west facing garden – ok for gardening?

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    Hi,
    How does a west-facing garden do in terms of growing vegetables and flowers? We have been hoping to find something with a south facing garden but it’s slim pickens’ out there and we’re looking at something that faces West. Gardening is one of our main reasons for moving to a house, so we don’t want to make our big move and be unhappy with the reality.

    Thoughts? Thank you!

    8 Replies

    1. FIRST USE YOUR EYES.!!! Simply make a map of your yard make 10 copies. . Then get up at 7 am and mark where the sun is every hour. You need about 8-10 hours of sunlight to get a true veggie garden less sun. The afternoon sun is hotter and can compensate for less hours of sun expect dark areas which can give you a variety of plant material.
      FYI you dont need a “landscaper ” you need your brain

    2. All of the above comments are correct. In Park Slope west facing garden usually means some afternoon sun. Most likely right side will get more light. You should be able to have a lush garden no matter how much light you have. There is a plant solution for every condition. I deep shade garden can be just as visually rewarding as a sunny one. The important thing is a good layout. Visit Botanical gardens in NY area to see gardens grown in different light conditions to get a better sense of what to expect. Brooklyn Botanic Garden has a phone help line, they can answer some questions. Also look at what people to your left and right have, they have the same conditions as you. If there are no buildings to your south, and if your building is not too tall and there are no trees to your left (south) you probably have medium shade on your left side of the garden and light shade on the right. Most of your flowering plants will be on the right and you foliage plants (Hosta, Ferns, Ligularia etc. on the left. Good luck!
      Sasha Newman
      http://www.littlemiraclesdesigns.com
      (718) 887-8026

    3. Thanks all for your thoughts. I’m not sure how to evaluate how many hours the yard gets, other than spend a day back there! But I will try asking neighbors. It doesn’t look like adjacent buildings have gardeners but maybe they’re aware anyway . . .

      thanks!

    4. Since you probably need to decide soon, I would suggest asking the neighbors (the owners might tell you what you want to hear). Btw, if you plan to grow vegetables please consider either double-digging your yard and amending with lots of compost, humus, peat moss and fresh soil or building raised beds. Our yard faces north and has horrible tree roots. I can’t grow veggies or many flowers but still I love my shade garden and get enormous pleasure from working it — so don’t give up on gardening even if you end up with a yard that gets little sun. Btw, there’s always a silver lining… our deck gets morning and evening sun which we love. If it were south-facing, it would be too hot to use during the height of the summer.

    5. The issue isn’t which way it faces, but how many hours of sun it gets. Can change radically depending on the time of year because of the position of the sun and trees leafing out. You can’t really tell now. Better to check in May or June.

    6. When you investigate the kind of plants you want to grow, focus on the number of hours of sunlight each needs. I believe that tomatoes, for example, need approximately 8 hours of direct sun. Unfortunately, given that it’s only late March, it will be kind of hard for you to tell now what your sun exposure will look like in a few months, when planting season is under way.

      Note that I have a north-facing garden, but, in the summer months, do have significant portions of my yard that do get enough sun for the usual edibles. Couldn’t really tell now, though, as I only get a couple of hours of sun until later in April.

    7. There will be lots of flowers you can grow. Veggies are trickier–we’re west-facing and only have enough sun to grow tomatoes in pots in a few very sunny spots.

      Like the other poster said, it will depend on how much direct sun you get in the course of the day, which is heavily influence by surrounding buildings and trees.

    8. Depending on building heights surrounding the space, west-facing gardens can get lots of sun & do very well.