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Please tell me about the different orientations (north/south etc) of your house and how they affect you?

(20 Posts)
crazyboots Fri 06-Jun-14 12:35:19

Several houses I have viewed and liked have had northish orientations at the back, which everyone tells me is bad (although we are south facing now and its a bit sauna like). However some have mitigating factors, one I particularly like is north-west at the back (not sure what this would mean sun wise) but the main living space is dual aspect so I assume the front window is south east and it has a glass extension to the kitchen, its 3 sided glass with a roof light in the ceiling ? does this mean is gets sun from most directions or does the north still dominate? Then my friend has a north facing garden and its a complete suntrap because the sun comes uninterrupted from east and west.

Such a costly thing to get wrong and I always seem to view on cloudy days (aargh) so I though a general mn survey might help!

What direction do various bits of your house face and what are the pros and cons?

VivaLeBeaver Fri 06-Jun-14 12:45:57

If the back of the current house is south facing just imagine what the front of your house is like now and won't that be what the back of your new house will be like?

I thought having a house where the front faced south was a good thing?

Never really thought about it. My house at the front faces west south west and it gets really hot and sunny at the front of the house. Back garden is massive so we always have sun. But the garden nearer the house gets shady earlier on in the evening as the sun gets lower.

crazyboots Fri 06-Jun-14 12:51:38

I suppose it depends where the living space is. Our back faces south now and its very light and sunny and that's where our kitchen, dining and living space is. The front living room faces north but as we're on a busy road we have high bushes at the front which conceals any north/south thing.

wowfudge Fri 06-Jun-14 12:56:47

Ours faces west so sun at the back house in the mornings and right in the living room window in the afternoon so you have to draw the curtains to see the TV!

drivenfromdistraction Fri 06-Jun-14 13:04:07

Our house sounds similar to the one you like.

It faces south-east at the front (living room, our bedroom, 'ornamental garden'). That's lovely, it's flooded with sun in the mornings (so much so that we have sheer blinds for if it's too hot), and in summer is still nice and light right up until late evening.

At the back, (kitchen/diner, kids bedrooms, main garden) it faces north-west. Those bedrooms get loads of afternoon/evening sun (black out blinds necessary for kids bedrooms...) The kitchen has big glass French windows and roof-lights so gets loads of light all day at the diner end, which is nice. The garden is fairly small, but gets plenty of sun (the position of the sun changes through the day. The great thing about it being north-west facing is that the sun gets stronger through the afternoon/early-evening which is also when the garden gets most use. A part of the garden is in shade from a large tree, and another part tends to be a suntrap - the combination is good.

I was worried when we moved in about the idea of a north-west facing garden, but I really like it now. I suppose it depends how built up around the garden yours is - ours is quite open, so yes, sun from several angles.

Pinkje Fri 06-Jun-14 13:12:22

If you have a phone with GPS you can download an app that shows you what sunshine you'll get. Mind you, you have to be in situ so if you're planning a second viewing you could use it, won't matter then if it's cloudy. I'll see if I can find it's name.

crazyboots Fri 06-Jun-14 13:16:13

OOh driven that sounds perfect, one thing I don't like about our south facing living space is that on warm days its hot in the kitchen/diner by mid morning and on a hot day its sweltering by lunch. However was still looking for south facing as thought the alternative was gloomy cold but that sounds like it works well.

It does depend on size of garden, and height of fences/hedges.
I've a terraced house, facing south east at the front. I get v early morning sun in my bedroom - wakes me hours before the alarm clock!

The front of my house gets direct sun till about 12 in the day, so is quie bright and warm.

The back never gets direct sun downstairs except just before sunset - it faces north west, in the morning when you walk from the front to the back of the house it's like being in a different building. The neighbour to the west has quite a high hedge, and as the garden is only the width of the house, it's quite shady all the time (including in the afternoon/evening when I want to use it)

She is very nice, but not a gardener - she'll let me into her garden to cut the hedge on her side (but I'm lazy and haven't got round to it!)

I work FT so am not in the house in the mornings during the week, so I don't really benefit from the sun being at the front - so you might want to think about when you are going to be in the house most.

drivenfromdistraction Fri 06-Jun-14 13:27:17

If I were you, OP, I'd try and go and view the house again at different times, or at least walk past and peer in to get an idea of what it's like at different times of day.

