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Landscaping to Save Energy and Water

Not only does landscaping add to the beauty of your home, but it can also save you money. Strategically placed trees and shrubs can help you save up to 25 percent on yearly heating and cooling costs. During the winter, trees and shrubs shield your home from cold winds, reducing heat loss. In summer, shade trees can reduce the need for cooling.

Energy saving landscaping tips include:

  • Shading and evaporative cooling from trees can reduce the air temperature around your home three to six degrees.
  • Planting deciduous trees on the northeast-southeast and northwest-southwest sides of the home help decrease cooling cost in summer and allow solar heating during the winter.
  • Locating shrubs and vines on trellises around a home can also provide shade during the summer. Space should be left between the shrubs and the home to allow for adequate air circulation.
  • Planting evergreen trees and shrubs to form a windbreak can protect your home from harsh winter winds.


Lawn upkeep accounts for approximately half of all residential water use. Using smart landscape design and planning can help reduce water use by 60 percent and increase your home's value by as much as 15 percent. One option for home water conservation is employing xeriscaping, a type of landscaping designed to use plants with water requirements corresponding to typical local rainfall patterns. Creating a landscape based on geography and climate helps significantly reduce the need for irrigation. Xeriscape designs use the following principles to reduce water use and add to your home's beauty.

  • Groups plants of similar water needs together in zones to reduce the need for extensive watering of all areas.
  • Incorporates compost and manure to improve the soils moisture retention and ability to support selected plants.
  • Incluces lawns of manageable sizes and shapes that use grasses appropriate to the climate. Minimizes use of grasses, plants, and shrubs that demand lots of watering.
  • Uses mulches to reduce evaporation and keep soil cool.
  • Emphasizes efficient irrigation to provide adequate water and reduce water runoff and waste.
  • Requires regular, but limited maintenance. Most of the work planning, designing, and establishing plants is required in the beginning.

For more information on how landscaping your yard can help you save money on your utility bills, consult these web sites:

US Department of Energy: Landscaping for Energy and Water Savings
Green Builder Source Book: Landscaping For Energy Savings
Center for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technology: Energy Efficient Landscaping
Water Saving Tips from the H2Ouse
ToolBase Services: Xeriscaping Fact Sheet
Xeriscape Colorado

Content updated on 5/25/2007

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