We were honest with ourselves right from the start – we’re not gardeners. But the way the garden is set out can enhance or hinder solar passive design.
To the north of the house, we only have lawn. We can’t have any bushes or trees blocking winter sun from entering the house, so our options were deciduous plants or none. As we have stunning views over the farm, we’ve opted for none, so that the views aren’t obscured in summer either. As bushfire is a risk, this clear front, which also correlates to the ‘most likely’ north-west fire front, also helps protect us in this unlikely event. (As a side – did you know that strawbale is more fire-safe than double brick, due to the high density/ low oxygen nature of the bales?).
We have planted three deciduous trees to the west of the house. These don’t block any view but will provide shading to both the house and the childrens outdoor play area in summer, while letting sunshine through in winter. We simply haven’t tackled the east side of the outdoor area yet, but it will follow the same principles.
The vegetable garden and fruit trees are also located to the west of the house. They get partial summer shading from the woodland trees, and plenty of winter sun. They are also easily accessible from a house door, so you can quickly pop out in the rain or dark and pick something for dinner!
The south side of the house is always in shade, so a low waterwise garden has been planted along the southern edge.