5 tips for an energy-efficient garden

In addition to bringing you pleasure, your garden can help save you energy. Check out our previous posts on planting shade trees and landscaping tips to keep your home cool for just a couple of examples.

But how do you cut down on energy use when caring for the garden itself? Read on to learn some smart tips that will help you create an energy-efficient garden.

Take advantage of rain barrels

Water consumption is one of the biggest pain points when it comes to taking care of your yard and garden efficiently. Using a rain barrel can save you a significant amount of energy. For each inch of rain that falls on 500 square feet of roof, you can collect around 300 gallons of water. That means in most areas of North America, you can collect more than a thousand gallons of water each year to use on your containers, houseplants, garden or even your lawn.

There are plenty of DIY guides to build your own rain barrel out there. Whether you’re using rain barrels or not, be sure to water during the coolest parts of the day (typically mornings and evenings). That way, water doesn’t just evaporate in the hot summer sun, and it continues to feed the plants you’re trying to grow.

Invest in energy-efficient lighting

Sure, you need lights in the garden to enjoy it in the evening. But what are the best lights to install? At 10 times the efficiency of incandescent lights, LED bulbs are a great option for outdoor lighting. If your garden gets plenty of sunlight during the day, there are thousands of options for solar powered garden lighting on the market. With a little bit of research, you can have a beautifully lit garden without racking up big electrical bills. Whatever lights you choose, always remember to turn the lights off when they’re not in use.

Choose the right plants

Planting drought-resistant plants like salvia, lavender, and ornamental grasses will help reduce your water use. These perennials don’t require as much watering compared to other plant species, and unlike annuals won’t require planting year after year. Check out this list of drought tolerant perennials from Midwest Gardening.

Let the grass grow

Longer grass will help shade the roots and slow water evaporation. To accomplish this, you can mow less often (win!) and adjust the height of your mower blade to its tallest setting. After mowing your lawn, leave the clippings around your yard as a natural fertilizer.

Mulch your beds

Mulch is a gardener’s best friend. It helps cut down on water evaporation and slows weed growth. It also helps improve soil quality and gives your yard a clean, organized look. Save your back and add a layer of mulch at the start of your gardening season. You’ll be thanking yourself for the rest of the year.

A well-designed landscape provides more than just aesthetics for your home. It can also reduce your heating and cooling costs. It’s an investment that can pay for itself. Interested in learning more about how we can help you save money, energy and resources at your home? Schedule an assessment from an Energy Advisor from your local electric cooperative to offer tips, advice and other services to help you save energy and make your home a more comfortable place to live.