Did you know a strategic landscaping project can help reduce your electric bills? Properly placed trees and shrubs can provide additional shade during the summer and block wind during the winter.
The particular landscaping strategies you should focus on depend on your climate zone. When living in a hot, humid climate like ours, you want to maximize summer shade. 103574002
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, shading your home is the most cost-effective way to reduce heat gain from the sun and reduce your air conditioning costs in the summer. Having more plants and trees in your yard can reduce the air temperature by up to 6 degrees Fahrenheit.
Planting deciduous trees on the south, southwest and west sides of your home can cut heating during hot summer months, while allowing sunlight through during the fall and winter, when the trees have lost their leaves. When planting trees, consider the expected shape and height of the mature trees and where they will shade your home. A tree with a high mature height planted on the south side of a home, for example, will provide all-day roof shading in the summer, while a lower tree on the west side of your home can protect your home from the lower afternoon sun.
Plant trees an appropriate distance away from your home so they do not disrupt your foundation or your roof as they grow. While it will be five to 10 years before a newly planted tree will begin providing shade to your roof, it can start shading windows immediately. Incorporate other plants to provide near-term shade. Shrubs, bushes and vines can quickly shade windows and walls.
Also consider any paved areas around your home and how you can shade them during the summer. Think about walking across your driveway barefoot on a hot July afternoon—if your driveway or patio is unshaded, it is probably quite difficult. That absorbed heat is also reflecting onto your home, causing your air conditioner to work even harder. You can use trees, hedges and other landscaping structures such as arbors to shade these paved areas.
Remember, if you live near powerlines, talk with West Florida Electric Cooperative about how far away newly planted trees should be from these lines before making any final design decisions to your yard.