If you are buying a new property or you are thinking of redesigning your garden landscape, you may want to know which way your garden faces because we all know that plants need sunlight to grow. The orientation of your property can have a significant impact on what types of plants you can grow successfully with optimal growing conditions. That is why it is important to know which direction your garden faces so you can maximise the amount of sun each plant gets. But do you know if a southeast-facing garden is good for plants, will there be enough sun in the morning, or will you be in the shade in the evening? Below, we will look at the pros and cons of a south-east facing garden.

South East Facing Garden
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How to Know Which Direction Your Garden Faces?

There are now various different ways that you can determine which way your garden faces. Some of these ways have been around for centuries whilst others have come along with the advancement of technology.

South East Facing Garden – Garden Doctor


To this day, one of the most accurate tools for navigation and finding which direction you are facing is a Compass (Amazon link – opens in a new tab). Compasses have been around for an awfully long time and are extremely easy to use.

In the Northern hemisphere, the needle of a compass will point due North, so if you stand out in your garden, by using a compass, you will be able to see which direction your garden faces.

The Sun

The oldest method has been around since before the start of time itself. The Sun. How to find out which way your garden faces using the sun is by using what is known as a shadow stick.

To use this technique all you need is a stick (around 1m in length) and 2 stones.

  1. Put the stick into the ground and mark the tip of the shadow with one of the stones
  2. Wait for 20 minutes
  3. Mark the tip of the shadow with the second stone (the 2 stones are now placed at a West to East Axis)
  4. Put your left foot on the first stone that you placed and your right foot on the second
  5. You are now facing North


For most younger people, using technology will be the easiest and most efficient way to tell which direction your garden is facing. There is a multitude of GPS technologies available that power things such as Google Maps and digital compasses etc.

South East facing Garden in the Afternoon
South East facing Garden in the Afternoon

How Much Sun Does a South East Facing Garden Get?

All things considered, if there are no shadow-casting obstacles, a southeast-facing garden should get the summer sun throughout the morning until around 14:00. In truth though, there is not a direct and simple answer that can be given as there is a variety of other factors to consider meaning that the answer is unlikely to be the same for everyone.

Some of the factors that will impact how much sunlight your garden gets may include things like – the shape of the house, the size of the garden or if there are any tall trees around the southernmost edges of your garden.

House Shape

The first and most obvious thing to consider when thinking about how much sunlight a south east facing garden gets is the shape and height of the house. Even when the sun is at its peak in the summer, the Sun will have begun to cast shadows over the most northern parts of your garden by around 14:00.

The size of the shadow will also be relative to the height of the house with a small bungalow casting a smaller shadow than that of a 3-storey townhouse.

Garden Size

The size of the garden is an important thing that you will have to consider. If your garden is extremely small, your garden may not get any sunlight after around 15:00 or it may not get any sunlight at all if there are any large plants or structures blocking the light through the morning.

A long garden, however, will receive sunlight for longer, especially in the southernmost parts.

Large Structures or Trees

If you have a southeast-facing garden, the last things you want are any trees or other buildings located to the east of your property. As we have mentioned, even at peak summer, you will begin to lose direct sunlight not long after lunch so that means that you need to maximise the sunlight that you get throughout the morning.

If there are any large trees or structures to the east of your property, the sun may not clear them until after 10:00 meaning that you will only have a small window of sunlight in your garden.

South East facing Garden at Midday
South East facing Garden at Midday

Where Is Best To Put a Patio in South East Facing Garden?

This question will entirely depend on you and your own personal preference and what you are planning for your landscape. Me, personally, I love the sunshine so I would have my patio in the southern corner of the garden which will receive the light the longest time through the day. The most southern part will be the bottom right corner if you were looking out of your back door in a south-easterly direction.

I am sure though that there are many people who like having the shade during the afternoon and will have their patio nearer to the house so they can plant their sun-loving favourites in the warmest spots.

What Plants are Best for a South-East Facing Garden?

