When trying to live through another stifling hot summer, chances are not only are you trying to stay cool, but you’re also trying to reduce your energy bills. Sure, trees are a great way to shade your home and keep it cool, but what if your tree is just a sapling? What if you don’t have enough room for your tree between your home and your neighbors? The answer – plant a vertical garden of vines. Vines are low-tech, easy to plant and lead to lower energy costs.
Now that spring has officially arrived, you might be interested in planting some vines to help cool your home. Here are some considerations to take before you plant your vine garden.
When choosing your vines, there are dozens of types to consider. Some are fragrant and will provide you with a pleasant aroma outside your windows. Others have colorful flowers and large leaves. You can even plant them to provide you with food (vines with beans or grapes). All of them, however, offer the perfect nesting area and cover for birds and nectar sources for hummingbirds and butterflies.
Since vines grow quickly and provide insulation and shade, you’ll be saving on your energy bills in no time. If you plant your vines on the west- or south-facing walls of your home, you’ll shield the sun from your home and lower the temperatures inside it. Even an arbor covered in vine can provide you with a cool retreat from the summer heat.
Explore Annual Vines
If you’re only looking to see how well the vines work in shading and cooling your home, try some annual vines such as mandevilla or moonflowers. These are tropical plants that grow fast and really hold up to the hot summer months.
Learn their Growing Pattern
Before you start planting your vines, ensure you know how they grow. This will help you build the proper support for your vines. Some vines like the morning glory, twist their growing tips thin and narrow support as they reach their height. Others like the Virginia creeper have rootlets that work similar to a suction cup where they hold the vine directly into a wooden or brick structure.
Before you plant your vine, be sure you provide it with the “support” it needs such as a sturdy trellis. A trellis supports the growth of your vine so it doesn’t endure damage. Use biodegradable netting or sturdy twine that you tie to the porch or eaves of your home and attach the plant to. Long sticks or bamboo canes work well too, but make sure you attach them to your house so they don’t collapse or tip over during a storm.
Other Options to Cool Your Home
Along with your shading vines, why not try other ways of cooling down your home. A good way is by using a whole house fan that blows out the hot, stuffy indoor air of your home and draws in the cool air in evenings. Whole house fans are so efficient that once you draw in that cool evening air, you can keep your home shut the next day and it will stay cool.