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Placing your sundial

If you are wondering where at your house or in your garden to place an armillary sphere, horizontal sundial or a vertical sundial there may be more options than you think. There are various things to consider in advance that will help with this tricky decision. Today we are unlikely to rely solely on our sundial to tell us the time accurately. The sundial is partly practical but also partly sculptural, consideration of both of these factors will contribute to your decision.

Sunlight on your sundial

Whether the sundial is a gift or for your own personal use, you need to consider the duration of sunlight hours each day throughout the year at the desired location. A sundial can be installed anywhere it just needs to receive sun during some part of the day. Many people believe that a vertical dial must face due south and be in sunlight all day, however very interesting dials can be created on virtually any wall. The dial below is on an East facing wall, it is due to this alignment that the numerals are all off to the left. An armillary sphere will also need direct sun for portions of the day and is not ideally positioned with overhanging trees or next to tall shrubs.

Where to put a sundial Border Sundials
Vertical brass strip dial on an East facing wall

Visibility of your sundial

Will you get to enjoy your sundial? It is important to position your sundial where you will derive maximum pleasure from it. Is there a facade that you look at on a regular basis that is missing a point of interest? Vertical wall dials add wonderful and thoughtful finishing touches to all buildings. Armillary spheres can create a points of focus in intimate settings or draw the viewers eye through vistas around the garden. A recommended height for positioning an armillary sphere is around 1.2 meters to allow the average person to have a good view of the cast shadow.

Where to put a sundial Border Sundials
A beautifully aged Bronze armillary sphere

Weather and your sundial

Very exposed situations susceptible to heavy rain wind and freezing conditions may not be appropriate for certain types of dial. For example a pillar dial would be vulnerable to high winds. At Border Sundials we use the highest grade marine grade brass and stainless steel for our armillary spheres and horizontal dials and these will withstand all weather conditions.

Where to put a sundial Border Sundials
An enamel pillar sundial

Sundials for Public places

In public places one needs to consider the risk of graffiti and damage and also make sure that all fixings are reinforced and inaccessible to avoid any theft or injury.

Where to put a sundial Border Sundials
A memorial sundial with commemorative plaque

Installing your sundial

It is important that there is suitable access to the site for the size and weight of the sundial being installed. Soft ground in flower beds will need preparation for the weight of a plinth and dial, stone slabs or a concrete base usually suffice. In the case of a vertical dial think how the wall will be reached, a ladder may be enough or scaffold platform or a cherry picker maybe needed. If the dial is to be lit at night electric cables will need to be laid in advance.

I hope these thoughts on where to place a sundial will help with decision making but please feel free to call us at Border Sundials for any advice 01873 840297