We talk a lot about saving energy around your home and office (it’s one of our favorite topics). But you don’t have to be inside to be energy efficient. Turns out some simple landscaping ideas can help you save energy, and keep your backyard looking beautiful!
Don’t worry; you don’t have to have a green thumb to try these tips. But if you want to be green (and save green), here are four ways to save power between April showers and May flowers.
Plant a shade tree.
This is one of our favorite tips: Plant a tree on the side of your home facing direct sunlight. You’ll screen your house from up to 70% of the sun’s rays, and enjoy energy savings up to 50%. In fact, summer daytime temps in shaded areas can also be a full six degrees cooler than non-shaded areas.
Where should you plant? Consider the sun’s direction. We suggest shading the west and east-facing walls of your home and your roof so your A/C doesn’t have to work as hard, as well as over pavement and stone patios, which absorb heat and reflect it back onto your home.
Stumped about what type of tree to plant? Deciduous trees like oak, maple, and hickory block sunlight mostly during the spring and summer, and lose their leaves in the fall, while evergreen trees never lose their leaves and provide shade year-round. Up to you, but you can’t go wrong with planting some arbor near your abode.
Pro tip: Plant trees and all other greenery at least a foot away from your home so the roots don’t spread to your house’s foundation.
Save time and plant a vine.
Trees take time to grow, especially when you plant a sapling. While you’re waiting for your trees to grow, spruce up your space and save energy too with vines and ivy.
The leaves of fast-growing vines provide shade to filter out sunlight. As an added bonus, they also attract hummingbirds and butterflies. We suggest planting plant-climbing vines and ivy on archways, trellises, pergolas and columns.
You can also plant bushes, vines and shrubs near your outside walls to trap pockets of “dead air,” and control temps all year long.
Win with the wind.
Want to get really fancy? Use the wind to control your home’s temperature. (It sounds more complicated than it is.)
During the summer, spend some time outside to figure out where the evening breezes come from. Next, create a “wind funnel” by planting greenery to funnel those breezes towards your house. This keeps your home cooler in the summer.
During the winter, determine where your winter breezes are coming from and create a “windbreak,” using landscaping to block cold winds from hitting your home. What type of greenery works best? Thick vegetation like shrubs and trees work great, but you can also install tall and mid-sized fences too.
Wind funnels and windbreaks keep your indoor and outdoor temperatures under control, lower your energy use, and add to your property’s ambiance. Nice!
Save H20 by xeriscaping.
Xeriscaping is the term for landscaping with plants that use less water. You can reduce your outdoor water use by up to 50% simply by switching from thirsty grass to planting beds, wild flowers, or mulch.
Native plants and shrubs not only require less water to survive, but they also adapt well to your yard’s soil and climate; don’t need pesticides or fertilizers; and provide food for birds, bees, butterflies, squirrels, and other wildlife. You can also get creative, and build a deck, patio, or stone or gravel-walking path. Xeriscaping may not save power per se, but it does preserve the most precious resource of all: H2O.
Try these four tips and your neighbors will be green with envy when they see your beautiful yard — and hear about your major energy savings. For all the ways you can save inside and out, visit powerforwardwithpso.com
Special thanks to LawnStarter and Oklahoma freelance writer and amateur landscaper Alexis Jones for providing some of the tips used in this article!