a house with a west facing garden

What To Do With Your West Facing Garden

You may not think about the direction of your garden, but the effect it can have on your garden design should be enough to change that! How your garden faces can influence many factors, including the amount of sunlight your property gets, at what time of the day, how damp it will get, and what kinds of plants you can grow there. Additionally, your garden’s direction can even influence your property’s desirability to potential buyers – so it’s more important than you think! Fortunately, no matter what direction your garden faces, there are ways you can style it perfectly.

Although a west facing garden may not be on the top of every homeowner’s list, a garden facing in this direction can bring many benefits. Find out how to make the most of your west facing garden with our easy guide!

How To Work Out Which Direction Your Garden Faces

Fortunately, working out which direction your garden faces is often easier than designing for it! The direction your garden faces is also known as the aspect and will either be north, south, east or west. Your garden’s aspect affects which parts of your outdoor space receive the most sun and which remain in shadow for most or some of the day.

To determine your garden’s direction, take a compass and stand by the exterior wall around the back of your home. Then, point your compass to the back of your garden, away from your home. The cardinal direction your compass points to is the aspect of your garden.  

Read More: What To Do With An East Facing Garden

The Advantages & Disadvantages of A West Facing Garden

the front of a property with a west facing garden

Each garden aspect brings its own advantages and disadvantages. For example, a west garden gets plenty of sun during the afternoon, meaning plenty of plants can thrive in these gardens. However, since a west facing garden gets so much of the sun during the afternoon, it can often be too hot for young children to play outside there in the afternoon, limiting their number of hours outdoors.

Here are some more advantages and disadvantages of a west facing garden:

Advantages

  • Less Use Of Electricity – West facing gardens receive plenty of sunlight from early afternoon until sunset. This means that your property will be lit up with natural light, reducing the need for flipping on those light switches.
  • Longer Entertaining Time – A west facing garden is blessed with the sun all afternoon and evening right up until sunset, so it stays light and hot well into the evening. This means there’s plenty more time for entertaining guests outdoors in a west facing garden.
  • Perfect For Flower Lovers – As we touched on before, there are plenty of flowers that will thrive in the partial sun that west facing gardens provide throughout the day. More on that later!
  • Plenty of Morning Sunlight – If you have a west facing back garden, you will get sunlight creeping up the front of your house in the morning, which is perfect if you like to wake up naturally alongside the sun.
  • Morning Shade – As well as sunlight with which to wake up, a west facing garden guarantees a shady spot in the garden in the morning. Whether you want to have breakfast al fresco on summer mornings or the children want to play outdoors, a west facing garden ensures that it will be the perfect balance of warmth and shade to do so.

Disadvantages

  • Warmer House – During the summer, a house with a west facing garden will receive large amounts of sun during the afternoon and into the evening. Unfortunately, this can lead to some rooms getting too hot.
  • Potentially Undesirable – The most desired garden aspect in the UK is south facing since it gets just the right amount of sun and shade[i]. Potential buyers may not be willing to pay as high a price for a property with a west facing garden.  
  • Limited Afternoon Outdoor Hours – Of course, a west facing garden can provide plenty of recreational time in the morning and evening. Still, during the afternoon, when a west facing garden is at its warmest, it may be too hot for you to use your garden comfortably.  
  • Dark Back Rooms – Although the sun can be glorious in the afternoon and evening, these back rooms will be dark and cold during the morning.
  • Morning Brightness – Although copious amounts of sunlight in the morning may seem beneficial to some, it may be too much for others, so you may need to install blackout curtains or blinds.

What To Do With A West Facing Garden

a west facing garden

With all those pros and cons in mind, we’re on to the best part – designing your west facing garden! It’s essential to keep the points we’ve mentioned at the forefront when creating a west facing garden since being aware of them will ensure that you can optimise your garden to make the most of its advantages.

