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Which Direction Should My House Face

Updated on August 5, 2012

When planning the design of a new house or when purchasing an existing home, the direction of the building in relation to the sun, is always a factor to consider. There is never an exact formula for sunlight exposure, but the optimum angle of building placement should maximize the time of day you wish to enjoy the sun.

Decide what time of day the sun is wanted. The backyard is the place most homeowners spend a majority of their time outdoors. This is particularly true of homes with a nice outdoor patio space, deck, or a swimming pool. For outdoor living space, ideally the backyard should face east or southeast. An east-facing yard that is not shielded by trees or other buildings receives early morning sunlight. The sunlight extends into late afternoon. Shade cast from the back of the house typically starts in the afternoon and extends through the rest of the evening. This is great for relaxing in the afternoon and evening hours. The opposite is true of yards facing north. There is a reason that moss grows well on the north side of trees. North facing yards are only good if you enjoy shade a majority of the time.

Consider yard objects that block the sun. Buildings, trees, bushes, walls, and other landscape or hard-scape items can shield the sunlight. Shields are useful to gain shade in yards that do not face an optimum direction to the sun. Shields to sunlight can also hinder a yard facing the correct direction. In general the following guidelines are used to have sunlight in a yard or specific direction of a building based on the direction it is facing.

Direction Facing the Sun

East - Sunlight in the morning
SE - early morning sunlight to late morning
South - sunlight late morning to early afternoon
SW - Early PM sunlight to late PM
West - Mid afternoon to late afternoon sun
North - No good sunlight hours except mid-day


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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Great things to be aware of.

    • lauramaryscott profile image


      6 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      When I was attending college, I enrolled in a class about energy. I took notes and when I purchased my home I made certain it met all of the requirements I learned about in that class. For example, I live in Boise, Idaho, and if your driveway is on the south side of your house the sun will melt off the snow and ice in the winter time. The north side is cold in the winter. Avoid using a door on the north side of your home in the winter time. My sister built a wooden fence patio area at the front entrance of our childhood home in Wendell, Idaho, and it blocks the cold north wind. It is amasing how much warmer the house is after building that enclosure. How many supermarkets have you seen where the customers have to walk across snow and ice to get to the entrance of the store. I shop avoid shopping there in the winter time. Nice article. Thanks.


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