Did you know landscaping isn’t just for aesthetics? It is of course an enjoyable aspect - who doesn’t love a beautiful yard - but a properly landscaped yard can also save you money on your energy bill. Plants, trees, and shrubs planted in suitable locations are not only pleasing to the eyes but can cool your yard and home during the dog days of summer by providing shade and cooling breezes.
The summer months can be almost unbearable when exposed in the sun, but a shade tree can turn a hot backyard into a cool oasis. Shade trees are not only great for escaping the summer heat, but they will also help cool your home. A US Department of Agriculture study found that shade trees reduced annual energy use for cooling by 10 to 50 percent.
Roofs, especially when they are a darker color, absorb heat from the sun, raising your home's temperature and making your Air Conditioner Unit work overtime. Shade trees can help alleviate this effect.
Speaking of AC Units, the same effect that cools your roof can help keep your AC from working overtime. Planting a shrub or bush near the unit can help cool your AC unit. The shade and transpiration from the bush keeps your AC unit from having to work as hard to cool your house, saving energy and lowering your electric bill.
Trees and shrubs planted along the west side of your home will help protect it from the peak afternoon sun. Another sun deflector is ivy, either grown on the outer wall of your home or on trellises.
You may also like to read about The Many Benefits of Shade
Properly placed, a tree can make shade during the day and create a cool breeze in the evenings.
A landscaper can help with placement but your best pruning practices are to prune low branches as air moves the fastest in the area beneath the lowest branch. In tandem with the trees, shrubs planted beneath a window will push the breeze up into your home.
Get your trees planted soon to start saving money on your energy bills ASAP.
Some of our favorite fast to medim growing shade trees & shrubs are:
This tree is fast-growing and grows to a height of about 40' and a width of 35-40'. It enjoys the sunshine and is vase-shaped, but a bit more rounded than its Green Vase counterpart. It turns rusty-red in the fall.
The Northern Red Oak is another fast-growing tree that reaches heights of 50-60' with a width of about 40-50'. It turns a lovely dark red during the fall season. The leaves persist on the tree into the winter months. It’s a hardy tree, resistant to pollution with a moderate salt and alkaline tolerance.
This tree is medium growing with a mature height between 45-60' and a width of 30-40'. It thrives in sunny spots and produces green, orange, and yellow tulip-shaped flowers in late spring. Its pale green leaves turn yellow in fall.
These fast-growing bushes reach a height & width of 18-24". It’s a hardy shrub that also likes to be in the sun. It has purple-blue blooms in the summer and attracts pollinators such as butterflies and hummingbirds.
This is a deciduous shrub or small tree with beautiful purple-pink smokey plumes and purple leaves. It is a medium growth rate plant, growing 1-2 feet per year with a mature size of about 10’ tall and wide.
Ninebark is a great ornamental shrub that is a favorite among gardeners in cold areas because of its hardiness and four-season appeal. Plant the ninebark in sunny spots that get a little bit of shade. Its flowers are attractive to butterflies and other pollinators.
Give us a visit and let our experts help you pick out the right trees & shrubs to help keep your home and yard cool all summer long.
To learn about how trees and shrubs can also help with a waterwise landscape, tune into our live with arborist James Batton on May 26th.