Would you buy a house with a north facing garden?

(62 Posts)
georgeclooneyfan Sun 14-Jul-13 23:49:31

We can't decide over going for a new build which ticks all the boxes apart from it's north facing garden.We have spent ages talking about it and have been looking for ages for a house.We have always had a south facing garden which has been great when it is sunny,my dh would prefer a west facing one.We feel time is passing us by as we have waited literally years for the right house to come up.Any advice would be great thanks

MissyMaker Mon 15-Jul-13 00:06:57

Nope, unless the garden was huge (think acreage), and then it wouldn't matter so much. I personally wouldn't have a house with a north facing garden. Sorry. Are there any other possibilities in the same development?

HenWithAttitude Mon 15-Jul-13 00:08:20

I'm confused by this whole north facing garden thing. My house was marketed as north facing garden. The front garden is north of and back garden is south of the house. My front garden gets little sun but tbh slopes away from the house so house shades it. If it was flat it would get sunshine. Back garden has sun all day. Sun rises and crosses and the back border 4ft deep? is in shade from the 6ft fence nearly all day. The east part of the garden grows plants amazingly well but tbh the rest isn't bad either. (My garden is pretty large so possibly you're going to find somewhere that is sunny)

So as I started...I'm confused. When it says north facing what does it mean? Back of the house (a fixed point) faces south. Garden faces in every direction???

MissyMaker Mon 15-Jul-13 00:13:10

Hen, I would say that your house should never have been marketed as having a north facing garden!

holycowwhatnow Mon 15-Jul-13 00:13:15

My garden is east facing and I think this is worse than north facing because when the sun starts to set, the house throws a shadow over the garden. My friend has a north facing garden and while this means her rooms at the back of her house never get sun in them, her garden has sun all day.

TBH, that wouldn't put me off the house.

holycowwhatnow Mon 15-Jul-13 00:14:12

Hen, north facing garden means if you stand at your back door and look straight out, you're facing the north.

HenWithAttitude Mon 15-Jul-13 00:18:37

holy cow thanks- I'd thought this but assumed estate agent must be right! So my garden is south facing... South facing is lovely OP. HTH grin

My front garden is very cold and shady even on a hot day. However as I said it drops away from the house so is always in shade. If it was flat the sun would hit the garden at the edge to the road. So size does matter in this case!

mnistooaddictive Mon 15-Jul-13 00:23:35

I have a north facing garden. Everything else was perfect and there has to be a compromise somewhere!
We are not great sun lovers and it is not a problem. The back if the house is cool.

HarrietSchulenberg Mon 15-Jul-13 00:40:05

I have a north facing garden and have no real problems. Sure the front is sunnier for longer but the bottom of my garden gets plenty of sun and I have some great fruit bushes there that don't seem bothered grin .
Go and look at the garden in the late afternoon and see where the shadows fall, then make your decision.

HenWithAttitude Mon 15-Jul-13 00:44:40

I was going to suggest popping around there and checking garden in the evening or daytime. I did that and also checked neighbouring gardens for 'health' of plants...even asked one neighbour what soil type it was blush. <no longer such a garden enthusiast>

SignoraStronza Mon 15-Jul-13 00:45:23

I have a North facing back garden and the front, where we grow our veggiesgrin is South facing. It means that ours and the baby's bedrooms are boiling at the moment, as they face the front.

Having a North facing back garden has never been an issue to be honest. The house doesn't cast a shadow over all of it, and means I can keep the baby cool on the patio on this wretched heat.

We have a north facing garden and it's perfect. The garden gets full sun until 3-4pm but the rooms at the back of the house stay lovely and cool.

We have a huge field at the end of our garden though, so there is nothing to block any of the sun. Not sure if that makes a difference.

flow4 Mon 15-Jul-13 07:29:50

I think it depends on the size of your garden and what else surrounds it. A north-facing garden will be over-shadowed by the house for at least some of the day, but if it's longer than the shadow, that's not much of a problem and could be an advantage in heat like this. However, if the garden is small, and particularly if it is also surrounded by other houses that cast their shadows on it at different times of day, then it could be dark most of the time, and that could be depressing.

