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How bad is a north facing garden?

(14 Posts)
RaspberryBlonde Sat 18-Jul-15 06:57:44

We're in the process of moving and one of the houses on our shortlist has a north facing garden. At the moment our garden is SE facing and gets a fair bit of sun, although it's blocked by neighbours' houses in the afternoon.

Can anyone tell me what I could expect from a north facing plot in terms of light and ease of growing stuff, and it generally being a nice place to spend time? I'm not the world's best gardener but like to have plants with flowers and a few pots of tomatoes on the patio!

shovetheholly Sat 18-Jul-15 07:46:46

I have a north-facing garden and I love it! You can't grow all the things that you do in a south-facing one, but then there are loads of plants that won't grow in a hot, dry garden that love shady and damp conditions. (Plus, I grow all the sun lovers in the south-facing front garden).

This question gets asked a fair bit on here, and my standard response is that really every plot is very individual and it depends a whole lot not just on aspect but on things like tree cover and the angles of other buildings around you. There are north-facing gardens that get hardly any sun and are very damp, in which you can grow things like bog plants. Then there are those that are essentially partial-shade gardens, with a lot of sunlight in the summer though less in the winter. There are beautiful plants for all plots, though.

My garden is quite long, and I have a greenhouse right at the end, which is out of the shadow of the house. I am able to grow tomatoes in there no problem. However, you may struggle to grow them outside in darker, north-facing gardens - might be that you need to move them to the front.

timtam23 Sat 18-Jul-15 18:27:49

Also, at the end of a north facing garden you have a lovely south facing wall or fence so you could grow sunloving plants there.
I have a small north facing yard and things which do well are fuchsia, ferns, lady's mantle, blueberries, jasmine, pulmonaria, most spring bulbs, dicentra, Alpine strawberries for starters. Clematis do well against the south facing wall as their roots are cool but they get good sunlight. My neighbours have a beautiful wild dog rose which seems to thrive on the north east side of their yard.

timtam23 Sat 18-Jul-15 18:29:53

Oh and I found my tomatoes didn't do very well north facing but if you have a long garden & can put them at the far end, with southern exposure, they should be fine. I now grow my tomatoes at the front of the house as it faces due south & we have a little strip of front yard there

AngelsWithSilverWings Sat 18-Jul-15 18:38:36

I've got a north backing garden and it's fine. We have a patio area at the end of the garden and it gets sun for most of the day.

In the late afternoon/ early evening the patio directly outside the house is very sunny so we do get to enjoy the sun all day.

My previous house had a south backing garden but I don't think it was any better than our current garden in terms of enjoying the sun.

fivepies Sat 18-Jul-15 18:47:31

Are you me OP?! We have been discussing exactly this - we also really like a house but it has a long north facing garden. People we have talked to about it have said that it will mean the back of the house (where the kitchen is) will be really cold. It's not just about the sun but also the wind so you will be exposed to more cold wind. My Mum is a keen gardener and said she would rule out a house with a north facing garden.
I'm gutted because I really like the house but don't want to come to regret buying it. What if it is dark, cold and gloomy, especially in the winter?

ethelb Sat 18-Jul-15 18:51:54

Just going to say, a north facing kitchen being cool is a good thing. You can store stuff there is a pantry style cupboard and it will last longer. Or just fill it with wine!

RaspberryBlonde Sun 19-Jul-15 05:52:36

Thanks for the responses, I will have a quick search for those earlier threads.

Unfortunately timtam the garden slopes up at the far end so we wouldn't be able to take advantage of the south facing area at the end that effectively. There is a fair amount of space at the front although it's currently quite shady due to a huge tree.

ethelb my main concern now is also darkness in the house, we went to look again yesterday and while the garden was pleasant and sunny just after lunchtime, inside was quite dark - enough to need a light on in some rooms.

shovetheholly Sun 19-Jul-15 08:31:11

Gradient is a really significant thing, possibly more than aspect over a certain % rise. My last house before this one had a south-facing garden, but it was on an upwards incline. Despite the aspect, the house was really dark in winter.

Honestly, I think aspect is far less significant than the overall 'feel' of the lightness or darkness of space, which depends on many factors (not least the size of windows!!). If you need a light on in the summer, though, that would ring big alarm bells for me. But I am very affected by light and need a lot of it to be happy.

Callmegeoff Sun 19-Jul-15 20:14:32

I too have a north facing garden, the garden itself I love. I appreciate the shade on very hot days! We have a greenhouse at the bottom as well as a sun deck. My kitchen is however quite dark. On very overcast days I may well need lights on - i don't mind too much its kind of cosy, we plan to take a wall down to create a kitchen diner and let more light in from the front.

Bearleigh Mon 20-Jul-15 19:28:23

We have a north-facing front garden, and I grow lots of interesting things against its wall, so it's not a gardening problem. Lots of good things grow happily in shade. I'd concentrate on what it's like in the house in bad weather but rather have a north facing back of house than an East one - they seem particularly lacking in nice light. Could you do a little South-facing patio at the top of the slope OP? That could be lovely.

Hannahouse Mon 20-Jul-15 19:32:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ouryve Tue 21-Jul-15 00:29:25

We can't grow a lot in our tiny North facing front garden, but it's lovely when it's hot everywhere! We're a heat hating, fair skinned family, so we flourish in deep shade grin

Most of it is gravelled, with a beautiful flowering currant hedge on the boundary. Flowering currant is as hard as nails.

RaspberryBlonde Tue 21-Jul-15 06:03:10

There is already a little patio at the far end, it's on the level section as it's more of a steep embankment than a gentle slope. It's quite overgrown so would be some work to create a flat area.

Think we have decide against it now as the house was dark enough to almost need lights when the sun was in and there is an extension planned next door which will go past the kitchen window, making it worse. I'm also fair skinned so I like sunshine in the house where I can enjoy it at a safe distance!

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