Shade your house
March and April are excellent months to plant new trees, keeping in mind you’ll need to water them weekly when you don’t get at least an inch of rain.
It’ll take a while before trees you plant this spring produce shade, but they are worth the investment. Shade can reduce solar gain by as much as 9 degrees. And because cool air settles near the ground, air temperatures directly under trees can be as much as 25 degrees cooler than air temperatures above a nearby blacktop.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, strategically placed trees and shrubs can save up to 25 percent of home energy consumption year round and up to 50 percent on air conditioning costs. Even shading your room unit condenser with an awning, cover or shade from plants/trees can increase its efficiency as much as 10 percent.
Plant trees on the south and southwest corner of your house to provide welcome shade in a few years. In fact, a 6- to 8-foot deciduous tree planted near your home will begin shading windows the first year. Depending on the species and the home, the tree will shade the roof within 10 years. Trees native to your area will have a better chance of surviving and thriving.
Be sure you call Missouri One Call at 1-800-DIG-RITE or 811 before digging to ensure you don’t dig into buried utilities.
Trees, shrubs and groundcover plants also can shade the ground and pavement around your home. This reduces heat radiation and cools the air before it reaches your house. Use a large bush or row of shrubs to shade a patio or driveway. Plant a hedge to shade a sidewalk. Build a trellis for climbing vines to shade a patio area. Plant vines to shade walls. Plant shrubs near the foundation to shade walls and windows. However, avoid allowing dense foliage to grow immediately next to the house where wetness and continual humidity could cause problems.