Last updated on May 13th, 2022 at 11:37 pm
As spring finally arrives in Wisconsin, homeowners are preparing to plant new flowers in the beds, trees in the yard and vegetables in the garden. If they plan carefully, this springtime ritual also can help make their homes more energy efficient in both winter and summer, according to the Metropolitan Builders Association.
The U.S. Department of Energy says annual energy bills can be reduced considerably with smartly designed landscaping. A plan that considers how sunlight and wind affect the temperature in the home can help counter how those conditions affect comfort and utility bills.
Are you looking for a dynamic and elegant new dimension to your landscaping? Whether you are looking to install a stone walking path to better enjoy walks through your garden or a warm outdoor fire pit for enjoying a crisp evening outside, a hardscape installed by a reliable hardscape company nearby can improve the usability and enjoyment of your property for yourself, your family, and your guests.
Some helpful landscaping techniques include:
- Planting deciduous trees, ones that lose their leaves during the winter, in front of windows that receive significant amounts of sunlight. This helps block solar heat in the summer and lets it in during the winter when you need it most. A 6-foot to 8-foot deciduous tree will begin shading windows the first year, and the roof within five to 10 years.
- Shading driveways and walkways cools the air before it reaches the home’s walls and windows. Cooling other public areas such as patios helps. Hedges, trellises or large bushes and shrubs offer appealing sights and significant amounts of shade to help cool these areas.
- Winter sunlight is a welcome heat source, but the wind that can accompany it can reduce its positive effects. A natural windbreak will reduce or redirect wind speed. Evergreen trees and shrubs planted on the side of the house that receives winds will help reduce the wind effect. Teaming evergreen trees and an earth berm, a natural or man-made wall, will direct wind over the house. Additionally, windbreaks will help keep snow away from the home’s foundation.
- Implementing some techniques of Xeriscape, largely using natural precipitation to meet landscape’s watering needs, will reduce water usage. Plant flowers and vegetation with similar water needs in the same beds or close to each other.
- Installing lighting to your landscape area will also give it more appeal. If you need help with installation, look up landscape lighting in Dallas, TX and nearby areas for professional guidance.
The Metropolitan Builders Association recommends that homeowners go to their local nursery prepared. Create a map of the property that marks existing trees, the home, the driveway, the sidewalk and patio, as well as: wind direction and sun angles for both the winter and summer; views you want to preserve; areas where plant height and width could be restricted due to utility lines or public sidewalks; areas where there is poor drainage or standing water; and sick or dead trees that need to be removed.
Use a variety of sizes and shapes of trees, because some will be great for impeding summer winds, but not as effective against typically harsher winter winds. Growth rate is important as well. If you need sun protection quickly, then you’ll want fast-growing trees. However, remember that rapid growers generally don’t live as long as slow-growing trees.
The Metropolitan Builders Association is a nonprofit organization that represents the building industry in the metropolitan Milwaukee area. For more information about energy efficient landscaping, visit the American Nursery & Landscape Association at www.anla.org or The National Arbor Day Foundation at www.arborday.org.