house with a patio overlooking an east facing garden

What To Do With Your East Facing Garden

An east facing garden seems to be one of the least desired. However, east facing gardens bring many benefits that some disappointed homeowners may not have realised. From the twittering sound of bird songs in the morning to the natural protection of an east facing garden, you can make the most of the direction your garden faces with a few clever design tips. Take a look at our suggestions for designing an east facing garden so you can make the most of every inch. 

How To Work Out The Direction Of Your Garden

a house with an east facing garden

Working out the direction of your garden is simple but essential. After all, the direction of your garden determines how much sunlight it will receive, plus where it will be best to plant those shade-loving plants. The direction of your garden is often called the aspect and will sit within the parameters of north, south, east and west. 

To work out the direction of your garden, you just need to take a compass (or pull up a compass app on your phone) to the back wall of your home. Then, point your compass to the back of the garden and take a look at the cardinal direction it settles on. The direction that your compass points to is the aspect of your garden.

The Advantages & Disadvantages of An East Facing Garden

old fashioned house with east facing drive

Although many of those looking for a new home favour south facing gardens due to their prolonged sun exposure, other garden aspects bring their own advantages and disadvantages. For example, an east facing garden receives most of its sun exposure in the morning, encouraging the lovely sound of bird songs in your garden as you awake. 

Advantages

  • Lovely Morning Sun – As we touched on previously, east facing gardens get most of their sunlight in the morning. This means you’ll wake up to a bright morning with the sun shining through your windows, and you can have breakfast outdoors in the sunlight if you desire.  
  • Morning Bird Song – Additionally, morning sunlight brings out the beautiful song of morning larks. The theory is that birds sing in the early hours of the because it is the driest and coldest time of the day, allowing their songs to travel farther. They’ll be travelling right through your window in an east facing garden!
  • Shade Loving Plants Will Thrive – Some plants prefer plenty of shade with only partial exposure to sunlight, and an east facing garden can provide this. So, if there are any plants you’d like to grow that can’t stand the sun, put that shady east facing garden to good use!
  • Limited Sun Damage – Too much sun can be more damaging than some may realise. Consistent sunlight can lead to faded curtains and furniture, cracked paint and scalded plants. Fortunately, since the sun exposure in an east facing garden is relatively short, sun damage is not a huge problem. 
  • Safe From The Effects of A Drought – With our summers getting warmer, the alarm of drought is becoming more real each year. Fortunately, an east facing garden isn’t exposed to full-day sun, which can easily dry up a garden. So, the water loss in an east facing garden is much less. 
  • Mould Doesn’t Pose A Threat – Too much shade and moisture can adversely affect a garden, particularly water damage and mould development. However, an east facing garden receives a more balanced amount of sunlight throughout the day, preventing the chances of a side of the home becoming a breeding ground for mould. 

Disadvantages

  • Colder Afternoons and Evenings – Of course, with an east facing garden getting the majority of its sunlight in the morning, you can expect to experience colder afternoons and evenings. This means that you will only be able to make the most of the warmth in the morning, so long summer evenings outdoors may be a bit chillier than expected.  
  • Less Desirable – South facing gardens are undeniably the most preferred aspect since they have plenty of warm sun throughout the day and provide many more opportunities. Due to this, an east facing garden may make your property less desirable should you put it on the market. 
  • Some Plants Are Not Suitable – Although some plants will flourish planted in full or partial shade, there are plenty of others that won’t. Many popular plants require more sun than an east facing garden can offer, primarily a range of vegetables. Of course, there are always ways around this – greenhouses and polytunnels are perfect alternatives. 
  • Darker Rooms – With colder afternoons and evenings come darker and cooler rooms inside the home. Unlike west facing gardens, which have prolonged warmth after midday, an east facing garden has a limited amount of sunlight and natural heat after lunchtime. This means that the rooms of your home will be much cooler and darker than other garden aspects. 

Read More: What To Do With A West Facing Garden

What To Do With An East Facing Garden

a modern home with an east facing garden

With the benefits and drawbacks of an east facing garden in mind, it’s time to turn to designing. You can use the benefits of an east facing garden to your advantage to create a garden that makes the most of the sunlight it gets without neglecting the shade, if you know what you’re doing. Here are our tips for designing an east facing garden for an outdoor space to be proud of:

Invest In Garden Lighting

string lights in a garden

Although morning sunlight is certainly a benefit in an east facing garden, it does mean a darker space throughout the afternoon and evening. So, combat this darkness by investing in some good garden lighting. There are many unique ways to create a cosy glow no matter how dark your garden can get. For example, you could install some garden screening ideas draped with fairy or festoon lights or add some stake lights to your lawn.

Here are some more of our favourite garden lighting ideas:

  • Wall lights
  • LED lights on trees or along pathways
  • Hanging pendant lights
  • Spotlights on focal points
  • Sleek solar lighting
  • Tea lights
  • Flower shaped lights

Break Out A Fire Pit

a lit fire pit in an east facing garden

While we’re on the subject of illuminating your east facing garden, a fire pit can be the perfect tool for this. As well as providing some much-needed warmth and light to your east garden, a fire pit also gives you the ideal socialising spot. Bunch plenty of comfy seats around your fire pit and add a table or two for refreshments; you’ve got the perfect hang-out spot in no time at all. Plus, if you get the right fire pit accessories, you’ll have your very own back garden grill to keep everyone warm on those summer nights. 

Add A Breakfast Bar

a breakfast bar in an east facing garden

Make the most of the morning sunlight that an east facing garden receives with an outdoor breakfast bar. A breakfast bar makes a fantastic addition to a kitchen, but a breakfast bar outdoors in an east facing garden takes it that one step further. You can start the day off right by connecting with nature as you eat your breakfast beneath the warming morning sunlight and listening to the charming sounds of the birds. 

Plant For Partial Shade

purple and yellow flowers growing in a flower bed

Fortunately, plenty of plants thrive in partial or full shade. In most cases, these are best for east facing gardens. So, if you want to make a garden full of colour and texture, look for plants that can withstand the shade that an east facing garden provides. 

Take a look at our plant suggestions for an east facing garden:

  • Geranium
  • Hydrangea
  • Lily of the Valley
  • Christmas fern
  • Begonias
  • Rhododendrons

Put Up A Shed In The Shade

a garden shed in an east facing garden

You can definitely make the most of the shade in an east facing garden since it’s a perfect place to put up a shed. A shed is beneficial in any garden if you need to store your gardening tools or need a safe place to keep your furniture over winter. Plus, with an east facing garden having plenty of shady spots, installing a shed is a great way to use up those cooler spaces and give you more time in the sunlight. 

Hang Up Some Bird Feeders 

Birds prefer eating in the early morning at first light, although they will continue to hunt for food throughout the rest of the day. Since an east facing garden gets most of its sunlight in the morning, you can expect plenty of birds to hang around your property. Birds are incredibly beneficial for your garden since they help keep it healthy, especially with pests like aphids. So, keep them around by hanging up some bird feeders where the morning sunlight hits your property. As long as you ensure your feeders are stocked up for a dawn feeding, your garden should be rich with birds in no time.   

Read More: How To Attract Birds To Your Garden

Designing An East Facing Garden

Owning an east facing garden may initially seem like a bit of a nightmare, but it comes with its own set of opportunities. Follow some of our design tips, and your east facing garden will be your ultimate socialising and relaxing spot in no time.

Do you have any ideas for someone working with an east facing garden? Leave your thoughts below! 

Sources

https://www.wbu.com/birds-sing-early-morning/

https://www.kennedywildbirdfood.co.uk/news/best-time-of-day-to-feed-birds/

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