How to Measure the Amount of Sunlight in Your Yard

Understanding the amount of sunlight your yard receives is essential for successful gardening, landscaping, and even for planning outdoor activities. The amount of sunlight can vary throughout the day and across different areas of your yard, so measuring it accurately is crucial. In this article, we’ll explore various methods and tools to help you assess and monitor the sunlight in your yard effectively.

Sunlight Tracking Apps

In the digital age, there’s an app for almost everything, and measuring sunlight is no exception. Several smartphone apps are designed to provide accurate information about the amount of sunlight your yard receives. These apps use your device’s GPS and sensors to calculate the sun’s position, taking into account factors like the time of day and your geographical location. Some popular sunlight tracking apps include “Sun Surveyor” and “Sun Seeker.”

To use these apps effectively, simply open the app and point your smartphone or tablet towards the area you want to measure. The app will display information about the sun’s path, including sunrise, sunset, and the angle of sunlight throughout the day. This can help you identify the sunniest and shadiest spots in your yard.

Sunlight Monitors

Sunlight monitors are specialized devices designed to measure the amount of sunlight in a specific location over time. These devices typically consist of a solar sensor and a digital display. You can place the sensor in your yard, and it will continuously monitor the light levels and display the data on the screen. The most popular meter is the SunCalc Sunlight Calculator.

To use a sunlight monitor, follow these steps:

  • Position the sensor in the area you want to measure sunlight.
  • Turn on the monitor and set it to record light levels at regular intervals (e.g., every 15 minutes).
  • Leave the monitor in place for at least a week to get a comprehensive understanding of sunlight patterns in your yard.
  • Review the data to determine which areas receive the most and least sunlight.

Sun Charts

Sun charts or sun path diagrams are graphical representations of the sun’s path across the sky at different times of the year. While not a real-time measurement tool, sun charts can provide valuable insights into the seasonal variations in sunlight in your yard. You can find sun charts online or create your own using software or templates available online.

To create a sun chart for your yard, follow these steps:

  • Identify your location’s latitude and longitude.
  • Use this information to find a sun chart specific to your geographical location.
  • Plot the sun’s path for different times of the year, such as the equinoxes and solstices.
  • Mark the areas in your yard where sunlight falls during different seasons.

Shadow Tracking

A simple yet effective method to measure sunlight in your yard is to track the movement of shadows. Place a tall object like a stake or a pole in the area you want to assess and observe how the shadow changes throughout the day. You can mark the shadow’s endpoints at different times and use this information to gauge the amount of sunlight that area receives.


Measuring the amount of sunlight in your yard is a valuable task for gardeners, landscapers, and anyone who enjoys outdoor activities. By using sunlight tracking apps, monitors, sun charts, or shadow tracking, you can gain insights into the sunlight patterns in your yard, helping you make informed decisions about planting, landscaping, or choosing the perfect spot for that sunny afternoon picnic. Understanding your yard’s sunlight levels will ultimately contribute to the beauty and functionality of your outdoor space.

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