31 Jan 2013

Posted by in Energy, Garden, House Exterior | 0 Comments

6 Landscaping Tips That Help Conserve Energy

Certain landscape designs can make your yard more water-efficient, reduce maintenance and lower the costs of cooling and heating your home. With today’s increased energy-conservation mindset, it makes sense to build these types of features into your landscape. Read on for six simple ways to save energy through thoughtful landscape design.

1. Add shrubs, trees and creeping vines to your landscape to create shaded areas. Focus these areas on the parts of your home that receive the most heat from the sun during the summer months. Plant a row of trees, or make a tall hedge with shrubbery that can block harsh summer sun from windows and sliding glass doors, creating a cooler indoor environment for you to enjoy as well.

2. Add trees in a formation that can work as a windbreak to keep your home warmer in winter. Look for taller trees with dense foliage, such as junipers, and position them in areas around your home that are hit with directional winds. The cold winter temperatures may require heating, but the wind-chill factor can drive temperatures much lower, causing you to use more heat. Build a “windscreen” of trees and save on heating costs.

3. Integrate trellises or lattices into your landscape and plant crawling plants or vines that will cover them. Position them so that they create areas such as a shaded patio that can cool the air before it enters your home. Try planting fragrant wisteria or another flowering climber that can add additional beauty to your yard.

4. Keep maintenance in mind as you design your home’s landscape. If you know you will not have time to dead-head flowers, mow a lawn or keep thirsty plants watered, look for drought-tolerant plants that can grow well in any type of soil. Additionally, choose plants that can thrive even if they do not get full sun all day long, unless you have good sun exposure all day in your yard. Cacti and succulents make great low-maintenance gardens on their own or attractive features when combined with other types of plants.

5. Consider putting mulch or wood chips on top of the soil in all of your planted areas, especially if you live in a drier or warmer climate. This keeps the soil’s moisture in, allowing you to use less water to keep the plants maintained. It also prevents weeds from growing, and gives the dirt areas between plants a consistent, neat texture and color. This is also an easy way to enhance flower and plant beds while waiting for young plants to grow larger.

6. Use an irrigation system for your yard focused on providing water to specific areas at certain times. This helps avoid “blanket” watering, where people turn on the hose or sprinkler and saturate the entire landscape, whether it needs it or not. Use directional sprinklers, or line your landscape with drip-irrigation hoses. Use a timer to turn your watering system on and off. Additionally, water at night or during the early morning hours so that the hot sun does not evaporate the water as quickly.

Looking for creative ways to save energy through your landscape saves you money and protects natural resources for your children as well as future generations. Consider the above tips when you plan your landscape and start your energy conservation efforts today.

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