Phoenix homes - backyard south facing okay?

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HomerJ
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Phoenix homes - backyard south facing okay?

Post by HomerJ »

Hypothetically...

If one was going to buy a home in Phoenix, would a south-facing backyard make sense?

What about west-facing? Sun right in your eyes during the evening would be a bummer (and super hot in summer), but what about winter? Nice to have the extra sun in winter?

And of course sunsets can be lovely. Not sure I'd want east-facing and not be able to see the sunset at all.

Thoughts from anyone who lives or snowbirds in Phoenix?
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Jack FFR1846
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Re: Phoenix homes - backyard south facing okay?

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

Build the house with a good overhang or open porch on the south side. We're not in Phoenix, but the sun goes by here too. Our house is situated with one side facing perfect solar south with floor to roof windows and an overhang of almost 2 feet, including the gutter. In the winter, the sun is low in the sky in the northern hemisphere. It comes in the windows to help with heating the house. In the summer, it's high in the sky and the overhang blocks direct sunlight from entering the house. My "office" is right next to these windows and I see how little the sun gets in every day.
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runner3081
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Re: Phoenix homes - backyard south facing okay?

Post by runner3081 »

We have a south facing front yard.

To be honest, I am not sure it matters a ton if you are thinking about "backyard enjoyment". It is either too hot to do anything besides being in the pool (which, you can use sail shades for shade) or just right the rest of the year, regardless of sun location.

One issue we have is a shorter swim season with the pool behind a 2-story house (on north side). Doesn't get nearly as much sunlight as other orientations or single story houses do. For example, our swim season is now over as the pool dropped to 82 degrees. It doesn't start until June.

For the most part, sunsets light up most of the sky, so we still see them just fine. Even with only one bathroom window that faces west.

There are some good discussions/data points out there: http://bloomingrock.com/2010/04/06/the- ... n-phoenix/
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unclescrooge
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Re: Phoenix homes - backyard south facing okay?

Post by unclescrooge »

runner3081 wrote: Tue Sep 01, 2020 3:57 pm We have a south facing front yard.

To be honest, I am not sure it matters a ton if you are thinking about "backyard enjoyment". It is either too hot to do anything besides being in the pool (which, you can use sail shades for shade) or just right the rest of the year, regardless of sun location.

One issue we have is a shorter swim season with the pool behind a 2-story house (on north side). Doesn't get nearly as much sunlight as other orientations or single story houses do. For example, our swim season is now over as the pool dropped to 82 degrees. It doesn't start until June.

For the most part, sunsets light up most of the sky, so we still see them just fine. Even with only one bathroom window that faces west.

There are some good discussions/data points out there: http://bloomingrock.com/2010/04/06/the- ... n-phoenix/
I recommend a solar pool cover. A $100 investment will extend your pool season significantly.
runner3081
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Re: Phoenix homes - backyard south facing okay?

Post by runner3081 »

unclescrooge wrote: Tue Sep 01, 2020 4:59 pm
runner3081 wrote: Tue Sep 01, 2020 3:57 pm We have a south facing front yard.

To be honest, I am not sure it matters a ton if you are thinking about "backyard enjoyment". It is either too hot to do anything besides being in the pool (which, you can use sail shades for shade) or just right the rest of the year, regardless of sun location.

One issue we have is a shorter swim season with the pool behind a 2-story house (on north side). Doesn't get nearly as much sunlight as other orientations or single story houses do. For example, our swim season is now over as the pool dropped to 82 degrees. It doesn't start until June.

For the most part, sunsets light up most of the sky, so we still see them just fine. Even with only one bathroom window that faces west.

There are some good discussions/data points out there: http://bloomingrock.com/2010/04/06/the- ... n-phoenix/
I recommend a solar pool cover. A $100 investment will extend your pool season significantly.
Heard about those, might have to check them out.
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Marmot
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Re: Phoenix homes - backyard south facing okay?