TheRealFellatio Mon 15-Jul-13 07:34:45

Probably not, and cetainly not in a new build, where they tend to have small gardens that are often less deep than the house is high, iyswim. And if it also totally surrounded and overlooked by other similarly high houses that would be very oppressive, and in almost constant shade.

But of course it depends on the size, the plot shape, etc, the other choices you have, and value for money overall. How does it compare to similar houses on the estate with south or west facing gardens? If there is not much difference I would try to beat the price down on that basis, or buy something else.

Clayhead Mon 15-Jul-13 07:37:00

I have twice!

Luckily, each time the garden was longer than the shadow of the house but I'm a shade lover anyway so it suits me smile

TheRealFellatio Mon 15-Jul-13 07:38:13

Hen is your house still on the market now?! No estate agent in his right mind would actively 'market' a house as having a north facing garden, when it is considered a negative feature by most people! And it sounds as if yours made a mistake anyway, and got it the wrong way round! Usually they mention south and west facing gardens and they are something people look out for in the write-up, and ignore any mention of aspects for east and north.

But if you have a massive garden that faces east or north it's not really a problem - you will still get sun somewhere.

daisylulu Mon 15-Jul-13 07:43:05

I have a north facing garden- it was my one compromise on an otherwise perfect house. DH and I are both sun lovers.

Has it been an issue? Definitely not! Our garden is much longer than the house so we get full sun for most of the day and then shade at top of garden and sun from middle onwards. Like the other posters have said it really depends on length of garden to house ratio...

Yama Mon 15-Jul-13 07:43:24

North facing back garden means coffee outside on a sunny morning. smile

I like our north facing garden for that reason and also, it provides shaded bits for playing in when it's frankly too hot. Our garden is large though so we can get sun at the end of it until close to 7pm. Our front garden is large too and we have a wee bench for sitting out (quiet street).

So, it wouldn't put me off it is is fairly large and if you could use your front garden.

HenWithAttitude Mon 15-Jul-13 07:45:04

No RF. I bought it 7 yrs ago and the EA was useless. The picture used to market it, was the back of the house which is quite uninspiring...taken on a gloomy day and limited internal pics. It's was on the market for 2 years.....

I was a buyer ready to go and asked to view and they were unable to arrange a time to suit me. In the end my selling agent had to intervene in order that we were shown around!! My seller was abroad and not supervising the sale or that contactable when we did eventually buy. I was stunned at how difficult it was to view and how rubbish the marketing details were. It was the cheapest house I viewed and a bit of a 'rule this one out' viewing. I loved it and could see potential immediately

WhoNickedMyName Mon 15-Jul-13 07:51:52

On a new build property where the garden is the size of a postage stamp - no.

A lovely big well established garden - yes.

AngelinaCongleton Mon 15-Jul-13 08:01:34

We've just moved from house with north facing garden. I echo what others have said, it depends on depth of garden. If the shadow of the house/ or other houses cast too long a shadow then it is a problem. If its deeper than the shadow them having a bit of shade is nice. We found in our new build the neighbours all grew ivy up the fence so that blocked sun on both sides of fence and as we'll as only having a postage stamp area with sun. it was pretty gloomy. Also the developers tend to dump their rubble on the plot and build up limited soil and top soil so drainage was also a problem in a very shaded garden. The grass was always soaking and of poor quality. People often extend new builds at the back of house so have a think about if you were wanting to build a sun room or whatever, as that could be sunless. All in all, totally depends on depth.

Spickle Mon 15-Jul-13 08:09:59

I have just moved from a south facing garden to a north facing garden (both gardens around 100 feet long) and was concerned about this aspect. The north facing garden is, however, fabulous. We now spend more time outside than in the south facing garden and the sun is in the garden all day, except right by the back of the house and the house remains cool. There are various paved areas so we are not restricted to sitting in the shady bit. My driveway (now in full sun from facing south), means that snow/ice in winter melts away a lot quicker than on the other side of the road. Win win in my opinion.

However, if the garden is small and surrounded by buildings, you may find it very shady. Best to look at the garden at different times of the day to see how sunny/shady it is and for how long. Have a look at the patio - has it got a "green mossy" tinge? If so, it doesn't get much sun.

EeyoreIsh Mon 15-Jul-13 08:27:12

I have a small North West facing garden. It was a compromise when we bought the house.

