What is a Microclimates in your Yard

Climates are usually looked at by the state, city, and area within the city you live in but did you know that within your yard you can have a microclimate that can drastically change what and where you plant vegetables, fruit, herbs, and flowers?

I will explain what a microclimate is and how it impacts your planting decisions so that you can provide the best climate for your plants and trees.

What is a Microclimates in your Yard

Sunlight and shaded areas are impacted all over your yard by trees, structures, and plants.  To understand your yard’s microclimates you need to chart the sun and shade in your yard throughout the day.

Microclimates and the Impact on your garden

You can have many climates within your yard, it is valuable for you to understand this since it will benefit the growth of your plants in your garden producing stronger plants that produce more fruit and vegetables.

The first step in determining the microclimates you have in your yard is to draw out your yard on a piece of paper noting the different directions, N=North, S=South, W=West, E=East.

Next draw in any structures including fences with the heights of each to determine the area that will be in the shade.

Within your yard, you will have many microclimates that will impact your garden and each of these will affect the plants you grow in those areas so it is essential to choose the correct plants for each microclimate in your yard.

Microclimates without anything impacting sunlight

Northern Exposure morning shade early with mild sun late morning, mild sun mid to late day, cool weather crops grow best in this area such as lettuce, spinach, and cilantro.

Southern Exposure morning shade with mid to late-day hot sun crops like berries, tomatoes, and squash do well in these conditions.

Eastern Exposure morning shade with late morning to end of the day full sun and heat crops like carrots, peppers, and beets do well in these conditions.

Western Exposure to full-day sun and heat crops like corn, tomatoes, and squash are good to grow in this sunny area of your garden.

How to use microclimates to benefit your garden

Take the time to document the sun exposure for your garden beds based on the structures that will block the sun during the growing season.

Take advantage of the areas in your yard and the exposure to the sun to provide the plants with what they require by mapping out your microclimates on graph paper so that you can plan out your garden plantings based on the exposure for each area.

The next thing to think about is the plants and how tall they will grow producing shade so that you plan out how they will also impact your garden’s microclimate.

Other conditions that can impact your garden microclimate is the wind and what wind blocks you have that will impact the growth of your gardens such as trees, fences, houses, and sheds.

You can create wind and sun barriers with the plants you use in your garden and through vertical gardening.

Even though you cannot map out the exact movement of the sun in the winter to plan out your garden you can get a good idea based on the structures and trees you have that will impact the sunlight on the garden.

When summer does arrive it is a good idea to map it out in Spring, Mid-Summer, Late-Summer, and Fall so that you can have accurate information for the next year’s garden.


Now that you understand how your yard has many microclimates in your yard it is time to chart them out and note which plants will do best in each of the climates.

Remember you can impact these microclimates with the plants you are planting to further impact the microclimate.

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