Post by Marmot »

The best orientation is to have the backyard facing north. We had an west facing house (with no sun protection as in trees )for 18 years. It had a very deep porch, but the sun is brutal for at least 3 months. Brutal as in bright and heat brutal. We last had the backyard facing north, that is the best orientation IMO. We also had a backyard facing south for 14 years. Nice, but always bright, made it hard to watch TV. Lived in Phoenix since 1985.
Last edited by Marmot on Tue Sep 01, 2020 6:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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unclescrooge
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Re: Phoenix homes - backyard south facing okay?

Post by unclescrooge »

runner3081 wrote: Tue Sep 01, 2020 5:41 pm
unclescrooge wrote: Tue Sep 01, 2020 4:59 pm
runner3081 wrote: Tue Sep 01, 2020 3:57 pm We have a south facing front yard.

To be honest, I am not sure it matters a ton if you are thinking about "backyard enjoyment". It is either too hot to do anything besides being in the pool (which, you can use sail shades for shade) or just right the rest of the year, regardless of sun location.

One issue we have is a shorter swim season with the pool behind a 2-story house (on north side). Doesn't get nearly as much sunlight as other orientations or single story houses do. For example, our swim season is now over as the pool dropped to 82 degrees. It doesn't start until June.

For the most part, sunsets light up most of the sky, so we still see them just fine. Even with only one bathroom window that faces west.

There are some good discussions/data points out there: http://bloomingrock.com/2010/04/06/the- ... n-phoenix/
I recommend a solar pool cover. A $100 investment will extend your pool season significantly.
Heard about those, might have to check them out.
I bought one for my in-laws pool in SoCal. It extended our pool season from 2 weeks to 8 months.
Cruise
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Re: Phoenix homes - backyard south facing okay?

Post by Cruise »

We have had a West-facing home for a long time. The sun is brutal, but so are the sunsets. We would not trade it for anything.
Cactuscoug
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Re: Phoenix homes - backyard south facing okay?

Post by Cactuscoug »

We are in Tucson, facing East. Mountains. Sunrises. And, the backyard is in shade in the afternoon-evening. South would be our second choice. North, Third. West, NEVER!!

If you require a sunset, look out the front door.
DesertDiva
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Re: Phoenix homes - backyard south facing okay?

Post by DesertDiva »

I live in the desert. Our backyard faces south but we have a covered patio and trees in the yard. West facing backyards are considered less desirable
stan1
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Re: Phoenix homes - backyard south facing okay?

Post by stan1 »

West facing yards have sun glare and (depending upon microclimate) possibly more wind. In our experience living in the desert high winds do more to make the yard undesirable than summer sunlight.
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Re: Phoenix homes - backyard south facing okay?

Post by TomatoTomahto »

Jack FFR1846 wrote: Tue Sep 01, 2020 3:38 pm Build the house with a good overhang or open porch on the south side. We're not in Phoenix, but the sun goes by here too. Our house is situated with one side facing perfect solar south with floor to roof windows and an overhang of almost 2 feet, including the gutter. In the winter, the sun is low in the sky in the northern hemisphere. It comes in the windows to help with heating the house. In the summer, it's high in the sky and the overhang blocks direct sunlight from entering the house. My "office" is right next to these windows and I see how little the sun gets in every day.
I had never considered how useful overhangs are until we moved into our current home. I so respect the thought that went into our home’s design: making use of winter sun and minimizing summer sun. Brilliant!
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myleaf
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Re: Phoenix homes - backyard south facing okay?

Post by myleaf »

We live in Phoenix and have a North Facing House. Large covered patio in back. No major problems with excessive Sun.
FYI, I heard that if you have a pool, it is good to have a south or west facing back yard.
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jrbdmb
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Re: Phoenix homes - backyard south facing okay?

Post by jrbdmb »

runner3081 wrote: Tue Sep 01, 2020 3:57 pm We have a south facing front yard.

To be honest, I am not sure it matters a ton if you are thinking about "backyard enjoyment". It is either too hot to do anything besides being in the pool (which, you can use sail shades for shade) or just right the rest of the year, regardless of sun location.

