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Landscaping Ideas for an Energy Efficient Home

Apr 3, 2012

Did you know that there’s such a thing as landscaping ideas to make homes more energy efficient? It’s true. In fact, you can reduce the cost of heating and cooling your home by up to 30% through careful landscape planning. Furthermore, according to statistics provided by the US Department of Energy, planting three trees in strategically located areas on your property can potentially save you up to an average of $250 annually in energy costs.

Landscaping ideas that lean towards energy efficiency can help your home stay cool naturally in summer by reducing the amount of direct sunlight from heating the surface of your house. By the same principle, it can also prevent reflected light from driveways or other surfaces from carrying heat back into the home.

Some of the benefits that an energy conserving landscape can provide:

  • Reduce air leakage by cutting wind velocity
  • Reduce air temperatures through tree shade, grass and shrubbery
  • Trees and shrubbery planted on west and northwest sides of a home will block effects of a setting sun, preventing overheating in summer
  • Deciduous trees on the south side of a home admits sun for natural heating
  • Evergreen trees planted on the north side of a home slow winter winds

A very energy efficient landscape will not only save you energy but can also be used to conserve water. The Xeriscaping method, which is based on seven guiding principles, is one of the most effective ways of doing this.

The 7 guiding principles of a Xeriscaping system:

  1. Planning and design:
    Provides direction and guidance, mapping your water and energy conservation strategies, both of which will be dependent upon your regional climate and microclimate.
  2. Selecting and zoning plants appropriately:
    Bases your plant selections and locations on those that will flourish in your regional climate and microclimate.
  3. Limiting turf areas:
    Reduces the use of bluegrass turf, which usually requires a lot of supplemental watering.
  4. Improving the soil:
    Enables soil to better absorb water and to encourage deeper roots.
  5. Irrigating efficiently:
    Encourages using the irrigation method that waters plants in each area most efficiently.
  6. Using mulches:
    Keeps plant roots cool, minimizes evaporation, prevents soil from crusting, and reduces weed growth.
  7. Maintaining the landscape:
    Keeps plants healthy through weeding, pruning, fertilizing, and controlling pests.