Landscape Ideas to Save Energy


One should be aware that plants properly placed in our landscapes can save both energy and dollars. As you plan your landscape or add to an existing landscape, consider locating plants where they will save energy and money. Windbreaks have long been used on farms to help divert wind and control conditions. Even in the home landscape, a small planting to divert the wind can be beneficial. Evergreen plants placed to the north or northwest of a home to break the prevailing wind can reduce heat loss and fuel consumption.

Where adequate space is available, several rows of trees may be used. However, in a limited area only a few are still helpful, although less effective. Where adequate space is available, the ends of a windbreak should extend 50 feet to each side of the area to be protected. A windbreak is effective for eight times its height, so even before the plants become as high as your house they will provide beneficial effects. Pines can be used for windbreaks, but because they tend to get thin at the base, a combination with junipers or other denser evergreens makes them more effective.

Even though the evergreens we plant along the front sides of our homes are usually considered for appearance only, they actually create a dead air space between them and the wall which provides added insulation and wind protection. The Japanese yew is one of the best plants for foundation windbreak planting. All large evergreen trees should be restricted to the north or west sides of the home. However, in addition to their winter wind-breaking ability, the summer breeze coming through evergreen trees seems particularly cool and refreshing.

The deciduous trees that lose their leaves each fall are best suited for planting on the east, south and southwest of the home. Large trees are especially useful for Rome temperature control when located on the southwest corner of the home. In this location, a large tree or several trees shade the home during the hot summer afternoon and reduce energy consumed for air conditioning. Even without air conditioning, trees in this location still make the home more comfortable.

Areas under trees are quite shaded, plant a shade garden with color and style

A tree shading the sides or roof of the house will be seven times more effective in reducing heat in summer than pulling heavy drapes over the windows while the sun is shining on them. As water evaporates from the leaves of the trees, a natural cooling also occurs. Large trees, such as red oak, sugar maple, ash or cypress might be considered for this purpose. After the leaves fall, the sun’s rays warm the walls during cold weather. Where there is no room for large trees to shade the west or south walls of a home, vines either climbing directly on the wall, or on large trellises can also be used to shade the wall and help reduce energy consumption.

Use vines that do not keep their leaves all winter so winter warming by the sun’s rays will be beneficial. Some possible choices are Boston ivy and Virginia creeper to cling to walls, or wisteria and bittersweet to twine on trellises.

Learn more about energy efficient landscaping on Downtown Homestead

3 Eco-friendly Landscaping Ideas

Solar Powered Lighting for your Garden

These ingenious devices can either be placed in the ground or attached to a fixture. They charge their individual batteries during the day, in sunlight. At night, they illuminate, providing dim but comfortable lighting which is sufficient for garden paths or footpaths leading to or around your home. During the summer, a full day’s charge can keep these lamps powered until sunrise. In the winter, the shorter charging period means the lights will only be on till about 3 in the morning. But that’s okay, because you’ll be fast asleep.

On the up side, these lamps consume absolutely no power from your house’s mains. Meaning lower electricity bills. Furthermore, they are individual units, meaning no wiring is necessary. Also, some of these lamps have a green design, meaning it is made of recyclable material.

Eco Friendly Water Features

It is not true that all water features are a waste of water. Traditional water features are. But eco friendly water features are not. Eco friendly water fountains incorporate a number of notable features. Firstly, they waste less water. Most fountains which spray jets of water tend to lose most of the water to evaporation. Eco friendly fountains, you will find, allow water to flow down a surface – thus reducing the effects of evaporation. Secondly, they are solar powered and energy efficient. Therefore they require no mains electricity to run.

Collecting Water

The biggest concern with water features is that they are not eco friendly because of the wastage of water. The solution is simple and straight forward: collect rainwater. Simply put a receptacle, a bucket or similar container, at the end of your roof gutters. It is advisable to put a sieve over the receptacle to prevent large particles from entering the water. If you want something that has a decorative appeal, try using a big jar or vase in place of the pail.

The water can also be used for other household chores such as washing the car, watering the plants or cleaning the driveway. However, be sure to prevent mosquito from breeding in the water as dengue fever, carried by certain breeds of mosquito, can be fatal.

Check out this post on Downtown Homestead to learn more about collecting water


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