One issue we have is a shorter swim season with the pool behind a 2-story house (on north side). Doesn't get nearly as much sunlight as other orientations or single story houses do. For example, our swim season is now over as the pool dropped to 82 degrees. It doesn't start until June.

For the most part, sunsets light up most of the sky, so we still see them just fine. Even with only one bathroom window that faces west.

There are some good discussions/data points out there: http://bloomingrock.com/2010/04/06/the- ... n-phoenix/
Consider yourself fortunate. For many in the north an 82 degree pool would be considered a hot tub. :)
btenny
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Re: Phoenix homes - backyard south facing okay?

Post by btenny »

I have a west facing back yard in our Phoenix retirement house. We have lived there for 19 years. It has a 10 foot deep patio all along that west house side. The yard is grass and has big trees at the west edge of the lawn. The tree shade and grass keep the temperature 5-10 degrees cooler than the front yard. It never gets over 105 or so. We have a big patio table and chairs on that patio and we eat outside all spring and fall. We used to have drop down sun shades at the patio edge for more shade in the summer. But now we snow bird and close up the house all summer so we do not use those any more. The only draw back we have is the big trees block the sunset and shade the house roof so solar panels are not practical.

We have also owned a south facing big home when we were working and raising kids. That house had a big pool and big 12 foot deep patio next to the pool as well. Then we had big trees to the west and east to provide some shade. That arrangement was nice as the pool got warm by May and stayed warm until late in the fall. That pool got so warm in mid summer we had to run the air-rater at night to cool it off.

Hope this info helps. Good Luck.
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Re: Phoenix homes - backyard south facing okay?

Post by Gnirk »

We are in the Coachella valley, and spend a lot of time on our patio, and have the same concerns as Phoenix. My choice is an east-facing patio area, which can be used year-round if you have a misting system. My next preference would be south-facing with a large overhead. I won't even look at a home with a west-facing patio area. My neighbors across the street have a beautiful west-facing patio with a large pool, and you can't use it after noon most of the year unless you wait until the sun goes down.
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Re: Phoenix homes - backyard south facing okay?

Post by Carefreeap »

HomerJ wrote: Tue Sep 01, 2020 3:05 pm Hypothetically...

If one was going to buy a home in Phoenix, would a south-facing backyard make sense?

What about west-facing? Sun right in your eyes during the evening would be a bummer (and super hot in summer), but what about winter? Nice to have the extra sun in winter?

And of course sunsets can be lovely. Not sure I'd want east-facing and not be able to see the sunset at all.

Thoughts from anyone who lives or snowbirds in Phoenix?
Are you going to live there full time or be a snowbird? It makes a big difference.

People forget that the desert gets cold in the winter. Last winter my tenants sent pix of all the snow in the trees. Snow in that area happens every few years but getting below freezing is common during the winter. We are the third owner of our house that was built in 1982. The original owners had a pool installed and the second owners (snowbirds) removed it and put in a large in ground spa. When we bought the house back in 2003 we thought we would put in a pool. I'm so glad we didn't.

Our house faces west but it faces Black Mountain and therefore a lot of that western sun and heat is blocked. We still get beautiful sunsets around the mountain. And beautiful sunrises over the back yard.

IMO you really need to take in the whole environment.
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Starfish
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Re: Phoenix homes - backyard south facing okay?

Post by Starfish »

Just came back from a week in Phoenix. Although this was not the worst possible (had couple of rains) it's impossible for me to understand how people can stand the oppressive weather. The heat and especially the heat in the sun is unbearable and people live mostly inside. Its like living in a polar circle town in Siberia. Even at night i't was very hot. I understand it is not like this all year (although at Thanksgiving it was still very hot) but I would definitely not consider a house with the yard towards south.
IMO
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Re: Phoenix homes - backyard south facing okay?

Post by IMO »

Sun rises east and settles west:

Personally from experience, feel the best is to have your front door face south, and the backyard facing north.

