Minimize heating bills by doing the following:
- Plant evergreens to block cold northwest winter winds. A windbreak protects an area up to 10 times as far out as its height -- so a series of 30-foot-tall trees can shield a 300-foot-wide area. Dense windbreaks can cut wind speed by 85 percent. Together these two effects can cut your winter heating bills by 25 percent.
- Place plantings, walls, or berms near -- but not against -- your home to create dead air space. This space acts as an insulator, slowing the escape of heat from your home.
- Plant deciduous trees, especially on the south side of a house. They can screen 70 to 90 percent of the hot summer sun yet allow breezes through. Deciduous trees also allow welcome winter sun to filter through the branches once they're bare. Deciduous vines serve the same purpose but, since they're smaller, do so to a lesser degree.
- Create open lawn areas on the south side of your home. These green, open areas create an area for snow to accumulate. The light reflected off the snow and onto your house can offer a radiant heating effect.
- Build a tall fence to slow winter winds. Not only will it lower heating bills, it will provide protection for less cold-hardy plants.
Test Garden Tip: Semi-open fences that allow some air movement through them are the most effective. Solid fences divert air over them with too much force and create an effect like a wind tunnel.
- Design stone or concrete surfaces around your home, such as a patio. It can soak up heat during the day and reflect it during a cool evening.
Continued on page 4: Landscaping to Reduce Summer Cooling Costs