Practical garden hints for designing your garden - Which way is North?


Continuing on this week with the site analysis of your garden, we will consider the aspect or the direction your garden faces. Every section of your garden will have a different aspect. Aspect can also be affected by existing trees, shrubs and structures like fences, walls, the number of storeys your house is or even your neighbouring houses or buildings and trees.

Which way is North?

The aspect or direction of each area of your garden faces is important to understand when it comes to selecting plants. Many plants are sold with labels that have general condition requirements, such as shade, part shade, full sun or part sun. If you know what aspect each area of your garden has, then you will be able to use these plant labels to your advantage in the garden centre.

I would recommend drawing up a rough plan or mud map of your total site, showing the house, out buildings, structures, mature trees, neighbouring buildings and trees and your garden beds. Mark on the plan with an arrow or compass - north, south, east and west. This will then clearly show you the exact direction each garden bed faces. Sometimes using Google Maps is a handy way of getting your directions correct.

I would then look at the level of sunlight in the garden and the seasonal differences in light throughout the garden. Areas which get full sun in summer may not get full sun in winter due to shade from structures or trees. The best way to think about this within your own garden is the extent of the sunlight in the middle of summer and the middle of winter. In the southern hemisphere, the sun moves further north in the winter and it will be lower in the sky, this will affect the level of light in the garden. It is the opposite for the garden in the northern hemisphere.

In summer, the intensity of the sun in summer is so much stronger than it is in winter. In a west facing location during summer, if the area is already quite open, it will only get hotter and more exposed during those warmer months. Take into consideration things like soil improvements to improve the water holding capacity of the soil. Plant selection will be especially important for these areas so that the plants selected are ones that will cope with a certain location. Also ensuring the space is always kept well mulched to maximise the water holding capacity of the soil will help any plantings survive through the heat of the day.

I normally recommend that you understand where the hottest part of your garden is in summer and the coldest part of your garden is in winter. This will help you make some judgement calls on what plants will grow where. Those two locations will be the spots that have the most extreme temperature variations.

Don’t forget that our garden workshop is on this weekend. The topic will be Plant Selection and Garden Design. Plant selection is the hardest part of creating a garden. In this workshop, we will identify the steps you need to consider before purchasing a plant for your garden. I will give you a list of my favourite plants that I like to use in my garden design projects, these are tried and trusted species that will not let you down.

We will also have the opportunity to see some of these plants growing within the beautiful gardens of Jane Costello’s Rustic Maze and Country Garden. Glenice will provide a guided tour as part of the workshop. There will also be time for further explorations of the Rustic Maze and the rest of the garden.

WHEN: Saturday 21st November 2020 from 2pm - 5pm
WHERE: The Rustic Maze and Country Garden ‘Lower Coolegong’ - Jerrybang Lane, Monteagle NSW 2594
COST: Tickets are $70 per person (Tickets include light refreshments).
To buy tickets please go to
Online booking is essential as there will be no tickets sold at the gate. This is an outdoor event so please dress accordingly. Tickets will be refunded if event is cancelled due to weather conditions.
Covid-19 procedures will be in place.
For further information contact Glenice on 0417077386 or Email -
If you would like to subscribe to my free garden newsletter or download my free eBook, go to my website to subscribe or download or email: or phone or text me on 0417 077 386.

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