Plant trees strategically near your home to both lower the temperature in the summer and warm it during the winter. If you plant trees in less than ideal positions, you can actually do the complete opposite and inadvertently raise your heating and cooling costs rather than lowering them. In addition to choosing the right positions to plant the trees to help control your home's temperature, you must select the right kind of trees as well.
Make Your Home Cooler
Choose deciduous shade trees that have lower limbs and grow about 25 feet per story of your home to protect it from the hot summer sun. The trees should be able to withstand wind and not have limbs that break easily. Examples of good shade trees include silver maples, oaks and poplars.
Decide which side of your home to grow the trees for maximum sun protection. Plant one on the west or northwest side of your home to shade your home during the hot afternoon sun in the summers. Plant another shade tree on the east side of your home to protect it from the morning sun. Do not plant a shade tree on the south side of your home--it will not shade your home in the summer, and its trunk and limbs will block the sun during the winter.
Plant the trees at least 10 feet from your home, depending on the tree variety. Avoid power lines and trees with lateral roots if planting near the sidewalk, driveway or street.
Make Your Home Warmer
Choose evergreen trees to protect your home from high winds and keep your house from losing heat in the winter. Choose trees such as torrey pines that grow limbs to the ground, grow twice a tall as your home and have thick, dense crowns. These will make a good windbreak for your home.
Decide where to plant the evergreens. Plant them on the coastal side of your home or on the side know where the cold winds usually originates. They should be located about four to six times the distance away from your home as the trees are in height at full maturity. Since wind has the tendency to go around trees, the length of the rows should be 10 times greater than their mature height. Plant up to five rows in zigzag patterns for maximum protection.
Grow shrubs in front of the evergreens for more protection from the wind. Be careful, though, not to block summer wind which may cool your home; unless you are having serious issues with the wind in the winter, you might want to skip the shrubs.
About this Author
Melissa Lewis has been a professional writer since 2005. Her work has appeared in various online publications. A former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist, Lewis is also a script writer, with a movie script, "Homecoming," she co-wrote currently in production. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology.