How to Lower Utility Bills with Better Landscaping

Many homeowners are surprised to learn how much their landscaping decisions can impact their utility bills. The right blend of shade, sun, wind, and water can not only reduce your expenses but could even allow you to enjoy your home and yard more by increasing the amount of time you can live with the windows open and enjoy your patio or deck.

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Here are some tips to get your creativity flowing.

Plant The Right Trees

This is the single most important step you can take to reduce your utility bills, besides maintaining your furnace and air conditioner units properly. Trees can shade your windows, exterior walls, and the roof.

In the northern hemisphere, the best choice is to plant tall, deciduous trees on the south side of the house and shorter trees on the west side to block the sun’s rays in the late afternoon. That way, the tree will block the sun during the hottest part of the day in summer, but will allow the sun’s rays to strike the house in winter.

According to an Auburn University study, “two trees shading the west-facing exposure of a house and one tree shading the east-facing exposure reduced annual energy use for cooling by 10 to 50% and peak electrical use up to 23%.”

Remember to keep large trees, like oaks, at least 15 feet from sidewalks, driveways, and the house. Also, keep sewer line locations in mind to prevent root damage.

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Plant a Windbreak

If you live in a cool or windy climate, you may be more interested in protecting yourself from biting winds than from the sun. Spruce trees and tall shrubs planted in a linewill shield your house and yard from the wind, keeping you warmer in winter. This option is most popular in rural areas or on large properties.

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Choose the Right Plants

Water bills are also impacted by your landscaping choices. If you choose plants that are well-suited to your climate, you won’t need to water as often. Grass is often the thirstiest plant in the yard.Maintaining a well-manicured lawn uses up to 900 liters of water per person per day, which is a strain on your summer budget as well as the planet’s fresh water reserves.

Replacing areas of your yard with ground covers that are native to your area, mulched gardens that help trap water in the soil, and drought-tolerant plantings can reduce your utility bills and add interest to your property. Local gardening centers will often be able to advise you on the best options for your region.

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Use Vines and Shrubs

While you’re waiting for the larger trees to grow, you can make use of fast-growing shrubs or vines on a trellis to shade your most exposed windows. Don’t plant shrubs too close to the house, though, as they hold moisture and can contribute to mold issues.

Read: 5 Simple Steps to Prepare Your Lawn for Winter the Easy Way

Consider energy-efficient as you move forward with your landscaping and garden designs. With the right plantings, you’ll use less water and energy to maintain a comfortable home and a beautiful yard.