In addition to shading, using landscaping windbreaks is another simple yet effective way to use landscaping to lower your heating and cooling costs. In the cold months of the year, windbreaks can lower the wind chill outside of your home and help to prevent frigid drafts of wind from gusting into your house. Breaking up those wind gusts and halting the affects of wind chill can drastically increase the temperature around your home, depending on the strength of the winds [source: U.S. Department of Energy].
The ideal windbreak is composed of both large evergreen trees and evergreen plants with lower crowns, such as bushes or shrubs. Combined with a low wall or fence, evergreens with a foliage density around 60% can deflect heavy winds up and over your home. Trees and shrubs with lower densities may not be enough to avert winds, while those with heavier densities will likely suck the wind stream back down into your home. To best deter the cold gusts, plant your shrubs and trees in a varied mixture [source: U.S. Department of Energy].
Another helpful tip to add further insulation from winds is to plant shrubs, bushes, vines and other low lying plants near the perimeter of your home. In addition to having the larger windbreaks a distance from your home, the extra plants closer to your home will create a dead air space between your home and the icy winter -- trapping any heat that may escape your home. Better yet, during the summer months, this added insulation will also trap any cool air that may escape your home, as well as any cool breezes that are frequent on summer evenings.
Though you might think all of landscaping is "going green," read on to find out what it really means to landscape with green materials.