Sun seen through the leafs of a tree.

Learn How to Plant in the Sun or Shade

Some plants like a hot spot, and enjoy basking in the sun all day long, while others prefer cool shade. Find out what your garden has to offer before you buy or start planting.

Aspect explained

Stand with your back to each of your boundaries and use a compass to figure out the direction that they face. Those facing south will be in the sun all day and hot, while those pointing north will be in shade most of the time and cooler. East-facing areas offer morning sun and evening shade, while the opposite applies to those facing west.

Check your plot

Patterns of sun and shade change throughout the day, and a garden that is in full sun at midday may have dark pools of shade by late afternoon, so spend some time watching your garden on a sunny day and make a note of the way shadows move around the plot.

You can then plan what to plant where and identify areas for seating. Remember, too, that the patterns change depending on the season. A garden can look very different in low-light winter conditions, and areas that are in full sun for half the day in summer may not get any at this time of the year.

To assess light and shade, take pictures of your garden at different times of the day.