Green Tip

Plant trees strategically

Deciduous trees on the south and west sides of your home can cool the surrounding air up to nine degrees Fahrenheit in summer but let in warming sunlight during winter. Evergreens planted on your home's windward side block winter winds and provide continuous shade in sunny climates. According to the DOE, just three well-placed trees can offer yearly energy savings of $100 to $250 while absorbing heat-trapping carbon dioxide and reducing storm-water runoff.

Landscape for water efficiency

You can cut outdoor water use significantly by replacing some or all of your lawn with native plants and ground cover, which are adapted to thrive on rainwater alone. Reseed the remaining lawn with drought-resistant grass: tall fescue for colder regions and Bermuda grass for hotter climates. Place mulch around flowers and trees to help the soil stay cool and retain water.

Create natural fences

. Trees and bushes can replace fencing and edging made from wood or energy-intensive manufactured materials. They also provide food and shelter for local animals and insects.

Use hand- or electric-powered lawn equipment

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that gas-powered push mowers emit as much nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, and hydrocarbons per hour as 11 cars. Riding mowers emit as much as 34 cars.

Fertilize naturally

Leave grass clippings and leaves on your lawn or turn them into compost (regular mowing will help prevent grass clippings from clumping on the grass). By doing so you can supply nutrients without chemical fertilizers, avoid carbon-emitting trips to the dump, and create less landfill waste.