Money-Saving Landscaping Tips: How Landscaping Design Can Help Reduce Your Household Costs
Can landscaping really make a difference in your household energy and water consumption? Can it reduce household costs? It certainly can. Simple things such as trees, shrubs and lawn plantings can moderate your property’s microclimate in both hot and cold weather and produce significant savings. Combined with water conservation and the use of attractive mulches, these ideas will lift the value of your property and make it far more enjoyable to live in.
Control Homes Microclimate with Trees
Trees are one of the most effective ways to control your home’s microclimate. Plant shade trees on the side of your house and garden that gets the most summer sun. This will significantly lower the temperature inside your house, and reduce your air conditioning bills. Remember that in winter you will be looking to get some free solar energy by maximizing the amount of sun that falls on your property. Deciduous trees are a good choice in many locations because they lose their leaves in autumn, allowing the winter sun to raise the temperature when you need it most.
Trees also help to lower wind speeds and create a more enjoyable garden environment throughout the year. If cold winds are a serious problem in your area, it may help to plant evergreen trees instead of the deciduous varieties so that you don’t have to suffer from an icy blast each time you open the front or back door. If you have enough space around your house, plant evergreen trees around the boundary and deciduous trees closer to the house so that it receives at least some sun.
Bear in mind that very large trees can in the long term cause more problems than they solve, so aim to select varieties that won’t grow any taller than 30 feet (10 meters).
If your air conditioning unit is located on a wall that receives a lot of sun, you can improve its efficiency and reduce household costs by planting shrubs or a small tree in front of it.
Water Conservation Landscaping
Water usage is also a significant factor when it comes to saving money and energy. Lawn grass often gets a bad rap when it comes to maintenance costs and water usage, but a green lawn does a great job at moderating the temperature around a house. Not only that, but it also makes a very handy recreational area, particularly if you have children or pets.
These days there is no need to use half your household water keeping your lawn green and healthy. Make sure that you use hardy, drought-tolerant grass species when planting a lawn so that your water and other chemical inputs are reduced to an absolute minimum.
Groundcovers and Shrubs
If a lawn doesn’t suit your needs or landscaping plans, another option is to use a mixture of ground covers and low shrubs that require little or no water once established. In summer, these plantings will help to reduce ground temperatures around your house and minimize the amount of heat conduction and reflection into your floor and walls. They will also help to moderate ground temperatures in winter.
Another way to reduce household costs is to use a good quality, long-lasting mulch around the plants to further reduce water consumption and soil temperatures. You can buy mulch in different colors to enhance plant selection and match the outside color scheme of your house.
If your local authority permits it, consider putting in a rainwater tank so that you can store water away for the drier months. Rain tanks come in just about any shape or size, ranging from a hundred gallons or even less, up to many thousands of gallons. Manufacturers also recognize that most people in residential areas want a stylish water tank that can actually add value to a home rather than look like an eyesore. You should have no problem finding one that fits your home and its water collection potential. You can even locate a tank under outdoor decking or within a basement, using a flexible ‘bladder’ tank that expands as it is filled with rainwater.
A good rule of thumb when sizing a water tank for your home is to multiply your roof area by the average annual rainfall. The resultant figure will give you an estimate of how much water you can collect in an ‘average’ year. Don’t forget the shed or garage, either. These can also collect handy amounts of rainwater.
Control Your Homes Microclimate and Conserve Water
So there are your answers to improving household amenities and reducing costs through simple landscaping design and water harvesting techniques. These ideas are best implemented when designing and building a dwelling, but with some forethought and planning can easily be incorporated into almost any existing household and garden setting. Best of all, they don’t require massive financial investment or advanced technical skills and are therefore well within the reach of most homeowners.
Contact Fernandez and Sons Masonry and Landscaping to help you get started. We provide landscaping design, installation and maintenance to newly constructed homes as well as to homes that want a small to a large landscape renovation. We are here to help you reduce household costs with our money-saving landscaping tips and start saving on utility bills.