Which side of a house will get the most sunlight? Articles on the internet seem to have conflicting answers. Is this because it is dependent on location?

  • 1
    Dependent on lattitude. Commented May 8, 2014 at 1:17

5 Answers 5


In general, it depends on your location. In the northern hemisphere, the south side gets the bulk of the sun, because the sun is in that half of the sky.

But if you are on a hill, or have a hill to the east or west, it can significantly shorten your solar 'day'.

Additionally, if you are in an area that tends to get morning fog, east-facing will get less effective sun than west-facing, because by afternoon the sun will have burned off the fog.

Finally, elevation matters. Higher floors will get more sun because they "see" more of the sky.

So in general, the south-west of the house will get the most sun, with upper floors receiving more than lower floors.

  • +1 Southwest was going to be my recommendation for residents of the Northern Hemisphere.
    – Doresoom
    Commented Jun 8, 2011 at 18:41

A good (and kind of fun) way to answer this is with Google Earth. If you look up your address, then click the Sun icon, it will allow you to see the sun light based on season and time of day.

  • This doesn't seem to indicate the direction of the sun.
    – Alex B
    Commented Jun 11, 2011 at 22:06
  • @Alex B: If you tilt the viewing angle up so that you're looking at the horizon, you will see the sun (and its trajectory if you move the time of day slider). To tilt up, hold down the shift button and press the down arrow on your keyboard. It is a great indicator of the sun's direction and it's based on actual physics. If you don't want to tilt up, you could also infer the sun's direction by dragging the time of day slider. The areas that are brighter are facing the sun.
    – Keith
    Commented Jun 12, 2011 at 20:03

This question depends on context.

  • I could say the north side but for all I know the north side of your house has no windows.
  • It also depends on geographic location. Where does the sun rise/set.
  • Do you have any trees/objects near your house that would obstruct light?

There are varying factors here to say the least.

  • 1
    Are you by any chance in the Southern Hemisphere or in the tropics? If not, the north side probably won't get the most sun. Also, sunrise and sunset locations vary from day to day. Commented Jun 8, 2011 at 23:36
  • My answer is location agnostic, the point is the OP never specified which makes the question hard to answer. Then as I said if that side has no windows it won't matter, more or less more information needs to be provided or the answer depends on context. There is not blanket answer for this question.
    – Chris
    Commented Jun 9, 2011 at 10:25
  • This is a good answer. The other variable is probably whether you're planting indoors or outdoors. In the case of outdoors, the north side (south side in Australia) past the shadow of the house could be fine as long as you're planting away from the edge of a high fence to avoid the shadow from that too.
    – Lisa
    Commented Jul 14, 2011 at 0:18

I believe that in the northern hemisphere, it's always the south-facing side, and north-facing in the southern hemisphere.

Wikipedia's article on Seasons has a few nice images showing this.


The sun rises in the east, swings south throughout the day, to set in the west. Depending on season, "east" may be slightly ESE in deep winter to E in mid-summer to ENE in late fall (northern hemisphere).

Of course, it's the earth, not the sun, that is moving. Which side of your house gets the most sun is dependent on local geography and site layout (in a valley, on a wide open plain, large shade trees, high on a hill) but the earth's rotation and season of the year is constant. Simple explanation here: Learn the scientific reason behind Earth's seasons.

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