At this time of year, we get sun in the garden must of the day. It takes a while to hit the lower part of the garden, but we cut down a tall tree and ivy that was blocking some of the sun and that helped a lot.

In winter, the sun only hits the top of the garden really. One wall never seems to get much sun other than in mid summer.

At the time of buying I thought it a massive sacrifice to make. actually, it's been fine. There's enough sun to sit out and enjoy the garden at this time of year.

The back of the house stays very cool, which is nice. The front receives lots of light.

MortifiedAdams Mon 15-Jul-13 08:30:49

We only have a yard, so didnt care when we bought if it was NF or not. It happens to be NF and I dont wish for.more sunlight. The back of the house (lounge and dds bedroom), are always cool, so even in this weather, she is sleeping great and still with her duvet!

The yard is long, so the bottom half gets sunlight til about 7pm.

pictish Mon 15-Jul-13 08:31:52

Our garden is apparently North facing. It gets plenty of sun for most of the day, so I don't see a problem.
Come tea time - the top third of the garden is in shadow, but the rest is still sunny.

Our garden is lovely - I haven't got a complaint about it.

littlecrystal Mon 15-Jul-13 08:38:50

I have West facing garden. In the evenings it gets so hot at the back that our kitchen is boiling when I need to make dinner, think of switched on oven! Come morning, our master bedroom boils from 5am with early east sun and I often escape to my kids' west facing bedroom to relax in their toddler bed smile In my ideal world the garden should face north west and the front should face east south to have best of both worlds. So north garden is not far from my ideal and it certainly would be much preferred than south garden to me.

nextphase Mon 15-Jul-13 08:52:05

We have a S facing garden.
So, everyone on the otherside of the street has a N facing garden.
The ones at the quite end, with decent size front gardens, have put table and chairs in the front for when they want a glass of wine ona sunny evening.
The kids play out of the sun!

motherofvikings Mon 15-Jul-13 08:56:58

We have a north facing garden - in a new-ish (10yo) build. smile

During the winter very little of it got sun and I was a resigned to the fact that we wouldn't have much sun. However the house was perfect in almost every other way for us so we compromised - we didn't have the budget for a 100% perfect house! smile

Since the clocks changed in the spring we've had more and more sun. smile
In the morning the patio next to the house is in the shade, most of the rest of the garden has sun though. By 2ish the patio the patio is starting to get sun and the rest of the garden is full sun. By 6 the only shade has been by the fence at the back. I really like it as there's cool spots for the dc.

I think unless you have a huge budget then you will never get a 100% perfect house.

pictish Mon 15-Jul-13 08:58:56

Even people with huge budgets don't get everything they want, unless they build themselves.

Doesn't matter what your budget - compromise is inevitable.

motherofvikings Mon 15-Jul-13 09:12:32

Very true Pictish! smile
I've seen those people on Location Location with massive budgets and they are never happy! hmm

BrianTheMole Mon 15-Jul-13 09:21:58

Depends on the length of the garden. Ours is over 100 foot, so a huge part of the garden is sunny anyway, its just shady in the shadow of the house. Which is fine, esp on really hot days. If it was a small garden I wouldnt want it though.

pictish Mon 15-Jul-13 09:24:56

Just thinking about fil and his wife really, who are minted. I would give my eye teeth for either of their fabulous houses...but they spent a long time choosing them...a long time. They wanted value for money the same as we all do, and had to sacrifice some features they wanted, for others that were more important.

Fwiw - I can't watch LLL unless I'm in a good mood. wink

neveronsunday Mon 15-Jul-13 10:43:56

We have a north west facing garden and it's fine.

If you have little children it's great as there is plenty of shade for them. It gets sun in the summer, but is gloomy in the winter.

However, you're never really in the garden in the winter anyway.

You have a to be a little careful about what plants you grow but, on the whole, it's much less of an issue than I thought it would be.

Lovely sunny patio in the evenings.

GuinevereOfTheRoyalCourt Mon 15-Jul-13 11:15:28

I love my (teeny) North and ever-so-slightly-west facing garden. The only downside is that we don't get any sun in it at all during the Winter months as the house casts too long a shadow. But as I don't want to sit in it during the Winter - this doesn't really bother me.

