Looking to Save Energy? Plant the Right Trees

trees and birdsLandscaping can certainly make your yard beautiful, but it can also provide shade, save energy and reduce utility bills.AdobeStock_67542068

We know how landscaping can transform non-descript lawns into tranquil outdoor living spaces – after all, that’s what we do. But we also know that by planting the right trees in strategic areas around your home or business, you can save energy and reduce your utility bills all year around.

Specifically, as described by Purdue Extension urban forestry specialists, trees create a cooling effect during the hot summer months and allow for passive solar gain – heat directly from the sun after leaves have fallen – during winter months. But this will only happen if you plant the right trees and place them in the right place. In fact, improperly planted trees can actually cause damage to your infrastructure or fail to provide any sort of shade at all.

Here are our top tips when choosing and planting trees for optimum energy-efficiency.

Choose high-quality trees. This means they are suitable for your location, region and climate. There’s nothing more frustrating than wasting money, time and energy on trees that are doomed to thrive in the first place. We can help ensure you select the best ones for your needs.

 Go big for shade. If you’re looking for shade and solar gain, choose larger, deciduous-canopy trees primarily for the south-facing side of the house, followed by the west and east. When the sun is high during the summer months, the leaves will provide shade and help cool the house. In the winter, the bare limbs will allow sun to provide direct heating.

 Include evergreens. In order to minimize wind exposure during the winter, plant evergreen trees on the north side of the house. But avoid positioning them too close to the house, especially on the southern side, because during winter months they can block out the sun.

 Do your research. Make sure you are well-educated about the types of trees you choose to plant, as their height and spread as they mature should fit the location and positioning from the beginning. The more naturally the tree fits your design space, the less pruning and maintaining you’ll have to do later on as it grows.

 Ask for help. We are often called in to correct homeowners’ well-intentioned DIY landscaping projects, simply because they weren’t familiar enough with how certain trees form and grow. Trees intended for energy-efficiency must be close enough to the house for the canopy to provide shade, but far enough away from the house to fit the design space and maturing process.

Add hardscapes. While trees are wonderful additions to any energy-efficient landscape, there are plenty of other options that can provide shade and wind protection while also enhancing your outdoor environment. Pergolas, for example, can be positioned in ways to provide wind breaks and shade, while also serving as the perfect backdrop for other foliage that can help cool the area surrounding the home.

If you are looking for ways to not only improve your outdoor living space, but also save energy and reduce your utility bills for years to come, give us a call. We will be happy to assess your needs and give you the landscape of your dreams.


Perfect Perennials for Indiana Landscapes

For a colorful springtime in Indiana, look to these lovely perennials that are perfect for for brightening up your landscape and flower beds.

If you’re looking for perfect perennials that can thrive in the Midwest – no matter what the weather brings – we’ve got some great suggestions. These gorgeous blooms can spice up any landscape, and best of all, they keep coming back year after year.

Ready to get your hands dirty? Here’s our list of awesome perennials to brighten up your springtime in Indiana.


Aster is native to dry upland prairies, and is particularly fragrant and showy when it full bloom. It prospers in dry, clay or rocky soil, and has a full display of flowers in the fall (make sure to pinch in early summer to prevent flopping).

Black-eyed Susans

These bright-gold flowers are often a staple in Hoosier gardens, as they stay in bloom for more than a month, beginning in August. The most popular varieties include Indian Summer and Goldstrum. These no-maintenance beauties love full sun, and can reach 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide.

Butterfly Weed

In spite of the name (it’s also called milkweed), this easy-to-grow plant produces clusters of orange, yellow, pink or vermillion. Appearing in mid- to late summer, they also attract hummingbirds and butterflies.


Midwest native coneflowers produce blooms all summer long, ranging in height from 16 inches to 4 feet, depending on the variety. Traditional colors are pink-purple and white, but you can also find them in a flashy red, yellow and other bright hues.

Hardy geraniums

Geranium x cantabrigiense are larger than other hardy geraniums, with scalloped leaves and pale-pink flowers. Known for its density and apple-scented, spicy perfume, these plants begin flowering in June and grow about 6 inches high and 14 inches wide. They flourish in full sun and need little water. In the autumn, the foliage turns a dramatic burgundy.

Lenten Rose

This shade-lover is evergreen, and a hardy plant that frequently blooms while snow is still on the ground. They are great compliments to sidewalks or walkways, and grow a 12-18 inches tall. Flowers come in shades of red, white, purple, pink, green and near-black.


Sedums are popular because they are easy to grow, stingy with water, and rich in texture and shape. With its masses of flowers and light gray-green foliage it produces green broccoli-like buds by summer, which open into large pink flower heads that deepen to rusty red by fall. Other favorite sedums include Purple Emperor, Vera Jameson and Meteor.

Virginia Bluebells

Pink buds turn into pink-purple blooms in this spring flower that thrive in sun or shade. Virginia bluebells easily reseed, and each plant grows up to 2 feet high and wide (but be aware, its bloom time is brief).

If you’re looking for deer-resistant blooms, try these:

  • Salvia
  • Catmint
  • Sweet Woodruff (this groundcover releases its scent when walked on)
  • Coreopsis

If you want to attract butterflies and hummingbirds, consider:

  • Clematis (this is more of a vine, but is still a perennial)
  • Coreopsis
  • Daylily
  • Lavender
  • Bee Balm
  • Catmint

For fragrant foliage or flowers, try these:

  • Salvia
  • Lavender
  • Bee Balm
  • Clematis (Hosta)
  • Catmint

Not sure which flowers or plants will work best in your yard? We can help. If you’re ready to take your landscape up a notch, we can help with that too. Whether it’s a landscaping or flower bed makeover, a new hardscape feature, or a unique and tranquil water element, we can turn an ordinary yard into the outdoor living space you’ve always dreamed of. Call us now to schedule a consultation.