As the cost of energy increases, we are all looking for ways to save. Energy-Wise Landscape Design: A New Approach for your Home and Garden by landscape architect Sue Reed (New Society Publishers, 2010, $29.95) is a great resource that describes the many ways home gardeners can reduce the energy needed to heat and cool their homes through the thoughtful choice and placement of landscape plants.
The first sections of the book explain ways you can keep your house cooler in summer by shading it, cooling the air and ground around it, and directing winds with plants in the landscape. She then elaborates ways in which your plantings can help you take advantage of the sun's heat in winter and minimize the chilling effects of wind.
But she goes beyond these topics to discuss the ways in which we can reduce the amount of energy we consume in the landscape itself, covering topics such as using water in our gardens efficiently, reducing lawn areas, choosing energy-efficient landscape lighting, installing plants and garden structures and maintaining our gardens in energy-efficient ways, all the while keeping function and aesthetics in mind. She points out, for example, that we need to keep in mind the amount of energy that is used to produce and transport the materials we use in our gardens, not just the energy we use directly.
The sections on constructing new homesites and situating new homes with energy in mind would be invaluable to anyone planning on building a new home. And for those who are really interested in maximizing their savings, there is a section on generating energy in the landscape from the sun, wind, flowing water and the heat of the earth.
Filled with lots of specific, practical, how-to information, this book will help you shrink your energy footprint while designing a beautiful, environmentally sound landscape.
For more information on Energy-Wise Landscape Design, go to New Society Publishers.
Article published on April 28, 2010.