Landscaping for Energy Efficiency

One crucial aspect of landscaping that’s often overlooked is its potential to enhance energy efficiency in your home. With the right choices, you can reduce your energy bills and environmental impact, all while creating a stunning outdoor space. Let’s explore how you can use landscaping to maximize energy efficiency, focusing on the use of trees for shade and insulation.

The Power of Shade

In Colorado’s sunny climate, proper shading can significantly reduce the need for air conditioning during the hot summer months. Trees are your best friends when it comes to creating natural shade. Deciduous trees, such as the iconic Colorado Blue Spruce (Picea pungens), offer the perfect balance. They provide ample shade in the summer when their leaves are full, then shed them in the fall, allowing sunlight to reach your home and warm it during the winter.

Planting deciduous trees strategically on the south and west sides of your home can reduce your cooling costs by up to 30%. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, properly placed trees can save you between $100 and $250 annually in energy costs. Trees should be placed at least 15 feet from the home so they provide shade but won’t damage the home foundation and won’t pose a fire risk.

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Insulation through Landscaping

In addition to shade, landscaping can also provide natural insulation for your home. Evergreen trees and shrubs, like the native Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa), create a barrier against cold winds, reducing heat loss from your home. Planting these trees close to your house can create a windbreak, reducing heating costs by up to 30%. For helpful details from Colorado State University Extension on planting an effective windbreak, along with other energy efficiency tips, click this link

According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, well-designed landscaping can save you between 15% and 50% on your energy bills, depending on your climate and the design of your home.

Best Plants for Energy Efficiency in Colorado


  1. Deciduous Trees: These trees provide shade in the summer and allow sunlight to warm your home in the winter when they lose their leaves. Good choices include Colorado Blue Spruce (Picea pungens), and Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides).

  2. Evergreen Trees: Evergreens can act as windbreaks, reducing heat loss from your home in the winter. They also provide shade in the summer. Consider planting Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa), Rocky Mountain Juniper (Juniperus scopulorum), or Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii).

  3. Shrubs: Shrubs can be used to create insulation around your home. Planting them close to your house can reduce heat loss in the winter and provide shade in the summer. 

  4. Groundcovers: Groundcovers and grass can help insulate the soil around your home, reducing heat loss in the winter. They can also reduce heat gain in the summer by shading the ground. 

  5. Native Plants: Native plants are well-adapted to Colorado’s climate and soil conditions, making them more likely to thrive with less water and maintenance. They also provide habitat for native wildlife. 


Landscaping for energy efficiency is not only environmentally friendly but also economically savvy. By strategically planting trees and shrubs, you can significantly reduce your energy bills while enhancing the beauty and value of your property. Consider these tips when planning your next landscaping project in Colorado, and let nature help you create a more energy-efficient home.

If you are interested in receiving a free estimate for your next project you can contact 365 Greenhouse & Eco-scapes here. We would love to chat with you about your outdoor living space and show you what is possible!

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