South facing pool benefits

Why buy or rent a villa with a south facing pool?

In this blog entry I’m going to try and explain why a villa with south facing pool is essential when you are creating your shortlist for a villa purchase or vacation rental in the Orlando Florida vacation regions, or any northern hemisphere accommodation (reverse the logic for a southern hemisphere property).  Here’s a Dave-special diagram:


Simple diagram explaining the length of a shadow case by the sun in Florida

As sure as the day is long, the sun rises in the East and sets in the West, but depending on how far north and south of the equator you are (known as latitude), will add a north/south dimension to the angle of the sun’s light, and therefore a length, to the shadow a building casts.

If we take the simple example above of the midday sun to remove any east-west shadow angle, the diagram above explains why latitude adds an angle to the sun and subsequently a shadow at midday when the sun is directly overhead on the equator. This is the exact reason you need to rent a villa with a south facing pool.


Our villa shadow profile in December

The further north you travel, the longer this shadow is.


Do you want your pool to be in the grey shadow the building and the sun create at midday? No! To find out exactly what the shadow looks like in Florida, I put in the latitude and longitude of Dave’s Florida Villa into the coordinates on a shadow plotting site, then selected the shortest day of the year in the Northern hemisphere.  December 21st.  The results are in the time-lapse picture view to the left.

I then put in the rough dimension of our single-storey hip-roofed villa, because the height of the building increases the length of the shadow.  A two-storey building will cast a much bigger shadow than a single-storey villa.

It’s very clear to see why you want your pool to be in the area not affected by the shadow throughout the entire day.

A pool on the north-east of a building gets lots of sun in the morning.  One on the north-west would get the evening sun.  However one facing south gets a lot more sun than both.

It’s not just the fact you can sit in the sun all day by the pool, the south facing lanai remains dry all year, so less mould exists naturally, and the water dries quickly, so generally it’s a much nicer and warmer place to be than on the north side of the building.

You can see that by looking at any of the buildings in Florida – the north side of the villas are always a little greener and dirtier than the south facing aspects.   Have a look on Google Street View and take a look for yourself on Tuscan Ridge.  We rejected many houses in Florida because the pool deck was so dark and dirty because it was north facing.

Extreme survivalists use this technique when navigating in the wilderness, just not on buildings but on the vegetation!  Not really much need for this in Tuscan Ridge!

Many thanks to the website Find My Shadow which allowed me to use the efforts of someone else to help explain what our villa shadow profile looks like in the winter months.

But where’s the proof?  To put all this theory into action I downloaded our villa aerial view from Google Maps and guesstimated when it was taken.  See the image below.

This aerial photo was probably taken in the winter, early afternoon, I guess at around 1pm.  The pool is still completely bathed in sunlight after being exposed all morning.  Our south facing pool will remain mostly in the sun until around 4pm.  Even during the shortest day of the year!

Tuscan Ridge Barbera Drive Villa

Google maps satellite view of Dave’s Florida Villa – with the south facing pool


In September we have sun easily past 4pm, but at 4pm you can tell that the shadow in September is much shorter than in December, so more of our lanai is exposed to the sun.  Great for evening dining and relaxing.

The last example I have is when the building has a gable-ended roof.  This roof design results in a much higher roof but one that is structurally weaker to hurricane force winds.


Hip roof (left) and a Gable roof diagram

The only benefit is more storage space which we don’t care about in Florida when we want the most sun available.


Gable end roof and the resulting shadow in December

This shadow plot is also in December, so compare it to the first of our diagrams and you can very easily see just how much longer the shadow is cast with a gable roof.

Click to open full size.

In conclusion, a vacationer or house buyer should always consider the benefits of a south facing pool or garden.  How much sun do you want to get?  Also factor in the height of the building, roof design, and latitude, which all impact the size of area of shadow cast by the sun.

If you have a choice you should always without exception get the south facing pool.  South east for the morning sun, and south west for evening sun.  Exactly the same when buying houses with gardens in the UK.

Villa details added yesterday

I had a bit of spare time yesterday, waiting for the Turkey to get fat and so on.  So I decided to raid the inspiration banks and fill out the Barbera Drive page on the main website to get our Tuscan Ridge villa well and truly on the map.

We’ve added details of the Tuscan Ridge community, the location close to Disney and golf, the features of the house and the key selling points.  Let’s face it, it’s a crowded market and you’ve got to have most of the “must have” features to get bookings in place.

Our villa has the key element – a south facing oversized pool and spa.  Heated, of course.  You can wake up in the mornings in the master suite, draw back the blinds and have the sun beaming onto the large lanai area to greet you.  Grab a cold orange juice from the fridge and slide the master suite’s doors back, and you are instantly waking up in style in Florida!  I feel more relaxed already.

For those staying in the queen end suite, it’s not that bad either.  Walk through your own shower and en-suite room (closed off from the rest of the villa) and open the door onto the pool area.  Straight out into the sun!

If the sun is too hot, why not stay put in the main family room, or kick back in the 2nd living room?  Both have ample space, and a dining area each.  Plenty of books to read if you get bored (really?!) and lots of guides to the area.  You will be well and truly spoilt during your stay.

Christmas in Florida

We’ve just returned from a fantastic house hunting holiday in Florida, and Donna and I are very excited to have come back to the UK with a signed contract on a 4 bed villa in Tuscan Ridge. We registered this site name as an easy to remember URL that hopefully won’t deter too many people.

During our stay we managed to sign up to one of the best management companies for the villa – Homes Of America. They helped us locate a sought after floorplan and a south facing pool with spa.

So now we are in the short term rental business, and hope that we can get lots of repeat business for families wanting to get away to Florida to enjoy the year-round sun!