Sun Mapping – How It Can Help You Get The Most Out Of Your Garden

Sun Mapping – How It Can Help You Get The Most Out Of Your Garden

Planning a new garden or renovating an established one?  Looking for tips on how to maintain palmetto grass or wondering where to establish a new veggie patch?  Whether you’ve been blessed with ‘green fingers’ or not, it pays to do your homework before you dig in.  While there are many aspects of your gardening project that are within your control, there are some that aren’t… and one of them is the sun!


The Importance of Sunlight

Different species of plants require different amounts of sunlight.

From shade-loving ferns and mosses to sun-loving veggies and native flowers, each type of foliage calls for a certain number of hours of sunlight each day to maintain optimum growth.

To enjoy a flourishing and healthy garden, it’s important to understand the needs of each type of plant, and plan your garden design accordingly – if delicate shade lovers are planted in full sun may get burned and become stunted; sun-lovers planted beneath big trees tend to become leggy and unhealthy.

how to maintain palmetto grass

What is Sun Mapping?

Despite the name, it’s not making a map of the sun!!  Sun Mapping is the term used for the process of recording and documenting the amount of sunlight each ‘zone’ or area of your garden receives at different times of the day.  The simplest method of doing this is to sketch out a map of your garden (this doesn’t need to be done exactly to scale, but as close as possible) and record the sunlight and shadows each hour as the sun moves across the sky.  Use different coloured pencils for each hour (or every 2 hours if you would prefer).

It may help to take photos (your phone or iPad will be good enough for this job) to help you remember each phase of sunlight and shadow throughout the day.

Using Your Sun Map

With your completed map set of photos in hand, it’s easy to visualize how the sun moves across your garden during the day and make informed choices about which plants and grasses you plant in each area.  Existing structures (such as sheds) and trees with large canopies will cast shadows over various areas at different times of day, and it’s important to note how many hours of direct sunlight each zone of your garden receives.

Photos help visualise how the sun moves through your garden

Palmetto Buffalo is a great choice for lawns that have areas of full sun as well as shade – ask the team at Rivers Edge Turf for tips on how to maintain palmetto grass all year round.

how to maintain palmetto grass

Research = Results

There’s nothing more frustrating than sinking time and money into a garden that just doesn’t go! That’s why it’s important to do your groundwork before you put shovel to dirt.  The efforts you put into sun mapping will be well rewarded – if yours is a garden that has a lot of shade there are grasses and plants to suit.  Likewise, if yours is one that receives nearly constant sunshine, there are sun-loving species that are just what you need!  It’s important to understand what category of plants you are shopping for so that you don’t waste time and money on species that can’t survive in your garden.


The team at Rivers Edge Turf are here to help you create and maintain a garden that’s beautiful and healthy.  Call us on 02 45799009 and discuss the needs of your garden with one of our staff.



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