Which side of house is best to be North or South facing?
KnackersYard · 07/05/2015 11:17
Just house hunting and would love opinions on this!
If you imagine a very standard Victorian terrace/semi or 1930s semi, with 3 or 4 bedrooms, where the living room is at the front of the house, and the kitchen and dining room is often at the back. Similarly - master bedroom and one more bedroom most likely to be at the front of the house; bathroom and other bedroom at the back.
Is it more important to have the front of the house sunny (living room), or the back (kitchen)?
We're not able to buy a house with a very big garden, but would like a smallish one.
What are people's views on this?
And if it's a choice between east and west - which side of the house is better off facing east, which side west?
All views grately appreciated!
specialsubject · 08/05/2015 19:52
east facing bedroom is indeed great for early risers. If you want the kids to be awake a 5am in summer, stick them in there. Otherwise you'll need blackout blind AND thick curtains with a proper pelmet, not silly poles.
RaphaellaTheSpanishWaterDog · 08/05/2015 19:51
Our current house has a South facing garden and as it's built into the side of a hill virtually all the windows face South. It's a long, tall, but only one room deep house that has just three small windows facing North and one each facing East/West.
This does create quite an unusual effect as the South side has masses of windows and the South facing sides of the rooms are very bright - for example our kitchen has French doors, another fully glazed door and two windows overlooking the garden - but the North sides of the rooms are considerably darker. Not to everyone's taste obviously and at the moment - with all the wet/cold weather we're getting - the house is very chilly inside.
The - partially walled - garden, which is very wide but only around 75' long, does get quite a bit of sun, but we do have masses of mature trees so we also get lots of dappled shade, which we prefer. If we do want to sit in full sun, the terrace gets sunshine most of the day if it ever stops bloody raining.
Our previous garden was also South facing - it was much larger, being a rural property, but as overall it had less large trees you could roast out there on a hot day. We had a hot tub and tbh, even with the shade sail we fitted over it, it was unbearable in the Summer months (even with the temp turned down) and we tended to use it more in Winter......
Previously we've had East facing gardens and one that fully wrapped around the house - which would have been good but the PO had sold off portions of the garden leaving only 20' depth at the widest point all round, leaving the house very overlooked.
honeyandfizz · 08/05/2015 10:44
We had a south east facing garden in our Edwardian semi. No sun in the lounge (our main room) until around 4pm - it was stone cold all the time so we moved. Our house now has an east facing garden so the sun moves round to the front later in the day. We have a raised deck area at the top of the garden so we can make the Most of the sun all day.
vienaa · 08/05/2015 09:23
We have a North facing garden, I like it, we do have a pretty big garden 110ft and we sit outside from May (when we bring the garden furniture out) till end of September (when we bring it back in) we also have a over ground pool no heating in it and we use it special June and July and Aug.... I have friends that have south facing gardens and they do complain how hot it does get.....
echt · 08/05/2015 08:28
YY to what PigletJohn said about a bedroom facing full east. Ours at the back of house does, and we get the sunrise all year as it moves back and forth. Being Australia, a sunny deck for barbies has limited uses, so the cool of an east facing deck, well-shaded is lovely while looking into the sunny garden.
When we were in the UK, our house had the same east west configuration, and very often we were grateful for the cool living room at the height of summer. As others have suggested, we had a sunny sitting out area at the back of the long garden. So true about overshadowing, length of garden, etc can all affect the sun you get.
beansagain · 08/05/2015 08:05
OP, you can get a compass app on your phone - very handy for viewings. Good luck!
BitOfFun · 08/05/2015 00:58
I have a Victorian terrace with a back yard courtyard garden that faces south-east. As it's sheltered, I can grow quite a lot of plants, but that would be increased if the back was more straightforwardly south-facing. The shadows cast in a small enclosed space make a big difference to warmth and light.
Northern light at the front of the house (the main bedroom and the main living room) is consistent and clear, bar some teatime low direct sunlight which just interferes with the telly, frankly...I really think that sunshine and light over your garden is more important.
LikeASoulWithoutAMind · 08/05/2015 00:27
My preference would be West if I had the choice.
Last garden was North facing though and yet was a complete suntrap in the height of summer. We set the main seating area slightly away from the house and it got sun all day. Plus the view out of the window was of lovely sunny beds crammed full of flowers.
The downside was the kitchen could feel a little dark. It was a Victorian house though and the Victorians preferred their kitchens North facing as it helped keep them cool.
JemimaPuddled · 08/05/2015 00:26
We had a 1930s semi, east front, west facing back garden, was lovely. Wake to the sunshine in the windows and summer evenings in the garden with a beer on the patio or kids playing out.
Current house has a due south back garden. It's chosen for its position but jury still out on how good it actually is in reality, the conservatory could well turn into an oven
CobblerBob · 08/05/2015 00:20
I have a south facing garden and the living room is at the back of the house with direct access to the garden. If it wasn't for the fact we have a sodding great tree in a neighbour's garden we'd have sun most if the day. As it is, we lose it around 6pm and I'd love to have evening sun. But said neighbour, who doesn't even live there, is a total arse and won't agree to getting it cut back, despite the fact that half is dead and just covered in ivy. I totally discount north facing gardens as I'd rather have a south or west one than a better house which probably seems bizarre.
