An east facing garden is generally shaded by your home during the hottest part of the afternoon and into the evening. This means that it is not necessarily the best type of garden to have if you like spending time outdoors in your garden after work. But east facing gardens are arguably at their best in the morning. So if you love to breakfast outdoors, or enjoy a cup of coffee in your garden first thing in the morning, an east facing garden could be ideal for you.
As with most gardens, there are both benefits and downsides to an east facing garden. Like any other garden, east facing ones can be just wonderful if you know what to do. To help you with your garden design and plant choices, here are five gardening tips for an east-facing garden:
1. Distinguish Between Different Types of Shade
Most gardens experience some shade, at least at some point during the day. An east facing garden is no different. But to make the right choices, it is important to distinguish between different types of shade. Some shade is deep, some dappled, some areas may only be in partial shade – or get plenty of sun but only during certain parts of the day. (Usually, as mentioned above, an east facing garden will get most sun during the morning hours.)
Determining whether the shady areas of your garden are wet or dry is also important. Working out the characteristics of the site will help you make the best decisions for your own particular garden. Knowing which way your garden faces and when it gets the sun is important – but remember that there are also other factors – such as moisture, climate and soil type – to consider.
2. Make the Most of the Morning Light
Whatever type of garden you have and no matter where you live, it is important to embrace the garden you have rather than wishing for something different. One of the great things about an east facing garden is that you can enjoy the lovely morning sunshine. Make sure you have a breakfast spot of coffee haunt outdoors to make the most of the space.
3. Choose Plants That Need Protection From Hot Afternoon Sun
Certain plants will appreciate the morning light and shady afternoons and evenings too. Try planting some honeysuckle, for example, or Berberis. Both of these plants will do well with morning sun and cooler afternoon conditions. It’s also worth considering the fact that certain edible crops can also do better when they have some protection from hot summer sun in the afternoons. Lettuce, spinach and brassicas, for example, are all excellent crops to try.
4. White Flowers Are Wonderful in an East Facing Garden
White-flowering plants are enhanced by the evening shade in an east facing garden. They’ll be brought to the fore in shady, dim conditions and make your garden look great. They’ll also serve another function. They will help to attract moths, which will help with pollination of plants in your garden. Nicotiana sylvestris, for example, is one delightfully scented option to try.
5. Engage Other Senses To Enjoy Your Shady Garden in the Evening
Speaking of scent – choosing a range of evening-shade tolerant fragrant plants can help you make sure you can still enjoy your east facing garden later in the day. Thinking beyond visual appeal and finding ways to engage the other senses can help you make sure you can enjoy your garden after work. As well as finding fragrant plants like honeysuckle and Nicotiana sylvestris, you should also consider creating a garden soundscape, with chimes, running water etc.. Just because your garden is a little dim later in the day, that does not mean that you cannot still enjoy it.
These are just a few simple tips to help you make the most of your garden. But remember, a garden is not defined only by the direction it faces. Think wholistically about your garden and you should find it easier to design a space that works well for you, and for the wildlife that calls it home.
Do you have an east facing garden? Do you make the most of what you have? Share your plant choices, design ideas, tips and suggestions for other gardeners in the comments below.
Elizabeth Waddington is a writer and green living consultant living in Scotland. Permaculture and sustainability are at the heart of everything she does, from designing gardens and farms around the world, to inspiring and facilitating positive change for small companies and individuals.
She also works on her own property, where she grows fruit and vegetables, keeps chickens and is working on the eco-renovation of an old stone barn.
To get in touch, visit https://ewspconsultancy.com.