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The Power of Planting


The decisions you make and the steps you take in planning your home’s
landscaping can help you stay cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.

With summer just around the corner, let’s look at how strategic planting can help cool your home.
Direct sunlight hitting windows is a major contributor to overheating homes during summer months. By planting trees that block sunlight, you can improve comfort and reduce your air conditioning use. If the trees eventually grow tall enough to shield your roof, that’s even better.

The most important windows to shade are the ones facing west, followed by windows that face east. Also, an eave on the south side of your home can help shade your windows during midday sun.

If you live in a colder climate, planting deciduous trees, which lose their leaves in the fall, will shield your windows in summer and allow sunlight in during winter to help warm your home. A simple approach that can deliver some shade the first year is to plant a “living wall” of vines grown on a trellis next to your home.

One cooling strategy is to make sure your air conditioning compressor has some plants near it—but not too close. The compressor should have 5 feet of space above it and a 2- to 3-foot gap all the way around so that it gets enough air to do its job.

Choosing native plants and trees that require minimal watering can contribute to your savings.
Landscaping can provide similar impact in cold months. A solid windbreak can cut harsh winter winds. The best solution for this is a solid row of trees (preferably evergreen) on the windward side of the home, with shrubs underneath the trees to keep the wind from sneaking through. In warmer climates, you don’t want a wind barrier as wind flow will help cool your home.

If you live in a climate that isn’t too humid, planting a row of shrubs a foot from your home can provide more efficiency. By stopping air movement, it can form a dead air space around the home that acts as “bonus” insulation. In a humid climate, however, leave several feet of space between landscaping and the home as airflow is necessary to avoid moisture-related home damage.

Before you begin any landscaping project that requires digging, remember to dial 811 to ensure all underground utility lines are properly marked.

Posted: 5/1/2020 4:58:03 PM
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