers and renters are confused by the term ‘south-facing garden’.

Put simply, a south-facing garden is a garden that faces in a southerly direction.

Of course, many gardens don’t face to the south gun-barrel straight, with most being slightly south-westerly or south-easterly.

But all of those gardens would be classed as ‘south-facing’ for a very good reason…

South-facing garden advantages

The main reason south-facing gardens are so in-demand by property buyers is because they are in the sun all day.

The sun rises in the east and sets in the west, moving between the two via the south.

So, if your garden is south facing, it will be in the sunshine all day.

This means:

• Your garden will be warmer than one that faces in another direction

• It is easier to grow and maintain plants in a south-facing garden

• You can dry clothes quicker

• Patio and decking areas will be less prone to moss and algae

Disadvantages of a south-facing garden

While the advantages of a south-facing garden outweigh the disadvantages in the eyes of most, there are some more negative aspects of a garden that has sunshine all day:

• In the height of summer, south-facing gardens can get too hot to sit in

• Outdoor furnishings and stained decking can be bleached by the sun

• The north-facing front of your house gets less sun

Is my garden south-facing?

The easiest way to tell if your garden is south facing is to stand in it, facing to the rear and use a compass or app on your phone. If the compass says ‘south’, your garden is south facing.

Alternatively, if you want to know what direction a garden faces at a house you’re keen to buy, you can find out on Google Maps.

• Type in the address of the property on Google and select ‘Maps’

• Select ‘Satellite’ view

• On the bottom right of the screen, there is a compass, with the red section pointing north and white section pointing south

• Hold down ‘CTRL’ and spin the map so you’re looking at the front of the house

• If the white section of the compass is on top, the garden is south facing

Is it better to have a south-facing garden?

Whether or not a south-facing garden is better is largely down to your needs when it comes to outdoor space.

If you like sunbathing and you’re a green-fingered gardener, a south-facing garden is definitely best for you.

But if you don’t like intense heat during the summer, a north-facing garden may be better, so you can find shady spots to sit when the sun is at its highest.

When you come to sell your home, however, there’s no doubt that a south-facing garden is better in the eyes of many buyers and, as we’ve established, having one can put a premium on the value of your home.

What are the best plants for a south-facing garden?

The best plants for a south-facing garden are ones that like sunshine, but can also withstand intense heat during the summer.

Here are some great options for plants in a south-facing garden:

Sedums: These love sunshine and should be planted in a southerly garden to avoid them becoming ‘limp’

Chamomile: With a look that screams ‘huge daisy’ Chamomile is pretty and aromatic, but also thrives in heat

Euphorbia characias: Euphorbias can generally be grown well in full sunshine and are a statuesque addition to a garden

Cotton lavender: This plant hails from the Mediterranean, so is used to intense sunshine and perfectly suited to a south-facing garden

Further reading

Now you know whether or not your garden is south facing. If it is, and you’re thinking of selling, now could be the perfect time to get it on the market.

Before you do, though, take a look at our guide to preparing your home for the sales market, which can help ensure your property is presented in the best way possible for a quick sale.