The landscape around your house is not just about privacy and good looks; it can have a great impact on your comfort and energy bills.
Trees and shrubs can redirect the winds away from your home, or bring refreshing breezes into it, or shade your roofs, walls and windows, or block unwanted sunlight, making your home and your yard more comfortable, and all this for free or almost free...
The new trees and shrubs should be properly planted, at the right distance of the house and each other, taking into considerating the existing landscape and some possible modifications to it.
Trees block sunlight, preventing it from reaching the ground. And they also provide what is is technically called evapotranspiration: they release water vapor, making the air fresher.If you live in a hot climate, or if you need summer shading, consider shading your house as much as possible, and also the driveways and pavements around it.
Trees and shrubs provide shade but also water vapor, which also contributes to cool the area around your house.
Choose the right type of plants, according to their mature size, their foliage, their crown, their maintenance needs, their lifespan or their drought-resistance…
Also take into consideration issues such as the installation of solar PV systems. Drainage
Plants may also help you to avoid water pooling and wet foundations. Plants can intercept water, while a conveniently designed slope of the ground will drive the rain water away from your home's foundations. But you should not plant them too close to your walls. That may have the opposite results.
Hedges and trees (or wind-shield walls and screen wind structures...) can be important to protect your home from the wind and to increase home comfort and reduce heating bills.
Just choose the right evergreen plants, with the right foliage density and mature size, and keep them at a proper distance of the house…
See, for details: Wind protection for energy improvement
Summer breezes are critical in natural ventilation strategies, in hot and some mixed climates.
But in many cases breezes blow in unwanted directions, and that’s where hedges and shrubs (and also casement windows, or wing walls...) can be useful.
If you are planning a new home, choose carefully the site, taking into account factors like the prevailing breezes and winds. Also consider topography issues and the landscaping around.
Home comfort and energy-performance depends on it.
Reduce unwanted solar heat gains and you will reduce AC bills or will not need air-conditioning. That's obvious but often overlooked.
And that's where landscaping enters. Landscape can help control solar heat gains.
See: Heat Gains Control
What about the practical side of green roofs? Which are the pros and cons of green roofs? Are they advantageous for the common homeowner?
See: Green Roofs Guide
A single gas-powered leaf blower, or a gas lawn mower, emits more pollution than dozens of cars, even though modern units are a lot less polluting and more energy-efficient than traditional units.
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Our Video on Landscaping