Here are our tips on what to do with your west facing garden:

Keep Your Windows Clear

a house with a west facing garden and large trees

As we’ve established, a west facing garden gets the majority of its sunlight in the afternoon, which is incredibly beneficial to both your social life and electricity bill. But to reap the benefits of this afternoon warmth and light, you’ll want to keep your windows clear to allow in the sun. So, try and keep your exterior sills clear of any clutter or garden paraphernalia to make the most of your west facing garden indoors. However, you might want to consider attaching a window flower box to your sill – your flowers can thrive in the sunlight without affecting its reach into your home.

Plant For Partial Shade and Full Sun

flowers in a west facing garden

Due to the shade they receive in the morning, west facing gardens are widely considered partially shady. So, if you’re planning to flex your green fingers, you’ll want to find plants that can thrive in partial shade or full sun, depending on where you plan to plant them. Here are some of our favourite plant suggestions for a west facing garden:

  • Geraniums
  • Tulips
  • Phlox
  • Roses
  • Daffodils
  • Campanulas
  • Elderflower
  • Jasmine
  • Magnolia
  • Coneflowers
  • Yarrows
  • Sedums
  • Lantanas
  • Marigolds
  • Aspidistra Elatior

Set Up The Perfect Party Spot

seating area in a west facing garden

The sun exposure of a west facing garden ensures that your back garden and the back rooms of your house will receive plenty of sun from early afternoon until well into the evening. Doesn’t that already sound like the perfect place for a get-together?! Use your garden’s sun exposure and warmth to your advantage by putting together the ideal socialising spot. Whether you choose to do this outdoors in your garden or on your patio is entirely up to you, but a west facing garden guarantees that you and your friends will be warm and snug well into the night.

Try Zoning

a flower garden with chairs for socialising

Zoning has become massive in the gardening world, particularly in small gardens. The art of zoning your garden means to physically divide your outdoor space into defined ‘rooms’, each with a specific purpose. This allows you to make the most of your versatile garden space by giving each section a purpose, ensuring that no inch is left unused.

In a west facing garden, zoning can come in particularly handy. Since you’ll get shade in the morning and sun in the afternoon and evening, you can plan your zones around this. For example, you could have a play area for the children right in the morning shade to give them plenty of outdoor recreational time without the risks of sun exposure. Then, you could have an outdoor dining or socialising zone in a warmer spot for long summer nights with friends and family.

Consider how you want to use your garden and what each use will require, and then you can plan your zones perfectly around this.      

Get some zoning inspiration with our garden screening ideas

Consider Adding Layers

A layered garden design is beautiful in any garden, but it can be incredibly successful in a west facing garden. Layering in a garden means planting many different species of flowers or plants in the same area to encourage ongoing interest all year round. Usually, a layered garden design includes plants passing their flowering period and immediately being followed by others that burst into bloom to continue the design.

A west facing garden is the perfect backdrop for a layered garden since many plants will thrive in the sun exposure this garden aspect provides. Include a mix of colours, textures and blooming times in your layered garden design to boost interest all year round.     

Include Raised Beds

Raised beds are a dream come true for gardeners, especially those who own a west facing garden since these garden types are perfect for growing vegetables. For example, if your garden gets at least six hours of sun, you will have a fair chance of growing vegetables like tomatoes and peppers with a high yield. This is where raised beds come into play.

Raised beds have a multitude of benefits, including fewer weeds, better water retention and more growing space. Additionally, if you have mobility issues, raised beds are the perfect solution to gardening without causing any serious problems. Growing vegetables in raised beds is becoming increasingly popular due to the benefits they provide, so why not put your gardens’ sun exposure to good use by trying them out for yourself?    

Styling Your West Facing Garden

Having a west facing garden may not be what every gardening homeowner dreams about, but this garden aspect brings many benefits. By following some of our tips, we hope you’ll be able to be on the receiving end of some of these benefits!

Do you have any tips on styling a west facing garden? Let us know your thoughts!

Sources

  [i] https://www.pettyson.co.uk/about-us/our-blog/536-south-facing-garden-essential-or-desirable

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