In the Summer it is glorious as we get lots of morning and evening sun, but it doesn't cook. There's always plenty of shade for the kids to play in too.

You can't have it every way though. Each aspect has it's own advantage/disadvantage. I think the idea of a blanket "south is always best" is a bit bizarre. For me, I'd choose Winter shade over a Summer roast any time! Perhaps the ideal house should come on one of those spinny roundabout thingys that they sometimes use on small drives?

georgeclooneyfan Mon 15-Jul-13 11:29:34

Wow thanks for all your advice everyone.We have been on every map online known to man to look at other houses in line with the one that we would possibly buy to see where the shadows are cast.The house itself is not built yet so it's difficult to know how big the garden is actually going to be , the house is going to be one and a half storey so not as high up as a normal two storey house with loft.So apparently you should get more sun than usual.I even went to someones door with the same house style almost directly in line with the one i might buy,a lovely lady actually let me through her house and into the garden (she was very trusting probably thought I was nuts!) So I could see where the sun was this was at 2pm.The very back of the house and patio was in the shade and about half way up the garden too,but the very back of the garden was in the sun.but my dh says come later on in day you would get more sun.Our kids are 14 and 12 and don't spend much time in garden these days the kitchen/diner would be at back of this house with bi fold doors and a window at left hand side so I think you would get some light.All the talk about it and research I do someone has probably already bought it and by the time we decide we will be looking to downsize to a smaller properly ha ha.

motherofvikings Mon 15-Jul-13 13:56:58

Fwiw our kitchen is north facing and is anything but dark. It's painted white and has sliding doors to the patio and a window (less than 2ft wide) by the sink.
I think light coloured walls helps a lot with darkness. None of the rooms at the back are particularly dark at all, they're not bathed in direct light but I quite like that. As would sleepy teenagers who want a lie in during the summer! smile

groovejet Mon 15-Jul-13 13:59:23

Our new garden is north west facing, is much more sunnier than I thought it would be, only half the patio is in shade, the rest is sunny and as a plus the kitchen is lovely and cool.

crazyhead Mon 15-Jul-13 15:26:47

Our new garden is south west and baking at the moment as it was pretty neglected. However, you can create shade with planting/pergolas etc but you can't remove the shade of the house. Also, we both work so it is definitely nicer in the evenings for most of the year and good for plants.

The kitchen diner is really too warm at the moment, but perfect most of the time, most people would definitely gravitate towards that room in an English climate.

However I think a lot of things can make a house gloomy or not, including the size of the windows and size and shape of the rooms, so if you are more worried about the effect on the house, think about the package

RobinSparkles Mon 15-Jul-13 22:25:11

Funnily enough, we've just moved into a new build with a North facing garden! I love it! The garden gets sun all day from 8 till 8 at the moment. It's quite long though, and there is nothing surrounding it to cast a shadow.

We have just moved from a house that had a South-West facing garden which barely got any bloody sun due to the neighbour behind having a massive tree. His garden was probably north ish facing and got sun all the bastarding live long day angry.

Jaynebxl Tue 16-Jul-13 06:59:56

We are moving from a south facing garden to a north facing one and I'm quite happy about it. But then I don't like sitting in the direct sunlight and always look for shade to sit under.

JakeBullet Tue 16-Jul-13 07:03:36

I have a North facing garden and its okay. I am also surrounded by other houses which block out sunlight inthe aafternoon. However I love it, plenty of shade to enjoy the garden in. I don't like sitting in bright sunlight so my garden is perfect.

HappyAsEyeAm Tue 16-Jul-13 10:07:00

We have a north facing garden. It has sun all day long. The amount of sun which your garden gets isn't just to do with the direction it faces. It is also to do with how built up the area is around you, in every direction. We are detatched, there are no houses behind ours, and there are generous spaces in between our house and the houses either side of us. So we get sun from every direction into our garden. I chase the shade around, rather than chase the sun. The Dc were hiding under the trampoline at the weekend to get some shade smile.

