When you are planning to landscape your yard, there are many items to consider. Aesthetics and overall looks are very important, but there are also many other factors to consider. Landscaping can play a major part in foundation protection, protection from the wind and sun, and power line friendly layouts. Now is a great time to look at some landscaping options for what would work best for your home.
As a homeowner, you may envision what you would like the layout to look like. Make a point to visit with your local nursery for their knowledge and expertise in plant and tree varieties. It’s important to know what varieties work best in your area.
In our area, it makes sense to plant trees for summer shading on the east and west sides of the house, but you should avoid planting on the south side to take advantage of the warmth of the sun during the winter. When considering shading, you want to look at deciduous trees, (lose their leaves in the winter), trellis systems, and shrubs.
According to the Department of Energy, carefully positioned trees can save up to 25% of a household’s energy consumption for heating and cooling and provides enough energy savings to return an initial investment in less than 8 years.
A common windbreak typically consists of evergreen or shrubs, planted on the north and northwest. A windbreak is designed to reduce wind speed coming at the house and this can make a big difference on heating costs.
Foundation planting in another area to consider and can decrease your energy consumption year-round. Shrubs, bushes, and vines planted at least one foot away from your home create dead air spaces that insulate your home in both summer and winter. However, be sure to plant varieties that are not water intensive or ones that require daily watering. A flower bed next to your home will do nothing to improve your energy use. In fact, any water-intensive plants will increase the humidity of your home, making your air conditioner work hard.
Everyone knows that trees and power lines do not mix, so it is very important when planning your landscaping to consider where the power lines are and how big the trees will grow. Cass County Electric trims trees away from power lines on a regular basis to help avoid power outages during high winds and ice storms. In addition, we trim trees to ensure the tree does not become electrified, which poses a hazard to people who come near the tree and wastes electricity by sending it into the ground. Also, before starting any project where you will be digging in your yard, there is one call you have to make. In North Dakota, simply call 811 at least 48 hours before you dig and they will take care of locating any underground facilities.
As you start planning your landscaping projects this spring, pay close attention to the decisions that will have an impact for years to come, both in terms of energy costs and safety.