The Landscape: Your Home’s Other Insulation

Summers in South Texas can be very challenging for landscapes. With the intense heat and dry conditions, our main goal has been to simply keep them alive and healthy.

During these challenging months, Watering recommendations may emphasize watering high valued trees and shrubs so you won’t lose what comprises the backbone of your landscape. But another equally compelling reason is they help keep your house cooler.

Well-placed, established plants around your home can help you save on your energy bill. Here are a few energy-saving landscape tips:

  • Medium to large trees placed within 15 to 25 feet of your house on the southwest and west sides help insulate your home by blocking the sun’s rays during the hottest time of the day.
  • Shrubs and trees that shade air conditioning equipment help improves the unit’s performance and efficiency by 10 percent. Be sure to leave access to the unit by planting at least 3 feet away.
  • Groundcover or an appropriate amount of turf planted close to the house helps keep the heat at a distance – pavement and similar materials only retain heat.

If your home is being blasted by the summer sun, start assessing your home’s vulnerable spots and plan a landscape project now. Plant the right tree, in the right spot and you can start looking forward to a cooler, more energy-efficient home.

Picture of Juan Soulas
Juan Soulas
Juan Soulas is a conservation planner for San Antonio Water System. Since joining SAWS in 2007 his duties have focused on residential water use. He works with his Conservation colleagues to help customers find ways to reduce outdoor usage without compromising the health and aesthetic quality of their landscapes. Juan also coordinates engaging outreach efforts with SAWS’ conservation partners -- Bexar County Master Gardeners, Gardening Volunteers of South Texas, San Antonio Botanical Garden and Mitchell Lake Audubon Center – to increase community access to vital conservation information.
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