Did you know that the right home landscape can save energy, water, and money? According to Energy.gov, a well-designed landscape can save enough energy to pay for itself in eight yearsâ¦or fewer. Depending on where you live, a few smart landscaping choices can help you weather hot and cold temperatures, chilly winds, and water shortages.
Create shade: In a neighborhood that is shaded by trees, summer air temperatures can be up to six degrees cooler! Plant deciduous trees (trees that lose their leaves in the fall) on the south side of your home to filter out 70-90% of the hot summer sun and help lower air conditioning costs. In the winter, the bare tree branches will allow sunlight through to warm your home.
Build windbreaks: Windbreaks create still air space that insulates your home year-round. They also help to block chilling winds in the winter. Plant trees on either side of your house to help direct cooling winds towards your home during the warm season. Plant evergreen trees to the north and northwest of your home to stop wind during the cold season.
Save water: Group plants with similar water needs together, water in the morning when water is less likely to evaporate, and raise your lawn mower cutting height in the summer. Longer grass shoots shade roots and help your lawn hold on to more water. Dealing with drought? It's OK to let your lawn go dormant. A brown lawn isn't necessarily a dead lawn and can rebound when rain returns. But, if you live in a drought-prone climate, consider limiting the amount of lawn on your property and using xeriscaping techniques to create a beautiful and drought-friendly yard.
- Garrity, S. 2014. Energy Saver 101: Everything You Need to Know about Landscaping. US Department of Energy. Accessed April 25, 2016. http://www.energy.gov/downloads/energy-saver-101-landscaping
- Matulka, R. 2014. Energy Saver 101 Infographic: Landscaping. US Department of Energy. Accessed April 25, 2016. http://www.energy.gov/articles/energy-saver-101-infographic-landscaping
- US EPA. 2016. Drought and WaterSense. Accessed April 25. http://epa.gov/watersense/our_water/drought.html