With summer fast approaching, a lot of buyer attention will naturally be drawn to the gardens of the properties they view, and a south facing garden usually means a positive tick on the pros and cons list.

The question is, however, are south facing gardens essential or merely desirable? Does a south facing garden automatically make a property better? Will having one increase the overall value? Is it all rosy in the south facing garden, or are there disadvantages as well? How do you even know if a garden faces south?

All will be revealed in below!

What is a south facing garden?

Obviously, the clue is in the name, but it’s not always completely cut-and-dried as to what exactly constitutes a south facing garden.

In short, a south facing garden is, unsurprisingly, a garden that faces south. While some homes may have front and back gardens, it is usually one to the rear that is spoken of in these geographical terms.

However, gardens do not necessarily have to point true south to be given the moniker, especially from estate agents (the deceptive fiends!). In fact, even a backyard that is really facing south-west or south-east can still be regarded as a south facing garden, so you might want to double-check to be 100% certain of how the land lies.

How to tell which way a garden faces?

The easiest, and most analogue way, is to look at the position of the sun whilst standing in the garden. As you’re probably already aware, the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, which means that a south facing garden will see that big old ball of flames rise from the left and set to the right.

This, though, isn’t a great way to find out which way a garden faces if the property in question doesn’t belong to you, but there is another very simple way to tell...enter Google Maps!

Just add the address of the property you are interested in and switch from the default view to ‘Satellite’. This will give you a bird’s eye view of the street, its properties, and, of course’ their gardens.

All you need to do now is find the property you’re interested in buying, zoom in, and look for the garden; if it’s below the property and pointing towards the bottom of the screen, the garden is facing south. Simple as that!

One thing to bear in mind when using Google Maps is that it can be easy to accidentally rotate the map, which will give you a false reading. A quick way to ensure you’re map is correctly positioned is to look at the compass arrow (bottom right of your screen on desktop, top right on mobile). If the red tip is pointing straight up, you’re good to go.

how to tell which way a garden faces

Why does a south facing garden get more sun?

The reason why a south facing garden gets more sun is all down to the fact that we sit at around 51° latitude in London. This means that although the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, it doesn’t go directly over the top of your house.

Instead, gardens facing south receive almost constant sunlight, whereas those facing north will generally find the sun blocked out by the house. Now you know!

Is a south facing garden more desirable than the rest?

should you buy south facing garden

While it may seem obvious that a south facing garden is more desirable than one facing north, a lot will come down to your own personal preferences. After all, what suits one person may not necessarily suit another.

The easiest way to sort this out is to give you both the advantages and disadvantages so you can make your own mind up:

South facing garden advantages

  • More sunlight
  • Warmer
  • Easier to grow plants
  • Better for air-drying clothes
  • Patios and decking will stay cleaner

South facing garden disadvantages

  • May be too hot for some
  • Furniture and artwork may suffer ‘bleaching’
  • Front of the house will be cold
  • Driveway will be damper and more prone to moss

Will having a south facing garden affect property value?

This question might seem as obvious as the one we started this post off with, but the answer will probably surprise most people.

South facing gardens are, without doubt, desirable to the majority of buyers. People like to garden, sunbathe, and generally enjoy their outdoor space during the summer months, so having a garden that gets the most sun will be a selling point, no question.

However, when it comes to actually adding value to the property, the amount is negligible at best. This is good news for sellers, as there’s very little you can do about which way your house faces! Our advice would be to concentrate on high ROI home improvements instead if you want to push your property price upwards.


If you’re looking to buy or sell a house with a garden, look no further than Petty Son and Prestwich. We have over a century of operating in East London behind us, so we’re perfectly positioned to make your property dreams a reality...regardless of whether your garden faces north, east, west, or south!


south facing garden benefits