Did you know that if you have a nice and well designed landscape around your home that not only are you going to have a beautiful home but it will also help you save money by saving energy. The reason for this is that it’s going to help reduce both your heating and your cooling costs on your energy bills each month.
By having trees, vines and shrubs well placed you are going to be providing your home with the effective shade and windbreaks that will help you lower your energy output, saving energy and saving you money. By having trees for instance that are carefully placed can actually save you around 25% of the normal energy usage. Research has found that during the summer months the temperature of the air in well shaded lawns can be up to 6 degrees cooler than those areas that don’t have any trees. Trees also are good for winter because they block that cold wind.
Know Your Climate
In order to save on energy with your landscaping, it’s important that you know so that you know just how to landscape to reap the money saving benefits. By the way, if you have a well designed landscape you can actually end up saving enough energy to pay for the landscaping in less than eight years! Here are a few energy saving landscaping tips for the different regions of the country:
• Temperate Regions – If you live in a temperate region of the country you should try to take advantage of the warming effect of the sun during the winter. Make sure there’s plenty of shade covering your home during the summer. During the winter you can deflect the colder winter winds by creating windbreaks on the northwest and north sides of your home.
• Hot/Arid Regions – Make sure to provide your home with shade that will cool down the walls, windows and roof of your home. It’s best to naturally cool your home with the summer winds of the area. Cool down the air that’s around your home with a variety of plants.
• Hot/Humid Regions – You should channel the summer breezes toward your house to cool it. Use trees strategically to shade your house in the summer months but still allow the sun to warm it during the winter months. Try to avoid locating any planting beds that require a lot of watering that’s close to your house.
• Cool Regions – You should really use dense windbreaks to help protect your house from severely cold winter winds. Make sure that the sun of winter reaches your windows that face the south. Make sure to shade both the west and south sides of your house from the summer sunshine.
Know Your Microclimate
The microclimate is the actual climate that surrounds your home. When you do your landscaping around energy efficiency you will need to consider this microclimate along with your regional climate.
The microclimate around your home can get more sun, wind, shade, rain, snow, overall moisture/dryness than that of your average regional conditions. For example, if your house is on a sunny southern slope, you may have a warm microclimate, even if you happen to live in a cool region. Same goes for if you live in a hot/humid region, your house might be situated in a more comfortable microclimate because it has a lot of dry breezes and tons of shade. These microclimate factors just like regional climate factors will help to determine which plants can or can’t grow in your private landscape.
Using Shade in Your Landscaping
Shade is the best effective way to save money by reducing the heat gain your house gets from the sun. Proper shading will immediately help you save money when it comes to air conditioning. In order to provide your home with effective shading you will need to know the shape, location and the size of the shadow that your shade producer is going to cast for you.
Make sure that you try to use both deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs in your landscaping. They both have energy saving benefits. With deciduous trees, they will help to block the heat of the sun during the summer and during the winter they will allow sunlight into your home. With evergreen shrubs and trees you will have continual shade. So you need to strategically plant the two different types of trees to gain the most benefits.
Planting Tips for Highest Efficiency
You should always plant your deciduous tress to the south of your house. This way they still will screen anywhere from 70% to 90% of the hot summer sunshine while letting cool breezes through. Plant any trees with crowns lower to your ground on the west if you are looking for shade from the lower angles that come from the afternoon sun. Also plant your bushes, climbing vines with a trellis or shrubs on your patio to help provide shade. You should plant a deciduous tree that is 6 to 8 feet tall close to your house because it will actually start providing your windows with shade the very first year and will shade the entire roof anywhere from 5 to 10 years.
Create windbreaks to help reduce your cost of heating. Windbreaks can lower the wind chill factor close to your home and they will also create dead air space that will help insulate your house in the summer and the winter. Also windbreaks that are placed to the west, east and the north of your home will save energy consumption an average of 40%.
If you live in an area that tends to get snow drifts you should consider planting low shrubs on the windward side of a windbreak to help trap the snow before it gets blown right next to your house.
If you want to direct the cooling wind toward your home during the summer months then plant trees on either side of your house.
Conserve Water Through Your Landscaping
Conserving water is also going to help you save money as well. Here are a few things you can do to help conserve water:
• Always make sure that you group plants together that have the same type of water needs.
• Lower the use of turf by using low water usage kinds of turf grass.
• Aerate your lawns soil. This will help to improve the water flow to the roots of your plans and it will reduce the water runoff.
• Try to water in the mornings during hotter months because the rate of evaporation is lower during early morning hours.
• It’s a good idea to try and organize your turf grass in patterns that are continuous. This makes it easier to maintain and will use less water.
• Make sure to raise the cutting height of your mower in the summer. The longer blades of grass will shade each other and helps to retain more water.
• Always use mulch to help keep your plant roots cooler and to minimize evaporation. It also reduces the growth of weeds.
I hope that this information has been helpful for you to be able to create a more self-sufficient, energy efficient and money saving landscape for your home.