Did you know that landscaping can save money by way of making your house more
energy efficient? According to The Everything Landscaping Book, "Proper selection and placement of plant material can lower heating and cooling costs by as much as 20%, while creating a healthy, more attractive environment" (p. 3).
Landscaping for Energy Efficiency in Cold Climates
If you live someplace with cold winters, you should strategically placed shrubs and trees to block the prevailing winter winds while allowing in what heat the winter sun can offer.
Landscaping for Energy Efficiency in Hot Climates
In climates where the summers are hot, you'll want to encourage your shrubs and trees to grow up to block some of the summer sun's heat. At the same time, take note of where the winds usually come from, and
leave gaps in your ground cover to invite in summer breezes to cool off your home.
If you're worried about startup costs, or you don't have much of a green thumb, you don't necessarily have to landscape your whole yard. A single large tree can absorb more heat than a window air conditioner, and the temperature in its shade can be 10° less than the surrounding area.
Landscaping for Energy Efficiency in the City
Cities tend to be warmer than outlying areas by as much as 5-10°. This is due to more heat absorbing surfaces (i.e. roads, buildings, homes). Planting shrubs, trees, and hedges
may be even more helpful to reducing your energy costs in urban areas. Even better, the addition of trees and plants can help block some of that pervading city noise as well as keeping the air around your home cleaner (plants naturally absorb pollutants).
Source: The Everything Landscaping Book