In windy areas, with freezing temperatures, trees and hedges can help reduce heating bills during the fall and the winter.
They do not collide with fences, walls and man- or nature-built berms to shield your home from the wind. On the contrary..
Summer and winter wind protection
Trees and evergreen shrub hedges will take some years to grow, but properly located they will have a big impact on your home's comfort and will last longer and be cheaper and more appealing than other windshield structures: glass structures (plexiglas), wind screens, fence or even wind-shield walls.
You just have to locate the plants on the best position, and to let them grow to a proper height, to deflect the winds from the areas you want to protect.
The type of trees and shrubs
Windbreaks should block the wind close to the ground; the trees should have low crowns and – obviously - be of evergreen type. Pay also attention to their foliage density.
Prefer native plants, adapted to your local climate and able to withstand the winds and the temperatures in your area.
Where to plant the shrubs and trees
Trees and shrubs are typically planted to the north or to the northwest of the house, in the northern hemisphere (or to the south, in southern hemisphere countries), but it depends also on the prevailing winds in your area.
The trees or the shrubs are planted together in a row; the row may include plants with different heights, close enough to each other, to deflect the wind up off the ground level to the treetop of the tallest trees and over the house (see image, at left).
Wind-shielding walls and fences, and earth berms (raised ground areas, intended to block the winds) are also critical, in many cases.
The shrubs and trees in the windbreak should be placed at the right distance from the building: often 2-6 times the mature height of the trees... Walls, fences, screen winds and mounds of earth (natural or engineered berms) are also part of of strategies intended to drive and deflect the wind away.
Only small windbreaks, used to protect yard areas from messy winds during specific periods of the year, or hedges used to trap the snow, should be located closer.
Some strategies may also consider shrubs, bushes, and vines near the walls, to create dead air spaces, and to protect the walls.
Be careful, anyway. Plants should not be located too close to the walls; mature vegetation should be at least 1-2 feet (30-60 cm) away of your home’s walls. That’s important for air circulation and to prevent humidity.
About to build a new home?
Read our book (Print and Kindle ebook versions);
Save thousands of dollars;
Avoid costly mistakes and pitfalls.