The orientation of the house, as well as the location of windows, contribute to a residence that is brighter or darker, or one that enables particular vistas. Consider the preceding instances of east/west and north/south. People who want to watch the sunset from their backyard, for example, will seek a home that faces east. Those who don't care for sunsets would prefer a west-facing yard. Privacy is also a consideration: If you don't want people walking by your bedroom window, then an east- or west-facing house is best.
When deciding between these two options, consider how much time you want to spend in your own home every day. If you live there full time, it's important that it be a comfortable place to be. A house that doesn't receive much sunlight during the winter months, for example, might be better off if you work nights so you can be indoors during the day when it's warm.
If you travel for your job, think about whether this is a direction you want to drive up to your home each day. If you live in California and your car is parked in your driveway at night, any vehicle approaching from the east may not see its brake lights go on because headlights are visible from the road. This isn't true for cars driving west, so if you live in a neighborhood with homes facing both directions, give some thought to which way you'd like to drive in order to avoid attention from outside observers.
The north-facing side of your house will receive the most sunlight; the sun moves from east to west during the day, spending the most time shining on the north-facing external walls of a house. During winter, when the sky is clear, all that sunlight strikes the snow and ice outside your window and is reflected back into space. In summer, when the sun is high in the sky, it shines directly onto the south-facing gardens and roofs of houses, warming them up before it hits the ocean or some other body of water.
The amount of sunlight reaching the ground inside a house depends on how far away it is from the window. The closer you are to the window, the more light will fall on your face, hands, and any other surfaces close by. But also close by are things like radiators, which act as mirrors reflecting away part of the incoming light. Further away are things like bookcases, which stop most of the light from getting to those areas. At the furthest end of the house is everything locked away safely inside storage cupboards or rooms with heavy curtains - they're not used so often that they need sunlight to keep them warm.
In general, the whole interior of a house receives less sunlight than the exterior.
A south-facing residence often receives the majority of the day's sunlight, particularly at the front of the house, and is thus brighter and warmer. A north-facing residence receives sunlight from the rear of the house and is often darker and naturally colder than a south-facing property. In cold climates, a north-facing residence should have some form of insulation such as brick or stone on the exterior to prevent heat loss.
In hot climates, a north-facing residence requires more efficient cooling techniques than does a south-facing one. For example, a north-facing house with an attached garage can be cooled by opening up any unused bedrooms to create a air flow through the house. A south-facing house must usually be cooled by opening all the windows, which allows for the exchange of energy between the inside and outside environments but also results in excessive heating during warm weather months when the sun is directly overhead.
The amount of sunlight that reaches a particular area is called its exposure. A location that receives much of the morning light but not any direct afternoon sun is said to have partial shade. Full shade means no sunlight reaches the area all day long. The intensity of the sunlight varies depending on how close it is to the equator (more about this later).
North-facing properties are in demand because they require less energy to heat or cool than south-facing ones.
It is the direction you face while exiting your home if you are inside the house, in front of the entry door. You have an east-facing house if you depart the house facing east. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west, so this is where you should position yourself if you want to take advantage of all the sunlight during the day and not suffer from any darkness during night time.
East-facing houses need more sunlight during the day than west-facing houses, because they do not have the benefit of shade or clouds to block out the sun. However, these same houses tend to get less sunlight during the evening, because they are not oriented toward the sunset.
If you live in an area that gets a lot of sunshine, then you know that you need to be making sure that you are taking care of these houses every year by moving some of your plants outside or installing outdoor lighting.
This is important because without enough sunlight, plants will not grow as fast as they could if they had adequate exposure to light during their peak hours. Also, without enough sunlight, you will not be able to see what's going on with your garden at night, which makes it difficult for you to manage it effectively.
Gardening is about much more than just planting seeds and watching them grow.