Sunday, February 3, 2008

Very Shady Patterns-and Directions

Shady patterns. Patterns-not characters is the topic of today's post. Most people know where north is in relation to their homes, but they don't always know how direction, specifically the direction of the sun and wind affects their garden. I will attempt to shed some light on it. Pun intended.

One of the first things I do when I look at a landscape or garden is to determine direction. Direction tells me not only how the sun will affect my home and garden, but also from which area prevailing winds will blow. These two factors are key to designing a workable landscape that integrates both the house and garden. As a homeowner, I want my home to be sheltered from the sun's hottest rays in the east and west in the summer, while taking advantage of the southern rays in the winter. I also want to have a windbreak on the northern side of my home, and shade on the east and west sides of my home in the summertime without blocking the cooling western breezes.

We all know in the winter time the angle of the sun is lower. Southern facing windows will get the benefit of what light there is available. The northern side of our home will get no direct sun during the winter. East and west will get some sun, though the rays will not be as strong as in the summer. If you plan to plant trees around your home, make sure the trees on the southern side of your home are deciduous so light can come through in the wintertime. Deciduous or evergreen trees work equally well on the east and west sides of your home. On the north side of your home you might try evergreen trees such as cedars. Cedars can effectively block the cold northern wind. Just be sure they are not planted so close to your home they pose a danger of falling in too strong winds or when bogged down by ice and snow.

Summertime is when we get the hottest and most direct sunlight because the earth is tilted so that the northern hemisphere is closest to the sun. Additionally, the sun will be pretty much directly overhead. The south facing side of our home is not going to take a direct onslaught of the sun's rays. Planting trees on this side of your home to block the sun's rays is not necessary to block the high summer sun. They may help with the spring and fall sun, but a common misconception is that the south is always the hottest and sunniest so plant trees there. Not true.

The western side of your home will be the hottest side of your home in the summertime. Just ask anyone who has a patio on the west side of their home with no trees to shade that patio how often they use it in the summer. I'll wager that if they ever use it, it is early in the morning or after the sun has set. The eastern side of your home will also be hot, but not as hot as the west side since the earth does take a while to heat up after the night. You can expect that just about anything you plant on the eastern side of your home in Tennessee is going to do well, whether it requires full sun or part shade. Both are provided for on the eastern side of a house. But, because of our intense heat and sometime (more often than not) droughts, you need to be careful when siting plants on the west side of your home when there is no protection there. Just because a plant says 'full sun', does not mean it likes eight hours of direct western sun.

Here in Tennessee prevailing winds blow from the south and west in the summer. In winter, the winds blow from the north and northwest. Why is this important? Prevailing winds are going to be the strongest and most lengthy winds and are apt to cause damage to plants. Especially newly planted trees and shrubs, and also to tall vegetable plants like tomatoes and peppers and even vining crops if you have them growing on a trellis. Try to consider how prevailing winds will affect plants when siting your plants and placing trees so as to not block the cooling winds in the summertime. In my garden I try to plant stronger plants into the wind with the less strong on the leeward side. I also try to have strong trees in groups into the wind in order to protect trees closer to my home. You really don't want one little or big tree 30 feet from your home on the west side. You are just asking for trouble. Plant groups of trees keeping in mind their ultimate size and required spacing out further from your home to protect those trees close to your home.

The next time you are in the garden consider all the patterns, shady and windy and plan your garden accordingly for long term pleasure and workability.

in the garden....


  1. Quite today. I know Dawn is busy moving so she can relax and watch the game. But weekends tend to be quieter and this being Super Bowl day I guess a lot will be doing whatever they wanna do before the game (which is all day for some). LOL

  2. Hi Guys, back on and its very different over here. Computer breathes better but doesn't have quicker speed! Darn. Well game is coming on. :p

  3. very quiet today. except at walmart. quite busy there. hi mom and dawn with peaches. i guess i could've gotten away with not posting today. oh well, too late now.

    not much to say. my two puppies are holding their own. not eating or drinking. still urinating and pooping so i think that is very good. i am taking them in the morning for a vet check up. wish us well.

    the four in the hospital are not doing well. the two males, dade and lamar are doing the worst and they were the ones i took in first. doesn't look good. i could not have imagined this but am still hoping they all turn around.

  4. Tina, I am so sorry to hear about the pups --they might feel better in the morning. Think positive:) And, I know Dawn with peaches is sitting on edge tonight --I believe the Patriots are doing well but it's going to be close. I can't say I am sitting and watching but I do love the commercials. It was a pretty nice day today --thought it would rain but it held off. It was a typical Sunday --but tonight was catch up on the homework, lol. How they hide it from me until the last minute I don't know? But, we're all washed and ready for bed --the girl model has been in bed half hour already. I wish her brothers had that enthusiasm for sleep:) rofl And, Tina I am glad you posted --you know I'm reading every day. Hang in there with those puppies --I know it's hard --I know they are like cute little kids and need extra care --you are giving them that chance and I totally admire you for that!!! Nighty-night

  5. Darn, I just lost the whole thing I'd written. Now I gotta start all over. I do know how important it is to have trees in the right place to try to protect the house from elements of nature. With my situation my garage is on the West side of my house so it catches most of the heat from sun in summer. My LR & K catches it but the garage helps to block. Makes it better for BR---I hate to try to sleep when it's hot.

