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DIY Energy Efficient Landscaping in Your Own Backyard

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by Brenda Genas
(Los Angeles, California, US)

A pretty backyard can only go so far. Many experts have proven that efficient landscaping that takes into consideration energy needs, may well save a family more then 30% of their usual heat or cooling costs – either in the winter or summer.

These savings could tangibly translate to almost $250 worth of savings in a year.

So how does one make an energy efficient yard? There are various things that can be considered in both existing and soon-to-be-developed landscapes.

Keep the Sun Out:

One of the key considerations in landscaping includes the various weather conditions that prevail in the area. This means taking into consideration where the sun shines and what path the sunlight takes.

A house’s walls and foundations, when hit directly by the sun, will absorb almost 90% of the sun’s heat, thereby increasing the burden on the air-conditioning or cooling system to keep the house cool.

Usually, the best way to keep the sun out is to plant deciduous, dense, and broad trees to the south or west of the house, where their foliage can provide shade against the rays of the hot summer sun. Keeping the sun out can reduce temperatures to up to 10degrees Fahrenheit.

These deciduous trees lose their foliage over the winter and will give you access more of the sun’s heat in the winter when your home’s walls and foundations need the heat.

Break the Wind:

One of the primary contributors to lowering home temperatures is the wind that blows through the house. Especially in the winter, this wind is particularly sinister as the wind chill is much colder than the normal atmospheric temperature in the area.

Plants that serve as effective windbreaks include evergreens or trees in general. In fact, even fences placed in strategic locations can serve as windbreaks.

Keep the Heat or Cool In:

One of the primary culprits in the wasting of energy is the heat or cool that escapes through the home’s roof, windows and doors. It is imperative to find a way to keep heat or cool air inside the home.

The best way to achieve this is by planting shrubbery around the home’s foundations. This creates a dead air barrier, keeping the heat and cool inside the home where it matters. Experts have suggested widening the distance between the shrubbery and the house’s walls in order to increase this area for dead air.

In landscaping your yard or garden, it is important to maximize the benefits by using an aesthetically pleasing landscape. After all, energy efficiency in the area will effectively save energy and money in the long run.

Click here to read more about DIY Tips for home landscaping

Updated: June 28, 2013 — 8:25 am

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