When one thinks of landscaping, they may not immediately consider how it affects the energy efficiency of their home. Yet, the landscaping around your house can affect how effectively your furnace and cooling system works. The following landscape design tips can help you make choices that create both an attractive yard and a more energy-efficient home.
Tip #1: Plant for seasonal shade
The hot summer sun can make it much more difficult, and expensive, to effectively cool your home. Fortunately, this can be fixed with a few well placed trees. Most of the sun's heat comes in through the south- and west-facing windows and walls. By planting deciduous trees on these sides of your house, you have seasonal shade that will help keep your home cooler. Deciduous trees are the better option in most regions because in the winter they lose their leaves, which then allows the sunlight to stream in and help warm the house during the colder season.
Tip #2: Choose evergreens for windbreaks
If you live in an area that is prone to cold winter winds, then these winds are likely leaching away some of your home's heat and increasing your energy costs. Planting an evergreen hedge along the side of your home that is most exposed to winter winds can provide some protection. The key is to place the hedge far enough away so that some light can still get into your home, but close enough so you don't create a wind trough between the hedge and your house. Talking with a landscape designer that is familiar with winter weather patterns and wind speeds in your area can help ensure you make the right choice for hedge placement.
Tip #3: Manage the humidity around your home
Humidity can also have an effect on your home, particularly if you live in an area where there is either extreme high humidity or extreme low humidity. In high humidity regions, such as the southern US states, avoid planting water-loving plants too close to your home. Instead, opt for plants that require drier conditions and rarely need additional irrigation. This cuts down on the immediate ambient humidity by your house, which then puts less stress on your HVAC system. In dry areas, like the US desert southwest, placing a water feature or plants that require light irrigation near the home can help increase the humidity. This, in turn, can make your home seem warmer in cold weather and more comfortable and hydrating in warm weather.
For more help, contact landscape designers like W.H. Boyer, Inc.