Landscape for Energy Savings, Comfort

Landscaping is a natural and beautiful way to shade your home and block the sun. A well-placed tree, bush or vine can deliver effective shade and add to the aesthetic value of your property.

When designing your landscaping, use plants native to your area that survive with minimal care. Trees that lose their leaves in the fall (i.e., deciduous) help cut cooling costs the most. When selectively placed around a house, they provide excellent protection from the summer sun and permit winter sunlight to reach and warm your house. The height, growth rate, branch spread and shape are all factors to consider in choosing a tree.

Besides providing shade, trees and vines create a cool microclimate that dramatically reduces the temperature (by as much as 9 degrees F, or 5 degrees C) in the surrounding area. During photosynthesis, large amounts of water vapor escape through the leaves, cooling the passing air. And the generally dark and coarse leaves absorb solar radiation. You might also consider low ground cover such as grass, small plants, and bushes.

A grass-covered lawn is usually 10 degrees F (6 degrees C) cooler than bare ground in the summer.

The following vines and trees grow well in South Carolina:

South Carolina Vines:
* Henryi Clematis
* Goldflame Honeysuckle
* Carolina/Yellow Jasmine
* Virginia Creeper
* Lady Bankshiae Rose

South Carolina Trees:
Small (10-40 feet)
* Redbuds
* Kousa Dogwood
* Crepe Myrtle
* Bradford Pear
* Golden Raintree

Large (40 feet and over)
* Red Maple
* River Birch
* Southern Magnolia

When planting, remember to keep the mature size of any tree or plant in mind. Position them safely away from electric and other utility lines and equipment, both overhead and underground.