As unprecedented heatwaves sweep the nation this summer, it’s critical to consider how to make the most of our outdoor spaces to beat the heat and conserve energy. Strategic landscaping choices, involving the placement of trees and shrubs, can help your household cope with the scorching summer sun by shading and circulating cool air on your property.
Certain landscaping tricks transform your summertime experience and can provide cost-effective solutions to high electric bills due to home cooling systems. Not only beneficial to individual homeowners and households, this strategic landscaping promotes the mitigation of climate change and atmospheric warming. By opting to preserve existing plants and increase vegetation and greenery on our properties, we encourage the natural processes of plants including carbon sequestration, air purification and water filtration.
When kicking off your Summer landscaping, remember to choose & place plants with intention.
When deciding between deciduous or evergreen trees to include in your landscape, it is important to take into consideration the climate of your property, the location of your home, and the features of the tree. Deciduous trees, such as maple and elm trees, are ideal for temperate climates where during the summer months foliage can block the sun’s rays and provide shade, yet in the winter the shedding of the leaves will allow sunlight onto the property. Evergreen trees, including hemlock, pine and fir trees, provide shade year-round and can be especially beneficial for shading properties in hotter climates. Additionally, adding shrubs, vines and groundcovers to your landscape can help cool surfaces in your yard and provide shade where desired. This may include planting vines near pergolas to provide colorful coverage over areas designated for outdoor relaxation or opting for low-water groundcovers rather than pavements for areas of recreation and play.
After selecting plants for your property, determining their placement is essential to maximize the shading and cooling of your home. According to the US Department of Energy, carefully positioned trees can save up to 25% of the energy a typical household uses! Deciduous trees should be placed to the south of your property as the sunlight will be shielded in the summer, yet will pass through the canopy in the winter. It is also important to consider your placement of trees in relation to the height and positioning of your home, especially if your home utilizes solar panels. Including trees of varying sizes and crown heights can also maximize the shading of your home, as this variety will account for differences in angle and positioning of the sun’s rays throughout the day. Planting trees on either side of your home will also result in cool winds being directed towards your home in the summer, allowing refreshing breezes to flow through your windows and circulate through your house.
Out of the many benefits that strategic landscaping can bring to your property, the most valuable is the ability to curate an environment that allows you to enjoy the outdoors regardless of the heat. By incorporating these elements into your landscape design you can transform your outdoor-living experience into one of carefree comfort and leisure. Don’t let a little sun ruin the fun- grab some eco-friendly SPF to protect your skin and remember to stay hydrated as you live your best life outdoors this summer!