North Facing

Have recently acquired a North facing back garden 24 mtrs length x 23 mtrs width.    No trees.  Normal sized 1 storey house.   Garden slops away downwards from the house onto large uncultivated land which is a further 6ft drop.   Have not yet experienced what is in the garden: it is rather overgrown.  Path feels slippery.  Looks like might have had raspberries. So far have only read negative reports about North facing gardens.   I like flowers & veg in particular & lots of both.  Any suggestions please?



  • if the back of your house is north facing ,it does not mean that you wont get any sun . for instance as the sun climbs higher each day the shadows cast by your house will shorten . any and most flowers and shrubs would thrive in your garden giving the right position and soil quality

  • sotongeoffsotongeoff Posts: 9,806

    I have a north facing rear garden as has been said as the sun gets higher it gets more sun-most things grow- no problemimage

  • Bunny ...Bunny ... Posts: 3,455
    My side garden is north facing and again gets sun in the summer time once the sun climbs , once the sun appears watch where it appears . You will soon get it planted .
  • Thank you, it is good to know there are some positives.

  • Bunny ...Bunny ... Posts: 3,455
    It's not always bad news , currently our house is shading the side but soon ....image
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener LeicsPosts: 6,473

    I'm another one with a North-facing back garden and haven't found it particularly difficult to grow anything.  As others have said, parts close to the house will be shaded until later in the year when the Sun is higher in the sky, and Spring-flowering bulbs near the house tend to appear a couple of weeks later than those in the front garden.  If you are planning on having a greenhouse at some point, I'd site that at the far end so that the house doesn't shade it when the Sun is low in the early and late parts of  the year.

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • I posted a similar question on the old BBC forum about 2.5 years ago when we moved into a new build with 15 x 15 meter north facing back garden.

    I was advised to make a sun chart.  I got a piece of A4 paper drew boxes about 2" square in 4 columns with little gaps below each box. Each column represented the approx time of day; 9-11, 11-1, 1-3, 3-5. I drew (roughly) the sun lounge & shed as reference points in each square. Took several copies. When the sun shone (!) I drew in the appropriate timed square where the line of shade was, & wrote the date under it.

    I was pleasantly surprised.  We are now just getting a few shafts of sunshine through the gaps between the houses image.

    Hope this makes sense; I'd nearly finished the first time & it disappearedimage.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 43,612

    One of my favourite memories is of listening to Gardeners Questiontime and hearing the late great Geoffrey Smith wax lyrical about the flowers that can be grown in the shade image

    No-one knows if you've done your housework, but everyone knows if you've done your gardening !
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 10,618

    My back garden faces north so only gets full sun before 9am and after about 3pm when the sun is up.   We have no neighbours t cast shade but the house does so parts of the garden are in full sun in mid summer but the couple of metres immediately behind the house get none between 9 and 3 though there's plenty of light.

    I grow clematis Nelly Moser, Blekitny Atholl/Blue Angel and Ravarrhinne on the back wall and have tried roses New Dawn, Guniée and Falsatff, all of whom grew well and flrwoered well for several seasons but all of which have been clobbered to death by frosts below -20C in recent winters.

    I use the area at the back of the integral garage as a work area and the aea behind the hall and dining room as a terrace.   Then there's a dampish bed planted with Japanese anemones, ferns, chelone, astilbe, assorted primula, snakes head fritillaries, astilboides, hostas, a couple of dwarf conifers and some hackonechloa grass in there and very happy.    Further along I have a mix of hostas and hardy geraniums.

    The rest of the garden gets a fair amount of sun so I plant all sorts of things - clematis, assorted shrubs, aquliegias, thalictrums, hemerocallis, phlox, hardy geraniums, sedums, peonies, rheums, roses, persicaria, iris, ornamental grasses in the carex and miscanthus families and many more.

    We also have a veg patch which does very well with rhubarb, soft fruits and salads  and things like fennel, beetrrot and broccoli but is now proving too cold for winter veg but I doubt your winters are as cold as ours have been recently so no reason for you not to try.

    I suggest you spend your first year in teh garden waiting to see what grows as much will be lurking under the soil waiting for spring..    There'll be plenty for you to do cutting away the old dead growth from perennials, tidying up shrubs and cleariing paths.   Be ready with wildlife friendly slug pellets in case hostas and hemerocallis emerg as slugs love to munch their new growth.    Take photos and make notes of plants you want to keep, multiply, rejuvenate or get rid of and also gaps where you can introduce new plants.  Fill any obvious gaps with easy annuals this year till you see what you have and what you need.

    Most of all, take the time to observe and enjoy whilst deciding how best to improve to meet your needs and ambitions for the garden.


    The Vendée, France
  • Matty2Matty2 Posts: 4,820

    Previous house was N facing. we found the at the back I was able to plant sun- lovers and there was a GH. Don't despair there are many plants that will grow in shade/N facing garden. I also grew veggies in the sunny spot

    I guess you need to clear the paths first rather than the growth to see what structure you have in your garden. If the path is slippy you can get Algon which you spray on and it will remove the algae. It is harmless (smells of vinegar!) and make it safer, mind you has to be done on a dry dayimage

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