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Energy-Efficient Landscaping by the Region

Whether you’re landscaping in Richmond, Va., Allentown, Pa., Waco, Texas, Flint, Mich., or Portland, Ore., there are certain principles that should be followed by everyone. But for those looking to perform energy-efficient landscaping, geography should be taken into account.

Not everyone is aware that they can actually save energy through how they landscape their property. But the fact is that a well-positioned tree could save you up to 25 percent on a home’s heating and cooling costs, and shading your home’s roof could increase your air conditioner’s efficiency by up to 10 percent.

However, there are certain regional strategies for energy-efficient landscaping that vary based on which part of the country you live in. Here’s a quick guide to those strategies for each region:

Northeast: Most of this region should be looking to take advantage of the sun’s heat during the frigid winter months. This can be done by planting deciduous trees on the south and west sides of your home. This should help block winter winds that can steal your home’s heat. And in the summer these trees can serve as shade from the hot sun.

Midwest: Summers in the Midwest can get quite hot but by planting large deciduous trees on the south and west sides of your home you can make your AC more efficient. To reduce heating costs in the winter, plant or grow trees or shrubs that can break the wind on the north and northwest side of your house.

High Plains/Mountain West: Planting windbreak trees or shrubs on the north side of your home will help the sun’s radiant heat warm up your home during sunny winter days. Planting these types of trees on the sunny side of your house during the summer can create much-needed shade.

Pacific Northwest: Energy-efficient landscaping in the Pacific Northwest is all about making the sun work for you. Not planting evergreens on the south or southwest side of your home will allow the radiant heat of the sun warm up your house on rare sunny winter days. Plant deciduous trees around your home so that they lose their leaves in the winter and provide a canopy of shade in the summer.

South: In the South, it’s important to use the breeze you get to your advantage. Put up fences or shrubs that help direct the cooling air to your house. Summers in the South get very sunny and hot so it is wise to plant plenty of large evergreen trees on the south and southwest side of your home to shield your house from the sun.

Southwest: Summers in the Southwest can be brutal but you can take some of the strain off your AC by plating shady trees on the sunniest side of your home.

West: The only true way to combat the summer heat of the West Coast is to plant big shady trees on the south and southwest side of your home. Planting windbreaks to capture rare summer breezes is also a good trick for keeping your house cool and making your AC more efficient in the summer.

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