I like my sunny bedroom and living room. My kitchen looks out onto a hill which is in clear light so it doesn't feel so dark.
PigletJohn · 07/05/2015 23:45
It's nice to have a bedroom facing East. You can have the warm sun waking you.
If you don't like that, fit thick curtains.
Twasthecatthatdidit · 07/05/2015 21:24
Actually our last garden was SW but was tiny - maybe 20 foot long - and overshadowed by neighbours tree so got no sun after 5.30. Nice sunny kitchen though - miss that!
Twasthecatthatdidit · 07/05/2015 21:19
We have a small narrow 50 foot long garden, North facing (well NNW). Not what we would have picked but we panicked somewhat with prices rising! Haven't been here long but I do wish for a south or west facing garden. Prefer our garden to an East facing garden. Back Garden gets no sunlight at all for roughly 3 months of the year (which is depressing but also the time least likely to use it), then once the clocks go back it gets sun all day to around 7. We're hoping to raise patio near house and cut down trees to get more evening light. Kitchen is currently very dark - hoping to put in skylights big windows etc. the cons can be designed around - but certainly covet a wide 100ft SW garden!
vez123 · 07/05/2015 20:55
We also have a NE facing kitchen and garden. It wasn't my preference either but it was a compromise I was willing to take to get the house in this location. Things are never perfect!
Our garden is completely sunny in the summer and it's only 40 feet long. Our patio gets the sun in the morning and is then partially in the shade until early afternoon. We also built another patio at the top end of the garden which is a real sun trap and we use it a lot on warm days in the spring and autumn.
You just have to know how much of a compromise you are willing to take when buying a house. Also, it just isn't true that North facing gardens get no sun. It all depends on the length of the garden, it's elevation, how overlooked etc.
WhatKatyDidnt · 07/05/2015 20:17
You need to also think about what surrounds the house - massive trees and houses will cast shadows over what would otherwise be a sunny garden.
We have a west facing garden that's pretty shady thanks to next door's trees - I don't mind at all though cos I hate sitting in the sun
We used to have a north facing garden that actually got lovely dappled sunshine all afternoon in the summer.
KnackersYard · 07/05/2015 20:16
Thanks all. Will have a ponder!
themagicamulet · 07/05/2015 20:16
Our garden is sw facing. My neighbour on the opposite side of the street gets no sun at all in the afternoon. Not so much of an issue now our DCs are older but it was striking when we both had toddlers - our garden would still be light and warm on summer afternoons/evenings while hers was actively chilly. Is it really true that there is a 10-15% premium for a SW facing garden?
Apatite1 · 07/05/2015 19:47
Cotedazure that's how our house is exactly. I love it.
Marmitelover55 · 07/05/2015 18:28
Our Victorian semi faces south west at the front and north east at the back. We have new bifolds and 5 veluxes in the kitchen so it is very light and bright all day. I love sitting on the patio in the sun for a coffee in the morning.
We also have a raised deck in the bottom right hand corner of the garden which has the sun on it until 8pm in the summer. Admittedly there is no sun at all in the garden in the middle of winter, but we wouldn't be out there then anyway.
Whilst I would have preferred the aspects to have been the other way round, it certainly wasn't a deal breaker for us and I have got to love it
specialsubject · 07/05/2015 16:29
I took a compass to every house I viewed. More than one agent was intrigued, and more than one said 'what's that?'. And one said 'why does it matter?'
KnackersYard · 07/05/2015 16:07
(and also not believe what the estate agents say!)
KnackersYard · 07/05/2015 16:06
Thanks all - that's very helpful! Unfortunately we definitely don't have the budget for bi-folding doors or new windows, so will have to work with what's there.
I'm definitely going to be buying a compass!
ChablisTyrant · 07/05/2015 15:42
East front and west back is lovely in a terrace. Our garden is SW and we think it is perfect. It does mean the front rooms are darker in the afternoon.
LemonEmmaP · 07/05/2015 15:32
We have a north facing back garden now, and had the same in our last house. While it's not an ideal arrangement, I don't think it's as bad as others have made out. Our current garden is long (45m perhaps) so there is plenty of garden in the sun for most of the day. Admittedly, in the winter, only the very far end of the garden gets sun, but quite frankly we're not using the garden for sun at that time of year anyway. In summer, the sun comes within a few feet of the back door during the day, and we have morning and evening sun right into the back of the house. Our living room faces south and is always warm because of the sun. Our old kitchen did tend to be a bit gloomy, but we have added Velux windows and bifold doors - it's now very light indeed. One other (minor) downside is that we have a loft extension with dormer windows on the rear (north) and Velux on the front (south) - the rooms with the Veluxes get incredibly hot in summer as the sun shines in through them all day.
Obviously I would say don't rule out houses with north facing gardens, but I would always advise ensuring you turn off any lights that are on when you view to see what the natural light is like.
CoteDAzur · 07/05/2015 15:30
Ideally, the front of the house (living room, with the largest windows) would face South. In the winter, sunlight will come at an angle and enter the house for the longest time as it goes from East to West in front of the house. In the summer, it will be higher in the sky, so will not unnecessarily heat the house.
... is what I remember from design classes at university for my architecture degree.
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