The choices you make for landscaping around your log home can provide some easy energy savings if you plan it right. One great source for information is the US Department of Energy website which features a landscaping section. The information is broken down into five areas to explore when planning your landscape design: climate, microclimate, shading, windbreaks and water conservation.

The site recommends that you first identify the conditions from your general climate, then additional considerations for your microclimate or the area immediately around your home. For example, you general climate might be moderate, but your location on the side of a mountain might make your microclimate more extreme in the winter.

Shading and windbreaks are the two easiest ways to reduce energy consumption in a home. Including deciduous trees on the southern and western side of you home can cool your home during summer months, but allow for passive solar heat to warm your home in the winter. Windbreaks of densely planted evergreens can also have a positive effect if you are in a colder climate or in one where windy conditions are common. Windbreaks can decrease the infiltration and exfiltration of air into your home by reducing the air pressure difference created by wind blowing on one side of the house. In wintry climates, windbreaks can also mitigate snowfall amounts and help to keep drifts and snowplowing costs down. When planning a windbreak, make sure that the windbreak continues as close to the ground as possible. A combination of an earthen berm and dense plantings of different species of tree and shrubs in integrated plantings can drop wind flow on a home by as much as 60%.

>In other areas of the country, leafy vines trained over trellises and arbors can shade southerly aspects of a home and provide a cool respite from a hot sun. Another way to provide a cooling effect is through the use of lawn and ground cover, which can reduce the microclimate temperature by as much as 10-15 degrees through the combined effect of evaporation and the transpiration created by the growing plants. Just how much lawn and ground cover is a balancing act, since sufficient water will be required to maintain the plantings.