July 3, 2024 – School is out and temperatures continue to rise. That means you’re probably spending more time outside working and playing. There’s also a chance you’re turning on the air conditioning or a fan inside to cool down. Did you know there are more ways to cool your home?

By sprucing up your outdoor space with well-placed plants, you can regulate the temperature inside and save money on your energy bills. On average, a well-designed landscape can save enough energy to recoup your initial investment in less than eight years.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

1. Plant some trees

Trees planted in the right place can save up to 25 percent of household energy use, according to the Department of Energy. That’s between $100 and $250 in energy costs per year. They can also reduce ambient temperatures by as much as six degrees.

It is important to know what type of tree to plant and where to plant it to get the most out of it. If you want to block the summer sun but let it shine in the winter, use deciduous trees. In the summer, they provide shade with their leaves and in the winter, the leaves fall and let the sunlight warm your home while blocking the wind. It is best to plant them on the south side of your house to shade your roof and on the west side to block the late afternoon sun.

2. Consider other plants

Other plants, such as shrubs, bushes, and ground covers, can also be effective. These plants reduce heat radiation and cool the air before it reaches your home. A trellis or trellis can also serve as a great way to shade walls along your home and patio.

3. Shadow your equipment

Providing shade around your air conditioning unit can make it work at least 10% more efficiently. Make sure to keep plants at least three feet away and keep the unit free of debris to ensure good airflow around it.

More tips for the garden

In addition to taking energy-saving measures for your landscaping, there are ways to keep energy use in your yard under control. Keep these ideas in mind:

1. Check your irrigation system

Did you know that an irrigation system with a leak the size of a dime can waste nearly 6,500 gallons of water per month? That’s why a little maintenance can make a big difference.

Make sure to water during the coolest parts of the day and only water when your lawn needs it. Move sprinklers that are watering unnecessarily, such as the driveway.

2. Save with lighting

Consider using LEDs to light your space instead of traditional incandescent bulbs. Photoelectric controls or timers can help ensure that outdoor lights are off during the day.

3. Invest in an efficient pool pump

Have a pool? Your pool pump could be costing you as much as $270 in energy costs each year. Check out pool pumps that have earned the ENERGY STAR® seal of approval. They use 18% less energy than standard pool pumps and can save you more than $300 in energy costs over the life of the pump, according to ENERGY STAR.