    Jean, it's quite here also. Like they rolled the streets up. No traffic to speak of. I really don't care to watch sports--maybe bowling if I can catch it. So I always find other things to do. Thank goodness Young'un is not a nut about it.

    Young'un finally got the lights off the house today. He had to clean the shed out before he could put all x-mas stuff up. All to do again next yr. He does all the outside stuff. I had the shed built to put my flowers in in the winter, but you guessed it---everything else is in there, even stuff that is not mine. Funny, your kids leave home but they expect you to store their stuff. Grandkids too.

    Tina, I love your garden by you garage. Perfect place for bird bath. Is it where you can see from DR? Would be nice to sit have coffee & watch birds. My bird bath will be under pergola that Young'un built for me. Another plan for Spring.
    Sure hope the "babies" do better. It is heart wrenching to not be able to help any more than is being done. Prayers help.
    Your posting was great, I always look forward to reading it. Go for it first.

    Dawn with Peaches, see you got moved. Alls well I suppose, I don't like slow puters either. I don't think DSL is much faster than phone. Not here anyway.

    Till later.

  6. Hi Guys,
    This thing is awful with the pups huh? Gosh, no one knows from day to day how well they are recovering or even if they are getting better. This thing is the same as distemper and kennel cough, the vet told me vaccination can't always keep it away, if it is around, its going to be gotten. I hope things look alittle better in the morning, and improve thru the day.
    Well, Pats lost the superbowl. Perfect season missed by a smidge. If they had to lose, better to the wildcard and Eli than anyone else. I'm put out about my team but not irritated as I would be to any other winner. Next year.
    Yup, got moved. Dog sleeps with Nikki (a shocker) and I have found it is annoying waiting for him to pee as now I actually have flights of stairs to climb!
    Well, til a better day tom.

  7. good morning all,
    puppies are still the same. i am taking them in this morning. thanks everyone for your kind comments and prayers for the pups.

    anonymous, i definitely know about that homework. you do so well your kiddos. they will all continue to excel with mom in their corner like you are.

    lola, i might have forgotten to respond to you the other night. i am sorry. so much going on. i am glad you joined on here and we all love hearing about things in florida.

    i hear you about the kids, mine too expect me to store their things, like cars. urrrrrr.

    good morning dawn with peaches. i CANNOT believe the patriots lost. i watched when it was 7-3 then up 10-7 and figured the pats had it. oh well. like you said, maybe next year. so glad you are moved and yes, i have stairs too, stinks.

  8. Hello Tina, I took a few days break! Sorry to read about the pups, and hope they all survive. I wasn't familier with the disease. What a terrible thing!

    Dawn, so happy you are in your new home. Enjoy it and I hope you have many many happy years and make many memories living it it.

  9. Sorry Dawn with Peaches but I must admit I was pulling for Eli... The Saint said he is sure a lot of people lost a pile of money last night! I was pulling for Eli mainly because I was upset at how the media portrays him as Peyton’s little brother and riding his coat tails. I think he is a great Quarterback and I think he finally proved it to the Media last night. I was so excited for the teams wins as I did think they deserved it. I would also have liked to seen the Patriots go a full undefeated season and win the Super Bowl too. But I guess ya can’t have it all….

    Tina I am pulling for those pups to make a full recovery! I know you are so worried about them but worrying will not make things different. (That is what the Saint says) so please try to not worry yourself to much. The Vets will do the best they can and the rest is up to the pups or a higher means...

    We got the roof finished on the wood shed and I must say it turned out really nice! If only the Saint and our friend had done it correctly the first time, then maybe we would not have had to deal with it this weekend! I have played “Told you so” over and over to the Saint while doing this project! He just snickers and ignores me...

    We also got a fenced in area set up for the small veggie garden. It is only 50 feet total but we think it will be plenty to get us started. We will see how this year goes with fighting off the wild critters before we invest too much into it. We put in a fence to keep the bunny out but the deer will be able to bend over and munch if they desire and the squirrels will jump over the thing or bend it while climbing on it. Once we get things planted, I will make up the concoction of eggs, soap, etc and spray it around to keep the deer away. Oh, well, we will see how it goes. The area is really wet as this is near the natural rain run-off area. Just don’t know how it will work out…

  10. hi nina, we missed you. thanks for thinking of the pups.

    hi skeeter, glad you got your roof fixed and that veggie garden up and ready. 50 sq feet is more than enough for you and the saint to start with. see how it goes. putting it in a wet spot is probably smart, just make sure it can drain or raise the beds by double digging (very strongly recommended by me). most simplest and best optimal way to veggie garden.

    go easy on the saint, he works hard and did finally fix

  11. What is double digging?

    Ah, if I did not give the Saint a hard time occasionally, he would not know what to do! ha...

  12. skeeter, i will do a post on double digging as it is an in depth process and may take some time. basically what i do is remove one shovelful of soil and set it aside from my bed. then i dig, aerate and till the next shovelful deep of soil under the one i already removed. i make sure the subsoil is broke up good. i then add back the initial layer i removed, along with amendments like compost and greensand. if you did the digging right the soil will be about 4 inches higher than the surrounding ground, even without amendments. it will also be light and fluffy and will stay that way. the roots can grow down deep. don't walk on a double dig bed. i believe this is the only way to really garden when setting up a new garden if it is for long term and you want to really start right. do i do it to all my beds. heck no! but the veggie beds-yes!

  13. Okay thanks...I touched on this at another place... Gotta go, Saint is home and hungry! gotta feed that man ya know...