Marianna Vis' Blog
Everyone talks about saving the planet these days, and it's good to do your part, but it's even better when your earth-friendly landscaping can keep that other all-important green safely in the bank. Here are some useful tips that manage to be both kinds of "green living," keeping your wallet fat and your yard gorgeous.
Bushes, Trees, and Shrubbery
Trees can serve a variety of purposes in your landscaping. If you’re planning on staying in a property for a while, you can plant young saplings of fast-growing trees in strategic locations, and as they grow, they will provide shade and windbreaks. Go for trees with full leafy branches and plant them near windows and on the southern, eastern and western sides of your home to shade them during the summer, keeping down your cooling bills. Deciduous trees lose their leaves before the winter, which allows that same suns warmth in, keeping down your heating bills.
If you reside in a windy location, a stand of evergreen trees can be the perfect windbreak. Blocking the wind from your house reduced the extra chill caused by windy winter storms and can help chip away at those heating costs as well. If you get dense enough foliage, you can block up to eighty percent of the wind. Try to plant two or even three rows where you can for the best protection.
Bushes also create useful shade. Planting them around your air conditioning unit helps it stay cooler and can increase efficiency up to 10% which goes a long way towards reducing your overall costs. You need to keep the inner side of these bushes well-trimmed and out of the direction of the vents, so leave at least a three-foot gap and plan for shrubs tall enough to shade the whole space.
Grass and Other Ground Cover Options
Open flat areas great places for snow to settle and create blank white reflective fields. Those "snowfields" reflect sunlight onto your home and increase the general radiant heat effect of the winter sun, helping to heat your home cost-free. In the summer, those same flat areas allow heat to dissipate in the summer, keeping your home cooler in those hottest of months. Keeping your landscaping elements low or spaced out can increase your opportunities for breezes in hot climates.
In more cold climates, stick to the lighter ground covering like stone and concrete that will reflect heat into your home even when not covered in snow. In warmer areas or areas with definitively warmer months, stick to darker ground coverings like grass, mulch, dark stone and wood chips which absorb heat all day and then release throughout the cool of the evening and overnight.
Talk to your local real estate agent about the best local landscapers. They will be able to help you plan the most energy efficient and beautiful garden.