If you are lucky enough to be in control of a house that is being newly built then you can decide on which way it should be oriented. Do you want to create a shaded area to the living quarters or are you in an area where you are concerned to access as much sunshine as possible?  Do you want your front garden to face towards the north in order to enjoy lots of sunshine to the rear or is it a priority that you have as much shade as possible to the rear?  Perhaps you want to spend time to the west of your house in order to avail of evening sunshine. 

A photograph taken from an upstairs window looking outwards at the garden.

 

It is common that people place a significant part, if not all of their immediate outdoor living space to the west of the house.  This means that the are ideally situated to entertain and to relax after work.

Perhaps on the other hand you are an early riser and like to spend time in the garden before starting work.  You can take this into account in the way that you decide to orient your house.

If you are assessing an existing house you will need to have a close look at the key areas of you garden. This will allow you to decide which are important in terms of how you will use them. This is important when making decisions about where to put seating, suntraps or shade areas, and when deciding where to position your plants.

It is important to put a bit of time aside for learning how the position of your house will determine what you can and cannot do with your new garden.  Realising that a key planting area is in an area of year round shade will allow you to plan a successful plant scheme for that space.  Taking a bit of time to see where you get most sunshine will help you to decide where, or where not, to locate the terrace.

Tip: Remember that we spend the vast majority of our lives indoors looking out. Therefore positioning key elements of the landscape scheme so that they are visible from inside the house is a great way of maximising the value of your design. You can decide now where the most useful spots for these planting areas are. You can take measures later during the design phase to ensure that they make sense in your overall garden design scheme when viewed from outdoors.