Get Planting! Landscape Your Yard For Energy Efficiency
The start of spring motivates many people to spend time outdoors getting their landscaping and cleaned out and readied for a bountiful season of growing. Beautiful landscaping adds value and enjoyment to a home, and with some careful planning it doesn’t been to cost you a lot in terms of maintenance. Here are some tips to landscape with energy efficiency in mind.
Energy Efficient Landscape Checklist
Below are some tips to help you save on water and lighting usage when designing your plantings. Keep reading for details on how to maximize your savings with these items:
- Study your climate zone.
- Understand your microclimate.
- Plant a tree.
- Evaluate your lighting.
- Strategize about groundcovers.
- Conserve water.
Study Your Climate Zone
Find your climate zone and do some research to understand which plants will really thrive in your specific environment. This will save you lots of time and energy in the long-run. Type your zip code into this hardiness zone finder, and you’ll discover all kinds of helpful information about planting in your specific region. Selecting plants that are appropriate for your area, and especially those that are drought resistant in your zone will mean that you won’t waste precious resources like water on your plantings. Look into companion plantings as well. Certain combinations of plants will really thrive with less need for added water or fertilizers when planted together.
Understand Your Microclimate
Much as you need to understand your hardiness zone, it’s also important to take a close look at your microclimate. Climates can vary drastically by city and town even in the same state. This energy saver infographic contains some best practices for each microclimate. In cooler microclimates, for example, it’s best to plant trees near non-south facing windows (so they won’t be in the shade of the house) in order to take advantage of winter sunlight. Meanwhile in hot and arid climates, adding shade plantings around your home can help keep it naturally cool and reduce your need for air conditioning.
Plant A Tree
Plant a tree or better yet, many trees! According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a well-placed tree can save you up to 25% percent of the energy that your home consumes. Strategically placed trees can block the sun from coming into your windows in the mornings and evenings, which can reduce your need to run an air conditioner or a fan. The same principle applies to your heating bill. Well-placed trees can act as a windscreen, reducing drafts and helping you save on heating costs. Similarly, vine-covered garden structures like trellises and pergolas can help keep you warm during windy months and cool during hotter months.
Evaluate Your Lighting
Landscape lighting is the icing on the cake when it comes to having a gorgeous yard at night, and sometimes outdoor lighting also necessary for safety. But those electric lights that look so beautiful in the store can increase your electric bill significantly. Consider adding a timer to your electric lights so that they will turn off automatically at daybreak. Or, better still, consider investing in LED bulbs or solar lights that are powered naturally by the sun.
Strategize About Your Groundcovers
Groundcovers are a great energy efficient option compared to lawn, as they require less (if any) water and or maintenance that requires power (like mowing). Strategize on a groundcover material based on where you live. In a hot climate, a plant-based groundcover like pachysandra will be cooler in temperature than light-colored granite or stone which may reflect too much heat and will be hot to the touch. Conversely, in a cooler climate wood chips or darker stone may absorb more heat and keep your yard warmer.
In order to use less water in your garden, select plants that are labeled as drought-resistant for your area. Other tips are to water plants and grasses early in the morning when evaporation is minimal and group plants with similar watering needs together so you’ll be able to water most efficiently. Lastly, mulch is a gardener’s friend, so be sure to apply an ample layer to all of your garden beds. It prevents water evaporation and soil erosion and hinders the growth of weeds.
Check out our blog for more tips on how to increase the energy efficiency of your home and yard. PointClickSwitch makes it easy for you to start saving money on your utilities. Learn more about how we can help you save on your energy bill today.
The National Garden Association
Rodale’s Organic Life
U.S. Department of Energy
U.S. Department of Energy