Our family room is off the garden, and I really like that it is a cool room without any direct sunlight in it.

vez123 Wed 17-Jul-13 16:17:07

Our house faces NE and the garden is only 35 feet long. At the moment the garden is sunny pretty much all day. Even in the evening between 6 and 7 we have a sunny spot in the middle of the garden, not less sun than the S facing ones opposite.
We didn't have any sun at all though in the winter months. And on those warm autumn days that you sometimes get in October the sun was only at the back of the garden in the afternoon whilst the front of the house was baking in the sun. I think as long as you're happy with the rest of the house and you know that you will get some sun it shouldn't be a reason not to go for the house.

ouryve Wed 17-Jul-13 16:19:05

Hell yes! Then I'd be able to sit outside in weather like this instead of always hiding indoors.

EasyFromNowOn Wed 17-Jul-13 17:10:56

new build, north facing garden here. It's great at the moment, the sun shines into the kitchen and dining room only until about 11am, so it isn't too hot at the moment. We have a patio directly outside the house, which is in shade most of the day, and another seating area at the bottom of the garden which is in sun until around 8pm throughout June and July.

As of now (5pm), about half the garden is in the sun and half in shade. Our garden is quite wide but not especially deep, but we are on a bit of a slope, which seems to help.

It is a bit gloomy in the depths of winter (we've been here just over a year) but I can live with that.

TenthMuse Thu 18-Jul-13 16:03:00

Ours faces north-east. It took a bit of getting used to, but we really like it now; there is some sun for much of the day (until about 5-6pm depending on time of year). The flower border is in the shadiest part, but we researched shade-loving plants and now have plenty of stuff growing there, plus fruit and veg in the sunnier parts. There is always some shade, which is great in summer, especially if you have kids.

North-facing aspect means the living room and our bedroom are always relatively cool (blissful in this weather!) We are lucky, though, because although it's a smallish urban garden (we're in London) it is square and fairly open, so never feels too dingy or oppressive. Imagine things might be different if it was narrower or more hemmed in. Also echo what Angelina said about drainage - we did have problems with this (with masses of builders rubble) and DP had to spend our first year here digging it all out so that plants would actually grow - not fun!

trikken Thu 18-Jul-13 16:07:58

I have a north facing garden. Its fine. Gets the light by mid morning and is great for parties and afternoon and evening bbq's.

Jan49 Thu 18-Jul-13 21:48:55

I've twice owned houses and I haven't a clue what way they faced and wouldn't take any notice of that. If north facing means it's pleasantly shady on a sunny day, I'd like that, but that's something I'd notice when living there, not something I'd take into account when buying.

camtt Thu 18-Jul-13 22:02:58

my garden is north facing too. I have a patio at the house end, deck at the back and it has a beautiful open view. I was worried about the north facing thing but haven't found it a problem, I can sit at the top or the bottom depending on time of day and the shade is very welcome in this heat

Noseynoonoo Thu 18-Jul-13 23:53:57

My garden faces NNW. It is not a problem at all.

The sun hits the patio at 11.30am and we have very little shade until late afternoon when we have shade cast on the garden from a tree several gardens down to the west. It is a blessed relief having that shade.

The back rooms of the house have been cooler during this heat whilst the south facing front room that we don't use.

I genuinely think that a lot of people miss out on a great house because of the north/south garden issue - but it helped us because houses in our area get snapped up really quickly (this was the 6th house we bid on).

LadyLech Fri 19-Jul-13 00:24:17

I have a north facing garden, and actively prefer them to south facing, for the following reasons:

1. I am not a gardener smile

2. My living room (at the front of the house) is therefore south facing, and so gets all of the sun and is very bright and sunny all day long.

3. My garden has always got shade in it for the children to play in. It is never too hot.

4. Whilst I have a modern house (1990), the garden is big enough so that there is always some sun in it. And as I tend not to be ready to enjoy the garden until the afternoon, it usually has some sun unti then.

