When planning a yard, it can be helpful to know which side of the house gets the most sun. Plants have different sunlight needs, so it can considerably impact your options.
The sun changes position throughout the year, but where it shines the most generally relies on your hemisphere.
Northern hemisphere houses get the most sun in the south, whereas the southern hemisphere will get it mainly in the north.
However, that’s just a generalization that can change throughout the year and depends on local conditions. Each side of your house can receive different amounts of sun, which can also be beneficial.
Which Side Depends on the Hemisphere
The earth orbits around the sun throughout the year, often changing position.
And because the earth can have different positions, which hemisphere you live in changes which side of the house gets the most sun.
Throughout the year, those in the northern hemisphere usually get the most sun on the south side of their house. The USA is in the northern hemisphere, and Americans will benefit the most from their plants facing south.
Alternatively, people in the southern hemisphere will get their best light on the northern side.
Of course, this also means that the opposite is true. Those in the northern hemisphere will get the least amount of light on the north side of their house. Southern hemisphere residents will get the least amount of sun in the south.
This sunlight difference is what causes moss to grow facing north on trees in America but south in Australia.
How Much Sun Each Side Receives
The west and east sides of your house can still be incredibly useful for sunlight. While they don’t receive the most sunlight, you can plan for when they’ll get light.
The east side of your house generally gets the most light during the mornings until the afternoon.
Choosing the east side can be helpful for anything that needs plenty of light but in chillier conditions, as the sun hasn’t fully heated up yet.
On the other hand, the west side generally gets the same amount of sunlight but during the evenings. This sunlight can be warm but a bit indirect.
Additionally, it can be helpful to know that morning dew will take longer to dry on the west side of the house.
The Position of the Sun
Many people may find these answers surprising. The common belief is that the sun rises in the east, so the east side should get the most sun.
The truth is that the sun only truthfully rises in the east and sets in the west during spring and fall equinoxes.
During the rest of the year, the sun moves at a slight angle north or south.
This angle is what partially causes these directions to get the most sunlight.
While generally knowing which side of the house gets the most sun can help, it isn’t always a concrete guide. Local conditions, including trees or buildings, may cast shadows that entirely shade your southern side.
You can watch your local weather to measure where the sun seems to be the most during the day. You can plant ornamental trees such as dogwoods to create more shade in your yard.