Energy-efficient Landscaping: Gardening Tips For Lowering Gas And Electricity Bills In Montpellier – Properly selected, installed and maintained landscaping can provide excellent wind protection, i.e. windbreaks, which will significantly reduce home heating costs. Furthermore, the benefits of these windbreaks will increase as the trees and shrubs mature. To use a windbreak effectively, you need to know which landscape options will work best in your regional climate and your microclimate. Check out the  Saver 101 Landscaping Infographic for the best landscaping tips for your climate.

Windbreaks reduce heating costs by reducing wind chill near your home. Windchill is the temperature that is “felt” outside and is based on the rate of heat loss from exposed skin caused by wind and cold. As the wind increases, the body cools faster and the skin temperature drops. For example, if the outside temperature is 10°F (-12°C) and the wind speed is 20 miles per hour (32 kilometers per hour), the wind chill is -24°F (-31°C). The windbreak will reduce the wind speed at a distance of up to 30 times greater than the windbreak height. But for maximum protection, plant windbreaks two to five times the trees’ mature height. The best windbreaks block the wind close to the ground by using trees and shrubs that have low canopies. Dense evergreen trees and shrubs planted north and northwest of the house are the most common type of windbreak. Trees, shrubs and bushes are often planted together to block or obstruct the wind from ground level to the tree canopy. Evergreen trees combined with a wall, fence, or earth berm (natural or artificial walls or raised ground surfaces) can deflect or lift wind over the house. Be careful not to plant evergreens too close to the south side of your home if you want to collect passive solar heat from the winter sun.

Energy-efficient Landscaping: Gardening Tips For Lowering Gas And Electricity Bills In Montpellier

Energy-efficient Landscaping: Gardening Tips For Lowering Gas And Electricity Bills In Montpellier

If snow tends to drift in your area, plant low shrubs on the windward side of the windbreak. The bushes will trap the snow before it blows past your home. Snow fences can also help contain snow.

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In addition to more distant windbreaks, planting shrubs, bushes and vines next to your house creates dead air spaces that insulate your home in both winter and summer. Plant so that there is at least 1 foot (30 centimeters) of space between the mature plants and the wall of your home.

Summer winds, especially at night, can have a cooling effect if used to ventilate the house. However, if the winds are hot and your home is air-conditioned all summer, you may want to prevent summer winds from circulating near your home.

Subscribe to receive updates from Saver, including new blogs, updated content and seasonal savings tips for consumers and homeowners. The point of having your own yard is to enjoy it, not to be a slave to it. These simple landscaping ideas will give you more time to spend outdoors instead of mowing and weeding.

Grass does not grow on stones. Beyond stating the obvious, what this really means is that they’re the perfect, versatile tool for creating a low-maintenance outdoor space. Use them to create walkways or group them together to form decorative ledges.

Garden Design Ideas

Small yards, especially in desert climates, can be completely rocked or you can use them as strategically placed accents.

And if you have spots that are constantly wet, rocks are great for keeping mud (and mosquitoes!) under control because they’ll help the water run off instead of pooling.

A rain garden is a type of mini wetland that reduces stormwater runoff. And done right, they are almost maintenance free as they require no mowing, watering and little weeding.

Energy-efficient Landscaping: Gardening Tips For Lowering Gas And Electricity Bills In Montpellier

Rain gardens are fairly easy to create, using gravel, sand and native plants. The idea is to slow down the rainwater so that less goes into the sewage system, and that it is used more to feed the plant life.

Tips For Low Maintenance Landscaping

Decks require some maintenance, but you don’t have to mow them every weekend, that’s for sure. And a platform deck – no steps, no railings – is the easiest to build.

“There are a lot of dense hardwoods like ipe and cedar, redwood and composites that last a long time and are very low-maintenance,” says Tommy Landis, principal landscape designer at Everett Conroy Landis Garden Design in Chevy Chase, Md.

Adding one would be wise. Wood decks can recoup about 89% of the cost when you sell them.

