Tips for Planting Your Garden in the Ideal Location

Orienting Your Garden to the Cardinal Directions

sun and shade in backyard

Understanding cardinal directions in relation to your home and garden is one of the most basic gardening skills. The fundamental task of orienting your property will help you to plan a garden with the greatest chance of success. Above the equator, where almost all our readers live, south-facing walls receive all day sun, and north-facing walls are shaded.

We all know that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Orienting your own home is as simple as getting up to watch the sunrise. Face the horizon where the sun rises – this is east. Hold out your left hand – this is north. Hold out your right hand – this is south. And west is to your back. Now you can draw a simple map of your yard and draw a little compass with the cardinal directions to use as a reference for future landscaping projects.

So, if a plant needs full sun, it will probably need to be on the south side of your home as to not fall in the shade of your home. The plants placed along the north wall should be shade-loving plants because they will be in the shadow of your home for the entire day.

Bonus Trivia: “Cardinal” comes from the Latin Cardo with means “That on which something turns or depends” or “door hinge”. Anything described as “Cardinal” is very important, in fact, it is the most important thing of its kind. North, South, East, and West are the most important directions, Cardinals are the most important priests in Catholicism, and Cardinal Virtues are those which should be held above all others. Cardinal is a very important word.