Homeowners these days are investing so much time, money, and effort in beautifying their landscape. Some decorate their yard with outdoor furniture, while others fill their garden with ornamental plants with colorful blooms. Meanwhile, others can be very particular when it comes to cleanliness that they hire a cleaning company to clean their patio and driveway to ensure an outstanding appearance for their landscape.
Proper landscaping can do more than just an added aesthetic appeal. Believe it or not, the way our outdoor space looks affects energy consumption and power bills. Your home may be sealed properly against drafts and have energy-efficient windows, but landscaping can make your home more energy-efficient without breaking the bank.
The landscaping of your yard helps in keeping the energy costs down all year long and makes your home more environmentally friendly. Knowing how to arrange the garden for better efficiency transforms your yard into a stunning haven that also helps reduce heating and cooling costs. To know more about this, keep reading below and discover ways how your landscaping increases the energy efficiency of your living space.
Plant shade trees
There’s a chance you have tried hiding under a shaded tree for a cool spot during the hot summer months. But this doesn’t mean all shaded trees are energy efficient.
Compared to other common trees around your neighborhood, tall shade trees offer greater protection against solar heat and cold blasts. We’re talking about evergreen trees and deciduous trees that are known for their heat-blocking abilities.
Southerners should consider planting more evergreen trees since they can shield your house against sunlight all year round. You can also plant them on the north and northwest part of the house to serve as windbreaks to retain heat during winter.
Deciduous trees work best in the Northern regions since they let the sunlight pass through their branches in colder months. Plant them in areas that receive more sunlight (e.g., south side of your house). Although they’re great in protecting your home against the summer heat, deciduous trees cannot shield you from cooling breezes since they tend to lose leaves during winter.
You may also consider planting shorter trees on the west part of your home since they help in blocking the afternoon sun. Plant trees in layers and put the taller ones on the farthest side, but keep the low-growing perennials and flowering shrubs near your house. This will give you access to cool summer air and block snow and strong winds from winter storms.
Invest in hardscaping
Trees grow slowly, so hardscaping is the answer if you cannot wait for years until they grow. Arbors, canopies, fences, trellises, and pergolas effectively keep out heat off the patio during the summer. They also save you from the burden of clearing away snow in the winter.
Install fences near the north window, including awnings to prevent sunlight from entering your home. Pergolas, trellises, and arbors do a great job of blocking out the wind and sun if you plant more climbing vines. Look for vines that aren’t too intrusive or any species you can strategically hang along the trellises and won’t ruin the walls’ surface.
When placing the trellis, make sure it’s at least one foot away from your home to allow air circulation and prevent humidity and wetness. Trellises are permanent structures, so they work best in hotter regions where blocking sunlight during winter isn’t counterproductive.
If you want to take a step further, consider placing a fountain or waterfall in your garden for a cool hangout spot. Not only do they look great, but they also reduce ambient temperature by over 30˚F.
Plant more vines and drought-tolerant plants
Shrubs and vines make great alternatives to shade trees while waiting for them to grow. They provide not only shade but also fruits and vegetables. One example is edible vines such as luffa squashes, winter squashes, and scarlet runner beans. They grow faster and can easily cover any large area during mid and late summer.
Another great candidate is ornamental vines since they serve as both shelter and food for wildlife. Some examples are scarlet creeper and cypress vines that produce nectar.
There are also ornamental plants that won’t only beautify your home but also help conserve energy. Place them near entrances or any area where cold drafts come in. Drought-tolerant plants such as succulents are also nice choices since they’re easy to maintain.
The secret to energy efficiency lies in mother nature itself. If you’ve been struggling to keep energy costs down during the summer and winter, remember that your landscaping has the power to make your home energy-saving. So as spring quickly approaches, it is time to get planting.