One of the reasons a garden’s location is so important is because the location will determine the amount of sun a plant receives. What is the best garden location for the sun?
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One of the biggest decisions you’ll make when you decide to plant a garden is where to plant them. What is the best location in your yard for your garden?
The answer to this will depend on several factors including what you’re planting.
“Keep your face always toward the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you.”Walt Whitman
What Garden Location is Best for the Sun?
- Factors to consider
- Best location for vegetable garden
- Where to plant trees
- Where to plant flowers
- Plant sunlight requirements
Factors to Consider When Deciding Where to Plant
When taking a look at your yard keep in mind what you would like to plant as well as some of the following factors:
- How much sun does the plant need?
- Does it need afternoon shade?
- How does your home or other structures on your property affect the amount of sun/shade a plant may receive?
- What is the slope of your yard? How does the water drain?
- How does the sunlight differ in the summer versus the winter?
Selecting the Ideal Vegetable Garden Location
North, South, East, or West where will your garden grow best?
One of the most crucial factors for a successful vegetable garden is sunlight. Most vegetables require at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight each day.
When choosing a location in your yard, look for an area that receives the maximum amount of sunlight. South-facing or west-facing spots are often ideal as they tend to get the most sun throughout the day.
If you live in a warm climate keep in mind the heat index. Your plants may appreciate afternoon shade.
Proximity to the House
If possible, consider placing your vegetable garden close to your house. This makes it more convenient to access and tend to your garden.
Easy access also allows you to quickly grab fresh produce for meals. Ensure your garden is easily accessible. Create paths to prevent soil compaction near your plants.
When choosing a garden location avoid low-lying areas where water tends to collect after rain.
Where to Plant Trees in Your Yard?
Plant deciduous trees on the south side of your home. During the summer the canopy will provide shade and in the winter you will gain more sunshine.
Where to Plant Flowers?
Thankfully there are flowers that can grow in all of the various sunlight requirements. Whether you have a sunny yard or lots of shades you can still plant eye-catching flowers to beautify your space.
- Flowers for full sun
- Partial sun flowers
- Shade loving flowers
Plant Sunlight Requirements for Vegetables
Plant tags usually have one of four categories of sunlight listed: Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade, and Shade.
The amount of sunlight your vegetable garden needs depends on the specific crops you intend to grow. Below is a general guideline:
Full Sun or 6+ Hours
Flowers such as sunflowers, cosmos, and lantana do well in full sun. In warmer climates like the south and southwest vegetables often prefer afternoon shade.
My tomatoes receive morning sun, but by 2pm they are getting indirect sun and they have done very well in Phoenix.
Partial Sun 3-6 Hours & Partial Shade 3 Hours
Some vegetables, such as lettuce, spinach, and kale, can tolerate less sunlight, around three to six hours of direct sun per day.
Partial shade usually refers to at least three hours of morning sun and prefer shade during the afternoon. These are suitable for areas with partial shade.
When a plant variety calls for shade it generally means dappled light, no direct light. Think of plants that grow under a leafy canopy. They don’t receive full sun, but rather filtered or diffused light.
While there are many beautiful plants that can grow in the shade, very few vegetables can produce fruit in the shade.
Things to Keep in Mind
These are just guidelines for vegetables to grow and produce a good crop. It doesn’t mean the plants won’t grow at all it just means for the best success and highest yields vegetables should generally receive more than 6 hours of sun per day.
For example, in my Phoenix garden some of my pepper plants are in partial sun and have been growing there for years. While they don’t usually have a bumper crop I still am able to harvest many peppers from those plants.
Best Location for a Vegetable Garden
Selecting the best location for your vegetable garden is crucial for a successful harvest. When choosing a spot in your yard take into consideration factors such as sunlight, how does your home or other structures on your property affect the amount of sun/shade a plant may receive and how sunlight differs by season. Take note of the sunlight requirements for your vegetables, fruits and flowers.
Vegetables and herbs need lots of sun to produce a harvest. Most prefer full sun or 6-8 hours of sun. With that in mind vegetable and herb gardens do best with morning sun so on the east side of your property is usually the best.
The sun is intense in Phoenix, crops such as tomatoes and peppers love the morning sun, but they appreciate afternoon shade. These annuals can live more than one harvest season under the right conditions and in mild climates like gardening zone 9b.