I have been advising one of my clients on which house to buy. And no, we’re not branching out into estate agency.

As the advice applies to anyone else in a similar situation, I thought I’d share it out. The question is: if you get the opportunity to buy a house off-plan, or while a development is still being built, what is the best aspect to choose for the rear garden?

What do we mean by aspect?

Simply, if you stand with your back to the house, looking at your rear garden, which way are you facing? As we live in the northern hemisphere, south facing gardens receive the most sun. But choosing your plot isn’t quite as simple as that.

So what is the best aspect for a rear garden?

Your choice depends on how you’ll use the garden. If you are out at work all day and wish to make the most of the evening sun, you should think about a south or west facing garden. As the evening sun is lower in the sky than it is during the day, look out for adjacent buildings or trees and try to work out if they will obscure the sun late in the day.

Similarly, if you want morning sun, opt for a garden that faces east.

If you want to use the garden all day, a south-east to a south-west facing garden will give the best chance of prolonged sun through the day.

A northward facing garden will mean your house casts a shadow over part of your garden for most of the day. This could be good for you if you love the shade, but not so great if you like to sunbathe or want to grow vegetables. North facing gardens can also be cold and damp.

Aside from the aspect, another thing to consider when buying on a new development is the situation of your plot compared to other properties. Modern estates tend towards cramming the houses in like sardines, so if you don’t want to feel hemmed in, aim for a home on the outside of the development if you can.

For more on this topic, including ways to make the best use of any aspect, see Is a North-Facing Garden Bad?