Climate Considerations: Landscaping for Energy Efficiency

The United States can be divided into four approximate climatic regions: temperate, hot-arid, hot-wet and cool. The average energy to keep the landscape strategies you use should depend on the region you live. These strategies by region are listed in order below.

Carefully positioned trees can save up to 25% of a household's energy consumption for heating and cooling.

The climatic region in which you live affects the landscaping strategies you use

The climatic region in which you live affects the landscaping strategies you use


  • Maximize warming effects of the in the winter.
  • Maximize shade during the summer,
  • Deflect winter winds away from buildings.
  • Funnel summer breezes toward the home.


  • Provide shade to cool roofs, walls, and windows.
  • Cool the air around the home by plant evapotranspiration.
  • Allow summer winds to access naturally cooled homes.
  • Block or deflect winds away from airconditioned homes.


  • Channel summer breezes toward the home.
  • Maximize summer shade with trees that still allow penetration of low-angle .
  • Avoid locating planting beds close to the home if they require frequent watering.


  • Use dense windbreaks to protect the home from cold winter winds.
  • Allow the winter sun to reach southfacing windows.
  • Shade south and west windows and walls from the direct summer sun, if summer overheating is a problem.


The atmosphere that surrounds your home is called its microclimate. If your is located on a southern slope, it may have a warm microclimate, even if you live in a cold region. Or, even though you live in a hot-humid region, your home may be situated in a comfortable microclimate because of abundant shade and dry breezes. Proximity to water may increase your site's humidity or lower its air temperature.

Your home's microclimate may be more sunny, shady, windy, calm, rainy, snowy, moist, or dry than average local conditions. These factors all help determine what plants may or may not grow in your microclimate.