I have had a south facing garden in the past, and hated it because a) it got too dammed hot, and b), my therefore north facing living room was quite dark and didn't get lots of sun light. Personally, I'd prefer another north facing garden.

georgeclooneyfan Fri 19-Jul-13 21:22:14

Hi everyone thanks or all the comments we are still undecided,I do agree that it would depend alot on the size of the garden,the longer the better so we are trying to get the dimensions from the builders.If the house was already built it would be so much easier for us to decide.With all the warm weather we have been able to make the most of our south facing garden especially up here in the north of Scotland as it's not always so sunny and warm.As we would be paying more than we had orginally planned for the house thats why we are struggling about the garden,although we have been looking so long we know we are going to have to comprise somewhere.For the last four years it has been the gardens not facing the right way that has put us of buying the houses and sometimes I think maybe we should wait some more,but there are hardly any that tick most of our boxes like this one even though the garden isn't 100% to our liking.I feel like I'm boring everyone about this house and should just go for it arrgghh.

flow4 Fri 19-Jul-13 21:29:10

I just have, and have been fretting about it, because my current house is south-facing, tho it has no garden to speak of... However, last night I had supper at friends' whose garden faces exactly the same direction as our new house... And it was sunny in their garden until 8:30pm, so we were able to eat outside and enjoy the evening... The sun is round the back of my current house by 4-5pm, which is generally before I'm even home from work... So I'm now feeling pretty chuffed about my new north-facing garden! smile

georgeclooneyfan Fri 19-Jul-13 21:37:58

Hi flow4 that fills me with more confidence,you are right by the time everyones home from work and made tea etc etc then when you do go outside the sun would still be out.At weekends if friends were coming over for drinks,tea etc then it would be better facing north as the sun would still be out at that time,our house starts to loose the sun at this time of year about 6/6.30 ish.Enjoy your new home and garden!

flow4 Fri 19-Jul-13 22:16:48

Thank you gcfan. You too - when you finally find the one you want! smile

Our garden faces north. TBH I didn't think about it when we bought the house, but it's fine. Our neighbour's garden is one huge veg patch which shows that it gets enough sun most of the time. I do miss sun in the rooms at the back, especially the kitchen but we do have sun somewhere in the garden most of the day. The only time it can be an issue is when you get the odd super sunny day in March. As other posters have said, we get sun until v. late too, which is lovely. And we have a fine view of the sunsetting too.

MousyMouse Sun 21-Jul-13 12:51:17

our garden is north facing and gets plenty of sun.

east facing would be darker.

CharlotteBronteSaurus Sun 21-Jul-13 13:07:19

I've got a north facing garden
Between May-August there's a decent amount of sun all day long. very little in the evenings, but the garden is really short, so I assume most gardens would get a little.

In Spring and Autumn there's not much sun after lunch, and winter's not worth mentioning as it rains so much here anyway.

we have lots of evergreen shrubs - holly, ivy, azaleas, japonicas, Euonymus - and save the colour for the tiny, south facing front garden. Makes gardening easier at least. and the rooms are the front of the house are filled with light all year round.

jalopy Sun 21-Jul-13 14:59:58

Aside from garden issues, I would be bothered that the kitchen and back reception room does get any direct sunlight during the day. That would depress me especially in winter. Those rooms tend to be cold.

nextphase Sun 21-Jul-13 15:50:20

But Jalopy if you have a south facing garden, half the house faces north as well. It depends on the internal arrangements.
S facing here, with kitchen and living room facing south. I wouldn't have bought this house N facing. If you have a through room tho, it makes no difference if N-S or S-N.

EasyFromNowOn Sun 21-Jul-13 17:06:32

My kitchen faces north, it looks out over the garden, it gets the sun first thing in the morning, which I think is lovely for a kitchen. I think it must technically be North-NorthEast, because it does get some direct sun. It's also helped by the fact that we are on a hill (on a new build estate) so the houses behind us are lower down so we don't get any shadows cast by them, plus they only extend the width of half the garden.

If you go into the showroom, they should have a model display of the estate, so you can see how big the garden is in relation to the house. I also managed to get DH to do an animation of where the shadows would fall in the garden at various times of the day/year. He needed the plan of the plot/estate, the co-ordinates and some data about how high the sun gets at various times but it was great for working this kind of thing out!

jalopy Sun 21-Jul-13 17:25:42

Nextphase - my house is south facing and therefore has sunlight in the kitchen and a reception room at the back of the house. We have separate reception at the front of the house which of course receives no sunlight at all.

The current trend also is to have extensions/kitchens/conservatories at the back of the house. As you say, it depends on internal arrangements. It's just something to consider especially if you don't have a through room to light up the north-facing area.

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