Summer in Florida means one thing: Keeping cool. The great outdoors is the last thing we think of when it comes to staying cool in
the summer, but your yard can be a surprising resource for helping to keep your family and home cool as the temperatures begin to rise. Strategic planning can help provide shade, reduce cooling costs, and keep your family and pets comfortable.
With any landscaping, choosing the proper plants is key. Keep the temperature in mind when selecting plants for your landscaping. Large, leafy trees can provide cover for windows and roofs and will help keep these surfaces cooler. Reducing direct sunlight on your home allows your air conditioning system to work more efficiently, keeping cooling costs down.
Trees aren’t the only plants that can help diffuse the sun and heat; upward-growing vines on trellises can be utilized to provide relief as well. These plants can be put to excellent use creating shade and privacy for porches, patios, and sunrooms. These areas can also become aesthetic focal points in your yard. You can create the beautiful landscape you’ve dreamed of while keeping your yard cooler and more comfortable.
Once you’ve selected the right plants, you’ll want to choose the correct placement to maximize their cooling benefits. Pay attention to the height and crown width of trees and plants when they reach their full maturity. You’ll want to balance planting close enough to your house to help with shade, and ensuring that limbs won’t reach the house or power lines in a few years.
Place short, leafy trees on the West side of the house, to block the sun when it’s low in the sky in the afternoon. Taller trees with wide crowns are best suited for the Southern part of your yard. This will help block the sun when it is at its highest point in the sky, especially during the hottest months.
Find the “heat sinks” in your yard. These are areas that absorb and radiate heat; such as asphalt driveways, dark-colored roofs, decks, and patios. Use trees, shrubs, vines, and ferns to shade these areas. This makes the immediate areas more usable and reduces the heat that radiates from them as well.
Another important area to shade is near your air conditioner. You can utilize palms, ferns, or other short plants with wide leaves, to shade your air conditioner without damaging your home. Properly maintained shade plants can increase air conditioner efficiency by up to 10%, and also lengthen the life of your unit.
Reducing energy consumption in the Summer months doesn’t just benefit homeowners, but the environment as well. Consider collaborating with your neighbors on how you can help each other improve energy efficiency using your yards. Sometimes the best placement for energy efficiency and shade may be a neighbor’s yard. Working with your community, you may be able to find plants and placement that can be mutually beneficial.
The professionals at Lawnmore can work with you to identify areas where plants can help you save on cooling costs, and help you select native plants that will thrive in your yard. Call today and add strategic landscaping to your home maintenance routine.