If you ask what it the best orientation for a garden, most people will say a south orientation. Given modern lifestyle and our northerly latitude in Ireland the answer might not be so clear-cut. Few people spend a lot of time in their homes during the daytime; instead most time spent at home is from late afternoon/early evening onwards. Coupled with the long summer evenings we have, a west or south-westerly aspect allows us to enjoy that evening sunlight down to the last drop until it disappears down the horizon (as late as 11 pm in mid-June).

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Clerestory window and stepped rear elevation allow this east-facing garden capture south light.

Conversely, most would say a north-facing garden has the poorest orientation. Again, using the same rationale as above, an east orientation means the sun is gone early from the garden and won’t appear again while a north-facing allows a homeowner to enjoy the beautiful evening light of the setting sun.

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Glazing on the stepped detail catches the setting sunlight from the west.

At times, when it comes to designing a house extension, we will step the rear elevation to catch light, use clerestory windows and roof-light to bring light in and make it last as long as possible. Design consideration as to the orientation can ensure that your living space is flooded with light and your old rooms aren’t cave-like.

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Large rooflights bring great light over new areas and in particular into existing areas that can be starved of light.