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help with understanding what "facing" we are and garden rehaul

So , After 10 years and the first lockdown gave me a hiatus to breathe and look at my garden I have got into nurturing and caring for my garden .However there are so many things I see wrong but I am a bit rabbit in the headlights in trying to work out what to put where . The biggest thing that confuses me is I hear about south facing or north facing gardens ... I have held a compass in the garden and will post a picture of that - it is me standing at the back of the house facing the garden : What FACING am I ?
Where should things really go ? The bed on the far left is very sunny then we have a huge bay and pear tree then everything after that is in shade - a huge elder or ash tree gives half the lawn massive shade and in the Autumns that area of lawn is a quagmire .
The sun tends to linger at the back of the garden where the wing seat is - about 8 years ago I had it paved over- but feel I may like to extend that area and almost turn the garden round by 45 degrees .
I am thinking of approaching garden designers but the 2 I have approached are super busy . I am going o place some raised beds on the lawn this year for veg and cut  flowers and have a huge wish list of what I want to do with the garden ( tropical jungle bright colours) but still want to retain my shed/greenhouse etc ...I am like a dog chasing its tail and become immobilised with not knowing where on earth to start and feel overwhelmed.
Garden is 13m wide , just under 19m long . `the patio is about 4m long .
I am not interested in my lawn - I would like to have a veg plot/ cut flower plot/ hidden seats/ water feature/ dining area and lounging area - yep I want it ALL !!! :D
any advice from you sages gratefully accepted ...


  • owd potterowd potter teapot townPosts: 836
    If I understand correctly you are facing just North of East.
    If so, sun will be rising over the right hand side of your rear fence and setting on the front of the house?..
    Just another day at the plant...
  • selinasallyselinasally Posts: 166
    If I understand correctly you are facing just North of East.
    If so, sun will be rising over the right hand side of your rear fence and setting on the front of the house?..
    im in total confusion - husband thinks the total opposite to me - I am so confused- I know the sun shines down onto the swing seat at the end of the day and in the morning the patio has the sun ....
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,574
    Looking from the house to the bottom of the garden, which side does the sun rise and which side does it set?
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • selinasallyselinasally Posts: 166
     sun rises on right hand side as you look out from house to garden and sets in my front garden, pretty much directly as I look out the  front door - helpful gardening neighbour 
  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 6,330
    edited March 2021

    Using this pic, assuming this is basically which way you were looking when you took the compass reading, the sun in summer will rise behind the green water butt on the left. It'll rise diagonally up from left to right and be at the highest point on the right of the picture, then it will start to drop down behind your house during the afternoon, from right to left behind you. So the shade moves out from your house with the patio in shadow first, with the shadow moving down the garden and from near left to far right. So the bottom right corner keeps the sun latest.

    Your garden faces east.
    The fence to the left faces south and the plants are in the sun until early afternoon.
    The fence to the right faces north and the plants are in shade most of the day (probably get a bit of sunshine in the morning).
    The bottom fence faces west and will likely be the warmest place in the garden.

    Any tall trees or shrubs on the right hand side will shade your garden, but that big tree by the swing seat isn't yours, is it, so not much you can do with it?

    I'd be inclined to draw a diagonal line from the left side of your patio to the swing seat and plan to put veg and flower beds to the left of the line, shrubs, winter colour and a path to the right of the line (in whatever shape makes you happy). As a starting point.

    “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first” 
  • selinasallyselinasally Posts: 166
    Thank you @raisingirl- so yes the first bed on the left by the pizza oven is the sunniest but then between the shed and the bay on the left it so all damp and shady - where the swing seat is there is a pear tree - but I am thinking of taking this down .
    the sun tends to do exactly as you said and the shade comes across from the left starting with patio and we normally end up dragging the lounge chairs further and further from the house until we reach the swing seat .
    I want to make A jungly tropical place but that is a great help thanks x
  • edhelkaedhelka GwyneddPosts: 2,267
    Your garden faces 64° NE, as the compass says. East-facing, very slightly to the north.
    But this doesn't matter at all. Forget it. The only thing that matters is how much sun the borders get.
    If you read somewhere that a plant is suitable for a south-facing garden, that doesn't mean you can't grow that plant. Every decent-sized garden has south-facing (and other sides facing) parts.
    The "whatever-facing" is good information to have to estimate how much sun a garden gets but even then it can get tricky because houses aren't the only things casting shade (a long north-facing garden would get much more sun than a wide and short south-facing garden). You already know how much sun your garden gets (if you are not sure, measure it in summer, not now).
    Your left border should be very sunny, which is perfect for vegetables. You could have a table on your patio for a morning coffee and another seating area at the back, to catch the evening sun, maybe with a glass of wine. Place your seating areas first. Then all other important features. Connect them with paths. And planting can go everywhere around.
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