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South Facing Garden Checklist

The south facing garden checklist starts with the image of a south facing garden. In this image there are roses and containers surrounding a gravel circle. It is a clear blue sky.

This south facing garden checklist is a brief summary for the beginner gardener. Not to mention it will add value to a gardener who is new to growing in a south facing garden. 

We can all learn something new everyday, even seasoned professionals!

The dahlia and phormium create a great contrast and vibrant colours in the border. Find out what to do with your dahlia's in our August garden guide.

What does south facing mean?

South facing is the term given to a garden that has the longest sunlight levels for the majority of the day. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west. As it moves across the sky it tracks through the southern aspect. For this reason, if you are unsure which direction your garden faces, look to see where the sun rises and where the sun sets in the evening. The part which has the most sun is your south facing aspect.

Sunlight is one of the main factors in a south facing garden. The image shows sunlight behind and sunflower.
Sunlight is one of the main factors in a south facing garden.

South Facing Garden: Optimizing sunlight and what you need to know

Sunlight is crucial for plants, and plant labels indicate their required levels. Full sun plants thrive in south facing gardens, in the same way, drought/heat tolerant plants are ideal for the hottest spots. By the same token, plants with silver or grey leaves are often in this category. Additionally, these plants require 6-8 hours of  sunlight daily.

Your garden’s aspect and location have a significant impact on plant choice. Land contours and levels vary, meaning plants that thrive on a south-facing hillside differ from those in an urban courtyard. Local surroundings create microclimates, with varying sun and shade. Seek professional advice or observe what neighbours are growing if unsure of what to plant in your location.

Homeowners have a south facing garden checklist. Here is a summer image of a cobbled street with black and white timbered houses adorned with lush plants
Homeowners have a south facing garden checklist!

Maximizing Your South Facing Garden: Tips for Adding Shade and Choosing Plants for Sun and Shade

South-facing gardens are in high demand, commanding premium prices from homeowners. However, too much sun can make it difficult to relax outdoors, especially during the hottest months. To combat this, homeowners can add shade with a pergola or strategically planted trees or opt for quick solutions like sail shades and sun umbrellas. Not all south-facing gardens receive full sun, but this can be an opportunity to plant a wider variety of sun and shade-loving plants. Consider the unique aspects of your garden, like the surrounding buildings or trees, to decide which plants will thrive.

The hottest spots tend to be in full sun or up against the house walls. The images shows a gravel garden. The ideal choice for hot and dry conditions.
The ideal choice for hot and dry conditions.

Where the hottest and driest spots are in your garden.

If you have a south facing garden, you may be wondering where the hottest and driest spots are located. Typically, these areas are found along the southern edge of the garden, the sun’s rays hit the ground, creating intense heat and dryness. These areas are often ideal for plants that thrive in hot, dry conditions, such as cacti, succulents. In temperate climates Mediterranean herbs like rosemary, thyme, and lavender are used. However, it’s important to note that these hot and dry spots can be challenging for other types of plants. The plants that need more moisture and shade are not always suitable for a south facing garden.

To ensure that your entire garden thrives, it’s essential to carefully consider the placement of each plant. Taking into, consideration its individual requirements for sunlight, moisture, and temperature. By doing so, you can create a beautiful and thriving south facing garden that is filled with a variety of plants. When you use the right plants they will flourish in their respective microclimates.

Do I have the optimum soil for a south facing garden?

The best soil for a south facing garden depends on factors such as the climate, weather conditions. In addition to considering the specific plants that you want to grow. However, in general, a loamy soil with a good balance of sand, silt, and clay. This is often considered the best soil type for gardening, including in a south facing garden.

Loamy soil is rich in organic matter, which helps to retain moisture and nutrients while also allowing for good drainage. It is also easy to work with and provides a good structure for plant roots to grow and thrive. In a south facing garden, loamy soil can help to moderate temperature extremes, retain moisture, and support a diverse range of plants.

To create a loamy soil in a south facing garden, you can amend the soil with organic matter such as compost or well-rotted manure. This will help to improve the soil’s structure, fertility, and ability to retain moisture. You can also add a layer of mulch on top of the soil to help reduce evaporation and retain moisture.

Ultimately, the key to a successful south facing garden is to choose plants that are well-suited to the specific soil type and growing conditions. By carefully selecting the right plants and maintaining a healthy soil environment, you can create a thriving and beautiful garden that can withstand the challenges of a south facing exposure.

Conclusion: Tips for a Thriving South Facing Garden

Creating a beautiful and thriving south facing garden can be a challenge, but with the right knowledge and approach, it’s definitely achievable. In this article, we’ve discussed several key factors that can help you maximize your garden’s potential. We have included optimizing sunlight exposure, adding shade, selecting plants for sun and shade, identifying hot and dry spots. The right soil type and improving your soil is a key part to your success. By paying attention to these factors and selecting the right plants for your garden’s unique microclimate, you can create a beautiful and thriving outdoor space that you can enjoy for years to come.

Happy gardening, Kristian

Have you subscribed yet? It’s the easiest way to delve deeper on this topic. The following articles in this series will be coming soon and I would hate for you to miss out on this!

  • The benefits of growing sensory plants – the five senses of touch, taste, smell, sound, and sight evoke positive experiences whether in the present or from the past.
  • Let’s get physical – the physical, nutritional, and mental benefits are not always at the top on gardeners list. They are merely the biproduct from the pleasure and enjoyment that comes from gardening. There’s no better way than to start than with gentle exercise by doing gardening.
  • Finding your personal expression and self identity – Yes do we really garden with our expression and self identity. Even though we may not consciously recognise this.
  • How The Appearance Factor drives us when gardening – in truth gardeners just love this activity, I’m sure one of my neighbours thrives on it! The beauty of this type of gardening results in mini wins every time you are out in your garden.
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