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Chasing the Sun!

In the recent survey I posted, a question was asked about what full sun, part shade etc. means. So here my thoughts on it in terms of Australia and what I’ve read.


The aspect of our garden to the sun is often the very first thing most new gardeners consider or are plagued with uncertainty. This is no surprise and worst of all you are often left with little choice (especially in suburban and urban areas) where to put your garden. The are a few things you can do though to help get more or less sun depending on your situation.

Full Sun, Part Shade

Firstly what exactly is full sun or part shade? Well, at a basic level I would say between 6-10 hours is Full Sun and around 3-6 hours is Part Shade. ┬áThat gives you a good start but it should not be the last consideration. Secondly, I’d consider when during the day are you getting these hours of sun. Generally speaking, if you have a choice the morning sun is preferable. Mid-day sun is too hot in most of northern half of Australia and less desirable. Mid-afternoon sun is then next preferable. An ideal example for growing most fruit and veg would be full morning sun and then filtered sun during the mid-day to late afternoon. So on the east coast north Eastley aspect is often perfect for both summer and winter.

Plan and Experiment

Getting this ideal example should not put you off and you need to experiment and a lot depends on the many variables of your garden – where your house or other buildings are located, existing trees, height of fences or walls etc. If you have a bit of a blank canvas such as just lawn and trying to decide what to do then try get as close to the ideal. From a permaculture standpoint design is at the core. Planing in the beginning can save you a lot of time, money and energy later on. Having said that, you need to give a go and learn from your mistakes.


Some tips might be. Simply count the number of hours sun at different parts of the garden during the day. If you finding lower 6 or seven hours you could consider raised beds so that walls for example provide less shade. If you getting too much sun (or too hot) Consider planting some trees that could give filtered light through there canopies. Also consider companion planting plants that are different heights which can provide shade and shelter if needed.

Take consideration when searching the internet to look at blogs and forums from your local area. Also take into account where they are and you are in the world and what there temperatures are like. Many books are European and from the UK so sun is a lot more important than Australia because of colder climates.

Please drop us a comment, ask any questions and I’d be happy to answer, point you in a direction of a good resource or research an answer for you.

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