Nashville. The real estate market is hot. The chicken is hot. And the weather is hot…no kidding, my hair is frizzing as I write. And while there’s not much we can do to control Mother Nature, there are ways to control skyrocketing energy costs by landscaping property around your home. According to the Department of Energy, a well-designed landscape saves enough energy to pay for itself in eight (8) years. Here are some suggestions from June Hawkins, our landscape designer here at Milosi: SHADE TREES Your roof receives the most direct sunlight, and good shade trees can reduce your summer energy bills by 20%. You always want to plant in odd numbers according to June, and three (3) deciduous trees like maples or oaks will grow tall enough to shade your roof. On the west end of your property, you may want to consider an evergreen “screen”. This will block the sun while setting and will grow approximately 20 feet in height. Consider Green Giants- these are hardy evergreens and are less prone to disease. ARBORS, PERGOLAS, AND COVERED PORCHES You may also consider structures for your back or side yard such as arbors, pergolas, and covered porches. A pergola is freestanding with an open roof that is supported by columns or posts. If it is attached to the home, it is also referred to as a covered porch. An arbor is usually smaller and will support climbing plants. All will provide shade and architectural interest for your landscape. SHADING AIR CONDITIONING UNITS Schip laurels are good shrubs to plant around outdoor air conditioning units here in Nashville. You will want to be careful with bedding plants and shrubs with berries or dropping leaves. You don’t want to damage the units or restrict air flow. NATIVE PLANTS To conserve high water bills in the summer, consider planting native plants. They require no or little irrigation and still grow well even during draught and warm conditions.