Well-designed energy efficient landscaping can add beauty to any home, while saving you money. Benefits include:
Have you ever noticed that tree-shaded areas like parks and forest preserves are much cooler than urban areas in the same city? Shading and the process by which a tree actively moves and releases water vapor can reduce surrounding air temperatures by 3 to 9 F on a warm sunny day. And a shaded lawn can be up to 25 degrees cooler than sun-soaked pavement.
Trees, fences, or geographical features used as windbreaks to shield your house from the wind can greatly reduce winter heating bills. In fact, one study found windbreaks positioned to the north, west, and east of houses cut fuel consumption by an estimated 40 percent, on average.
Carefully positioned trees can save up to 25 percent of energy usage of a typical household, which is better for the environment and your pocketbook. Trees should be planted 15 to 30 feet from the southwest corner or west side of your house and at least 50 feet from the nearest power line.
On sunny winter days, warm rays can assist in heating your house. Avoid planting evergreens on the south or southwest side of your home because they retain their foliage year-round and provide shade throughout every season. It’s best to plant a deciduous tree on the southwest or west side of your house. This will provide cooling shade from the leaves in the summer and allow sunlight to warm the house through the bare branches in the winter.
The coastal areas of Washington and Oregon are considered temperate, while the states’ inland areas and Idaho are classified as cool regions. Since the kind of plants you grow are influenced by climate, this needs to be taken into consideration when you make buying and design decisions.
Temperate region tips
Cool region tips
Climbing vines: Setting up a trellis or lattice with climbing vines is an awesome way to add shade to a patio area while lowering air conditioning costs.
Leafy ground cover: This is a great way to cool the earth around your home and limit reflected sunlight that warms it. Local succulents provide the added bonus of saving water!
Large shrubs: Plant them on the east and west sides of your home to block the low morning and afternoon sun.
Plantings, walls, or berms: Place these near but not against your home to create insulating space that slows the escape of heat from your home.
Happy planting while conserving energy!