LANDSCAPING: Better Homes & Gardens compiles eco-friendly recommendations

January 4, 2008

This month Better Homes and Gardens magazinehas compiled a nice list of things you can do with your landscaping to get more eco-friendly during a yard makeover.

To save you $$’s on energy, Landscaping That Makes Sense, describes how:

  • A well-positioned tree can save up to 25% on heating and cooling
  • Tree shaded yards with lawn vs. pavement can keep temperatures down 6-25 degrees
  • Shading your roof can increase your air conditioners efficiency by 10%
  • A single tree can equal the cooling power of 15 air conditioners
  • Three house-shading trees can cut your cooling bill by up to 50%
  • Windbreaks can cut winter heating bills by 10-30%

eco-friendly landscape treeRegional Strategies for Energy-Efficient Landscaping discusses how if you live in:

  • The Northeast: Take advantage of the sun in the winter by planting deciduous trees on the south- and west-facing sides of your house. And in the summer the leaves from these trees will also provide shade. Planting trees or shrubs to the north or northwest will prevent winter winds from draining the heat from your home
  • The Midwest: Plant large deciduous trees on the south or west side of your home to reduce the need for summer A/C. Planting trees or shrubs to the north or northwest side of your home can provide a winter windbreak
  • The High Plains and MountainWest: Planting a windbreak on the north side of your home can help winter heat loss, and planting deciduous trees will offer shade in the summer months
  • The Pacific Northwest: Keep your home warmer in the winter by avoiding the planting of evergreens on the south or southwest side of your home. Instead, plant deciduous trees that will let the sun in, and shade during the summer
  • The South: Plant large evergreen trees on the south or southwest side of your home to shade the heat. Decrease humidity by planting drought-tolerant plants next to your home.
  • The Southwest: Plant shade trees on the sunniest sides of your home, and use windbreaks to block the wind around your home
  • Southern California: Plant big shade trees on the south and southwest side of your house. Block warm summer winds by planting windbreaks around your home to deflect them

sustainable landscapeLandscaping to Reduce Winter Heating Costs direct us toward the following landscaping strategies to minimize our heating costs:

  1. Plant evergreens to block northwest winter winds. Correct planting can cut winter heating bills by 25%
  2. Place planters, walls or berms near your home to create “dead air space” which acts as insulation
  3. Deciduous trees can screen 70-90% of the hot summer sun, and in the winter these same trees will loose their leaves and allow sun to filter through
  4. Create open lawns on the south side of your home, allowing the accumulation of snow. Light reflecting off the snow can offer radiant heat effects on your home.
  5. Build tall fences to slow winter winds. (also provides protection for less cold-hardy plants
  6. Inclusion of eco-friendly hardscape surfaces around your home can soak up heat during the day and reflect it during a cool evening.

eco friendly landscapeLandscaping to Reduce Summer Cooling Costs provides the following tips to assist your A/C during the summer months:

  • Build a pergola, add an awning, or provide some other type of shade structure on the west side of your house. Filters light during he hottest part of the day, and covered with vines still allows cool breezes
  • Position porches, decks, and patios on the east, as they will offer morning sun and shade in the evening
  • Light colored ground covers will reflect more heat, making it hotter, darker wood chips will absorb the heat
  • Place trees where they will shade your windows (e.g. on the south and west sides) from the direct sun
  • Funnel breezes through your property by planting a row of trees on one side of the house, and a wall on the other will create a wind tunnel
  • Add a water feature because it can psychologically cool your landscape. Upwinds from ponds will cool the air around your home
  • Plant clusters of trees which can create a cool zone for breezes to filter through

So as you are planning your new backyard, adding that eco-friendly playground equipment, and putting in trees, take the above into account and build some of the tips into your plans!

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