Most windows of our new home face east and west. Summer a/c expenses are high. We'll add landscaping with fast growing shade trees and shrubs in front of the windows. What species are likely to reduce our summer utility bills?
Shay ~ Birmingham, Alabama
Although I live in the Sierra foothills of California, I live in an area that has a very similar climate to Birmingham, Ala. We have lower humidity levels and slightly longer winters here, but I believe I can get you going in the right direction as far as plantings go. For trees I would recommend Red, Silver, Sugar or Trident Maples, Crape Myrtle, Ash and Southern Magnolia. For shrubs I would recommend Peegee Hydrangea, Showy Jasmine and Persian Lilac. Local nurseries are also a wealth of information for plants that will thrive in your area and provide the type of shade you are looking for. Local landscapers will also be very knowledgeable about setting up landscaping to create seasonal shade, and they will generally provide free estimates for the work. The amount of choices for this simple planting equation can be staggering, so be sure to do your homework and consult with specialists to ensure that you get the look and the shade you want. Good Luck!