After Memorial Day Weekend, the summer we have all been pining for will finally be here — and with it will come dreams of the cool air of the spring and autumn, and even some daydreams of snow. However amazing it is to spend time outdoors and soak in the sun, when it gets really hot, most people want to sit on the porch with a fan and cool down.
In fact, many people simply end up indoors, where their air conditioners are. But what if you could design your outdoor landscape to air condition the area around your house? Check out these methods of designing a cool outdoor area to combat the summers heat. We promise that the landscaping costs pay off:
- Take time to study the movement of the sun and wind around your house through the seasons and plan your landscaping and hardscaping accordingly.
- In the northeast, plant deciduous trees on the south and west-facing sides of your home. In summer, they will shade your houses, and in winter, they will prevent the wind from stealing a lot of your home’s heat. Planting windbreaks and shade trees can reduce winter heating bills by 15% and air conditioning needs by 75%.
- Plan for open lawn space on the south side of your home — when it snows, the light reflected onto your house has been shown to have a radiant heating effect.
- Add a deck to your home or stone or concrete patios around your home. They can soak up heat in the day and reflect it during the cool evening.
- Funnel breezes through to your property by planting a row of trees on one side of the house and a wall on the other. It really does make a difference — even three properly placed trees could save you between $100 and $250 a year in energy costs, says the U.S. Department of Energy.
- Water features will also cool your house in the summer, especially if built upwind.
Landscaping in general can save you more than just energy costs. Even taking your landscaping from “good” to “excellent,” in terms of design, condition, and placement, can add another six to seven percent to a home’s value. Just through basic lawn maintenance, hiring a landscaper or installing sprinkler systems, you can enjoy your home more while you have it and get more when you sell it. The landscaping costs will soon pay themselves off.