“Are you going to use it in the morning while you drink your coffee?” Landis asks. “If so, it should face east. If it’s mostly for evening meals and cocktails, it should face west.” But be sure the shade is available in the warmer months.

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Not all grass is created equal. Tall grasses such as switchgrass, bluestem, muhly and fountain grass all grow quickly and require very little TLC. Nor are they ever mowed.

“Native grasses are a great solution to many landscaping problems,” says Landis. They absorb a lot of water and provide organic privacy protection while reducing mowing time.

The most maintenance you will do with these is to cut them back in late fall. They dry up in the fall, causing some of those glorious long leaves to fly around your yard. But they can be used as (free!) mulch or ignored. They won’t do anything.

Energy-efficient Landscaping: Gardening Tips For Lowering Gas And Electricity Bills In Montpellier

Like the rocks above, pavers (sometimes called “steppers”) are decorative stones used to create pathways that require little or no care.

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“A stepper in its natural form looks really great in a lot of contexts,” says Landis. Traditional house styles such as bungalows, colonials and Victorians tend to go well with more natural paving, such as flagstone.

Some purists might consider fake grass overdone, but the newer artificial grass doesn’t make your yard look like a putt-putt course, nor does it get so hot it burns your feet like the fake turf of your parents’ days.

“It’s great for someone who doesn’t have time on their hands,” says Doug DeLuca, founder of Federal Stone and Brick in Sterling, Va. to keep him.”

Where there are trees there will be no grass. But there will be shade, which is a plus for picnics and lounging in deck chairs.

Gardening In The Shade

“Trees can absorb a lot of rainwater,” says Landis, and therefore need a lot of water. Consider your local climate, as water absorption can be good or bad. Do you need to absorb excess water? Is the yard already too dry?

Color is the secret to a stunning yard, but that doesn’t mean you have to plant a garden full of labor-intensive dahlias.

That means choosing bright pots, benches, birdbaths, Adirondack chairs — anything that just stands and looks pretty while you pour cocktails.

Energy-efficient Landscaping: Gardening Tips For Lowering Gas And Electricity Bills In Montpellier

The options are as numerous as the search results on Pinterest for “yard art” (which is somewhere between 5,000 and

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And if you decide to put some colorful flowers in your colorful pots, what better backdrop for your finally realized cocktail party? The map below shows the four broadest climate zone categories for the lower 49 United States. Understanding your climate zone can help you determine the best landscape-saving strategies for your home.

A well-designed landscape can not only add beauty to your home, but it can also reduce your heating and cooling costs. A well-placed tree, shrub or vine can provide effective shade, act as a windbreak and reduce your bills. Carefully placed trees can save up to 25% of normal household usage.

How you maintain your landscape depends on where you live. The United States can be roughly divided into four climate regions—temperate, hot-dry, hot-humid, and cool. Look at the map to find your climate region. Below you’ll find landscaping strategies listed by region and by importance. In all regions, be sure to select trees, plants, shrubs, and landscaping techniques and practices that are well suited to your local climate zone and conditions.

The climate that immediately surrounds your home is called a microclimate. When landscaping for efficiency, it’s important to consider your microclimate as well as your regional climate.

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Your home’s microclimate may be more sun, shade, wind, rain, snow, humidity, and/or dryness than average local conditions. If your home is on a sunny south slope, for example, it can have a warm microclimate, even if you live in a cold area. Or, even though you live in a hot-humid area, your home may be located in a comfortable microclimate due to abundant shade and dry breezes. Water bodies nearby can increase the humidity of your place or decrease the air temperature. Microclimatic factors also help determine which plants can and cannot grow in your landscape.

Subscribe to receive updates from Saver, including new blogs, content updates and seasonal savings tips for consumers and homeowners. With rising energy costs and our shared concern for protecting the planet, many are looking for ways to conserve resources and reduce costs.

While energy efficient alternatives seemed out of reach due to initial costs and scarcity

Energy-efficient Landscaping: Gardening Tips For Lowering Gas And Electricity Bills In Montpellier

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