Sun in morning will impact the east facing walls/windows of the house. During mid-day it is overhead and at the end of the day it is hitting the west facing walls/windows. Typically your garage is in the front (south) and I believe as it's south it will be taking more of the sun's impact. This is good as the garage space will act as insulator from the main air conditioned house space. Backyard (presume with pool) will have more than enough sun in the late spring/summer/early fall for swimming and if there are trees in backyard, they will provide some shade in both the am and the afternoon as sun moves to the east (actually apparently I'm told it's the earth moving :) ) . As you should also have a covered rear patio, the north facing aspect should not get hit with as much direct sun if it were south facing.

Not news, it's oppressively hot in places like Phoenix in the summer, but it's a dry heat (until the monsoon's come of course). The biggest question one should ask is do you have your own private pool in your backyard. Temperatures above 100 are much more tolerable when you have easy access to water. Having a boat/lake nearby are another plus. (I should mention, myself/friends used to drive long distances to spend/boat/have great times at places like Lake Havasu during the summer months from cooler SoCal, go figure).
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Re: Phoenix homes - backyard south facing okay?

Post by phxjcc »

I had two houses in Scottsdale.

First faced east. Hated it. Pool in shadow of house and could not watch sunsets or thunderstorms.
Master also faced east, horrid.

Second faced NNW. Better and could go to NW corner for sun or under patio cover for shade.

Currently have a south facing house in Palm Springs area. I prefer it to the other two.
The MBR also faces south and it is not a problem--got blackout duet vertical shades.

Have a friend that has an east facing house; same issue that I had--pool is in shade all aftn.

Get good windows and good blackout blinds and south is the way to go.
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Re: Phoenix homes - backyard south facing okay?

Post by Erwin007 »

I haven’t ever lived in Phoenix. Our house in Montana has a south facing back porch and no real problems.
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unclescrooge
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Re: Phoenix homes - backyard south facing okay?

Post by unclescrooge »

Erwin007 wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 1:57 pm I haven’t ever lived in Phoenix. Our house in Montana has a south facing back porch and no real problems.
So I'm guessing you've never experienced a 120 degree summer?
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Re: Phoenix homes - backyard south facing okay?

Post by Erwin007 »

unclescrooge wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 2:09 pm
Erwin007 wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 1:57 pm I haven’t ever lived in Phoenix. Our house in Montana has a south facing back porch and no real problems.
So I'm guessing you've never experienced a 120 degree summer?
Nope. I did live in Texas for 5 years though. It got hot there.
zengolf2011
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Re: Phoenix homes - backyard south facing okay?

Post by zengolf2011 »

I live in western Maricopa County. I recommend having two patios, one for summer when you want shade most of the day (especially in the afternoon) and one for winter when morning sun is pleasant. This means you're probably looking for a northernish-facing summer patio and easternish-facing winter patio. The winter (and/or summer, for that matter) patio need not be large. It's not hard to find homes with two patio areas here, especially in newer developments.

Another thing to consider is that the sun is much lower in the sky during winter, so it can be hard to visualize what will be sunny or shady in a different season. Would really help to talk to some neighbors once you settle on a neighborhood.

Edit: Also, you can often achieve satisfactory shade with a pergola and/or creative landscaping. Sun screens are always available, but I would caution against motorized ones. My landscaper told me they are expensive and prone to breakdown. Violent gusts and wild storms aren't uncommon here, and can really cause damage.

Phoenix is great -- hope you enjoy it!
Lee_WSP
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Re: Phoenix homes - backyard south facing okay?

Post by Lee_WSP »

Unless you have a mountain to block the sun & provide shade in the summer, I'd opt for north or south facing. Both have advantages and disadvantages. If you snow bird it, a south facing lawn is probably best unless you watch a lot of tv during the daytime in which case, you probably will get a lot of glare; or maybe you get more glare with a north lawn since the tv would be on the opposite side of the patio door. I'm not terribly sure on that one, I just know that south facing windows are going to get blasted with heat year round (plus in the winter, huge minus in the summer).
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