Digging up 8 tips to saving money on your utility bills using your garden
As the weather gets warmer and we spend more time outside - particularly as we start to slowly reunite with our friends and family - you might be thinking about giving your garden space a facelift.
But, did you know there are improvements you can make that can not only increase your home’s value, but even reduce your energy bills. That’s right, your garden could help you save money!
The right garden could increase your home’s value by 20%
It has been reported that a good looking garden can add anywhere between 5% and 20% to your home’s value. With the average property in the UK valued at £249,633, that could mean an additional £48,000!
It’s little surprise then, that so many of us are looking to improve our gardens ahead of restrictions easing. Searches for ‘garden party ideas’ increased by 111% between February and March 2021, with even the likes of ‘outdoor seating’ spiking by 141% in the same time period. This suggests that gardens are becoming the top priorities for Brits.
With that in mind, Boiler Plan are sharing how to save money using your outdoor space.
1. Save up to 25% of your home's energy with well-positioned trees
If you are one of the lucky ones to have a large tree in your garden, you could be saving money without realising. It is estimated that you could save up to 25% of your home’s energy with a tree, as they are a natural windbreaker. This means that they reduce the wind and divert the air above your home, meaning you are less likely to turn on your heating in the winter.
Additionally, those same trees provide that much-needed shade during the summer months - it’s around 3-6 degrees cooler in tree-shaded areas - leaving you less likely to turn on fans or air conditioning and save on your energy bills.
2. A tall fence can block winds, save money and add 20% to your home’s value
When it’s windy, your first instinct might be to reach for your thermostat. But, increasing your central heating by just one degree can add 10% to your annual energy bill. With the average gas bill in the UK sitting at £610, that’s an extra £61!
Similar to trees, however, the right fence can break the wind which, in turn, stops you from reaching for the thermostat. The fence can also help to protect plants that struggle in strong winds. On average a fence can set you back around £1,000 to build, depending on your garden size, but in the long run can save you some all important cash.
A good-looking, maintained garden fence could also help to bump up the price of your property. In some cases, you can increase the value of your home by 20%!
3. Keep your garden fridge out of direct sunlight
Between February and March 2021, searches for ‘garden bar’ have increased by 80%. And, what that can mean is using a fridge outdoors. But, did you know that placing your fridge in direct sunlight can make it work harder, costing you more money to run.
With that in mind, it’s best to place the fridge out of the sun and in a shaded area if possible.
4. Opt for an electric outdoor heater over gas
In February and March 2021, searches for ‘garden heaters’ have increased by 192%, likely due to restrictions in the UK easing.
Not only are electric patio heaters more environmentally friendly, but they can also save you money. It’s reported that an electric heater costs around 15% of what it would cost to run a gas heater. Of course, if you would like to go green, the most environmentally friendly way you can heat up outside is to bring plenty of rugs and blankets outdoors.
5. Place LED garden lights in your garden, reducing energy use by 75-80%
It’s estimated that LED lights can use up to 80% less energy. For those wanting to light up their garden in anticipation of friends and family visiting, LED lights can save you money and also provide a stylish backdrop to your outdoor parties.
6. Consider a porch to keep energy bills down and improve kerb appeal
If you are looking at renovating your home but not sure what can also help cut costs, you could consider a porch.
A porch can not only add value to your home and help your property stand out against your neighbours, increasing the chance of it selling, but it can also reduce those all-important heating bills. A porch acts as another layer of insulation to your home, stopping the heat from escaping and you turning up the central heating.
7. Group your plants based on their water needs to save on water
Typically, plants need around 3 to 4 inches of water around the plant stem. But, if you don’t plant them by their watering needs, you could be using more water than required.
Instead, plan out which plants need the same amount of water, and plant them based on those needs. You can also look for plants that grow fairly quickly and, therefore, reduce the cost and the time spent looking after them.
Julie Power, gardening expert from Blooming Native agrees grouping your plants can save on water, as you section off your garden: “Sowing a mixture of seeds will produce a diverse succession of different species, blooming at different stages throughout the summer so that you can keep the watering to a concentrated area.” Another handy tip she mentions is how to reuse your dish water: “When washing the dishes, rinse first with water (no soap) and save the water, use this water to water the flowers - this will be a more sustainable and economic use of water. Another good way is to sow your seeds before rainfall - saving on water after initially planting.”
8. Drought-tolerant plants can further reduce your water bills
To further save on your water bills, why not opt for drought-tolerant plants? The likes of some perennials, shrubs and even conifers can last without much water - perfect for those looking to get started into the world of gardening, but aren’t quite sure what to do.
Julie recommends sowing a mixture of both annual and perennial plants to enjoy, which are a sustainable option.“ You will experience colour from 8 weeks after sowing when the annuals come into bloom, the perennials will then begin to bloom the following year after sowing, this will save ever having to sow again. If the patch is maintained correctly, the flowers will return every year. There is very little maintenance which again makes wildflowers an excellent choice for a low maintenance, economic, and sustainable garden.”
It’s also recommended that you water in the morning as the sun comes up, or in the evenings when it is cooler, as watering in the heat of the day can mean water is lost through evaporation, leaving you using more.
Ian Henderson, Managing Director of Boiler Plan added: “These gardening tips are a small way we can help cut down our energy bills throughout the year, while enjoying and adding value to our outdoor space. From LED bulbs, to making sure our outdoor fridges stay cool in the heat, these all can help towards keeping our bills down.”
If you are looking for ways in which you can save even more on your energy bills, you can check out our tips to saving even more money on your energy bills, along with even more guidance on reducing your gas bill on our Advice Centre.