The good thing about a south-easterly facing garden is the amount of sunlight it should get in the summer as long as there are no large obstacles such as trees in the east. With full sun until around 14:00, most plants will thrive and there is also a great number of plants that will be happy with some afternoon shade to cool off such as:

  • Lilies
  • Daylilies
  • Gardenias
  • Peonies
  • Hydrangeas
  • Black-eyed Susans
  • Clematis
  • Crinum lilies
  • Calla lilies
  • Canna lilies
  • Azaleas

If you have any plants or veggies that you want to have in full sun for longer, make sure you plant them in the most southern part of your garden or bottom right as you are looking over it – that is unless you have a 6-foot fence, you may have to be mindful and check what sunlight each area gets.

Pros of a South-East Facing Garden

  • Direct sunlight throughout the morning
  • With planning, you can grow just about anything

Cons of a South-East Facing Garden

  • In the summer, shade begins to creep up the garden from about 14:00
  • The amount of daily sun can be curtailed by trees or structures to the east
  • The sunset will not be visible from your garden
South East facing Garden in the Morning
South East facing Garden in the Morning

Should I buy a House with a South-East Facing Garden?

When it comes to deciding whether or not to buy a house with a south-east-facing garden, there are a few things to consider. On the plus side, you can expect warm mornings in full sun until approximately 14:00, and cool evenings in the shade depending on your location. This makes it a great spot for spending time outdoors in the warm weather months. Additionally, a south-east facing garden is ideal for growing vegetables and flowers. However, there are a few downsides to take into account as well.

For example, during the hot summer months, the full morning sun can be quite intense and may make the area too warm to use. Additionally, in colder months, the lack of sun can make the space feel quite chilly.

So, if you’re considering buying a house with a south-east facing garden, weigh the pros and cons carefully to see if it’s the right fit for you.


Many people want a south-facing garden to give them the most possible sunlight throughout the day. Well, a south-east facing garden is almost as good and can still be something special with the right planning and work. If you are neither a sun lover nor a morning person, a garden facing south-easterly may be for you as you can get out there in the late afternoon and tend your garden in the shade.

Pros of a Southeast Facing Garden Infographic

Garden Doctor Tips

“If you are a sun lover and like to enjoy the garden in the evenings, you may want a garden that is facing south or south-west!”

“Ensure that your plants that need full sun for the longest should be planted in the most southerly part of the garden or bottom-right as you look out the window!”

“I do not condone cutting down trees but if you have a south-easterly facing garden and tall trees in the east, removing them may be best for your overall garden health. Be sure to plant some trees elsewhere if you do!”

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you get sun in a southeast facing garden?

Yes, in the UK a south-east facing garden will get full sun in the summertime until around 14:00.

This is obviously dependent on what other external shade-throwing objects there are around the property.

Is a south east facing garden sunny enough?

Yes, a south-east facing garden is generally sunny enough for most plants and gardening purposes and will get full sun until around 14:00 in the summer.

What does a southeast facing garden mean?

A southeast facing garden means that your garden neither faces south nor east but at an angle between the two. Having a southeast facing garden also means that the garden will get morning sun and afternoon shade as the day goes on.

What is the best direction for a garden to face?

The best thing to do before deciding which direction your garden should face is to go find the sun’s path for an entire day, then plot out where the sun will rise and set throughout the course of a year in your area.

Depending on what you want to grow and how much you care about shade vs sun exposure, there are various things that affect it such as nearby buildings or trees that could block out direct sunlight at certain times of day, and other factors such as what time of year it is.

South-facing gardens get the most sunlight throughout the day with North-facing gardens the least. East-facing gardens get the sun in the morning and West-facing gardens get the sun in the afternoon.


Trevor Wright is not just a seasoned horticulturist; he’s the esteemed Garden Doctor. With a BSc in Horticulture and years of hands-on experience in the soil, Trevor has become a trusted mentor for all things gardening. As the founder of Garden Doctor, he’s committed to clarifying the intricacies of gardening, offering straightforward advice that’s rooted in years of practice. His writing is a garden of how-tos, savvy insights, and comprehensive guides that enable individuals to nurture and grow their garden dreams. When he’s not knee-deep in garden beds, Trevor is at his keyboard passing on his green-thumbed wisdom to budding gardeners, ensuring that the legacy of sustainable and joyful gardening blossoms far and wide.

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