Pinkje Fri 06-Jun-14 13:28:53

There are many apps, but Mr Sun is free and looks like it gives good info. I haven't used it myself but I know my estate agent uses something similar to persuade house buyers on rainy days.

crazyboots Fri 06-Jun-14 13:33:53

Brilliant, thanks for the app. Will definitely take to 2nd viewing. We live quite a way from the house so can't really walk past (and its in a tiny cul-de-sac so can't really do it casually!)

Currently work 2 days in office then rest from home so in the house a fair bit.

drivenfromdistraction Fri 06-Jun-14 13:52:41

I work from home too OP, and I like being able to move around the house at different times of day / year. I usually sit at the back of the house in the morning, because I don't like it to be too bright when I'm using my computer, then move into the front room if I'm working in the evening and want some nice evening light.

MewlingQuim Fri 06-Jun-14 14:08:19

I am a gardener with a North facing garden. Not the usual choice.

The garden gets plenty of sun from March to October which is when we want to be out there. It is cold and shady in the winter

The kitchen diner faces the garden so is also colder in the winter, but then the south facing lounge is nice and warm and light. I'm summer the lounge is boiling hot and we prefer to go to the cool side of the house.

Sometimes we are tempted to knock through the wall as it would even out the temperature and light, but sometimes we think it's better to have separate rooms.

Whichever way your house faces there will be a hot side and a cool side. Personally I've never understood most people's desire for a south facing patio or worse, conservatory, which is then baking hot and unusable during the summer.

Spurious Fri 06-Jun-14 14:17:29

It's about working with what you have, not against it.

I like gardening and our back garden is south facing, downward sloping two ways vertical and horizontal, very well drained and chalky. Certain plants love it, lots hate it.

But I can grow some that hate it in the front garden! So I have deep red roses and hydrangeas that would die in the back at the front.

In terms of inside, our house is all about the view, so we have a big wall of glass across the back so the whole living and eating space is very bright. The hall and playroom, which are at the front of the house, are much much cooler. It's great having such variety within a house, I think.

ShevelKnievel Fri 06-Jun-14 14:39:54

Our front faces south and our reception rooms are at the front so nice and sunny

Our garden is north facing but long. 2/3 is sunny throughout the day. The part closest to the house is shaded but this is great as the kids can have their sandpit etc there and be out of the midday sunshine

Works perfectly although meant to be less desirable

ShotgunNotDoingThePans Fri 06-Jun-14 14:51:32

Timely thread. We came back from checking out a house we're interested in feeling rather glum yesterday - the 'evening sun' we'd been told about was non-existent and the garden was in total shade at7pm.

Thanks to Pinkje I've found another fantastic app called Light trac which shows any location at any time of day or date you choose. It's mainly for photographers but obviously is fantastic for this purpose. I couldn't work out the MrSun one but this is easy for thicko!

Will be stalking checking back hourly now to get a full picture of exactly how the sun moves around the garden.

I do appreciate the points about sun not being necessary all day long, but we're currently on the side of a hill with woods behind, so lose the sun at about 4pm. Would be nice to have it a bit longer for the occasional barbie!

unrealhousewife Fri 06-Jun-14 15:24:39

I think it's more important to consider whether you are west or east facing. We are north west and the sun rises in the front and sets at the back. It works for us but we had to put a big gazebo up outside the back door to stop too much late sun which then glares through the window. This actually works well because it gives us privacy as well.

You get sun loving and shade loving plants, you just adapt them to suit your plot. As our garden is tiny we have a central bed which allows for sun lovers.

RuddyDuck Sat 07-Jun-14 06:56:39

Our house is positioned so the front faces north-east and the back faces south-west. I love it as there is always sun in the garden.

Our living room is at the front of the house, so that can feel a bit dark, but tbh we only use it in the evenings or in winter, so that doesn't bother us. The back of the house is where we have our kitchen/family room, and that gets loads of light. There is sometimes a problem in winter when the sun is very low, and comes in through the windows. We have blinds though.

I would find it diffucult to live in a house where the garden faced north, but we tend to live in the garden in the summer.

Valsoldknickers Sat 07-Jun-14 20:43:19

My home has the same orientation as RuddyDuck's and my experience of it is exactly the same.

I grew up in a house where the back garden was the opposite and our main rooms were at the back. It always felt dark and a bit dreary to be honest (although maybe my parent's choice of decor didn't help either)!

nottheparrot Sat 07-Jun-14 21:03:54

Something to consider is whether you have/might have young children playing outside in the back garden.

One house we had, with a south facing garden, was a nightmare with regard to keeping them covered up, sun lotion etc.

The next house had a (smaller) north-east facing garden - never any concern with getting sunburnt - so much easier!

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