In many parts of the world, heat and humidity go on a long, torrid love affair each summer. Together, these weather elements make homes almost unbearably uncomfortable -- unless you're lucky enough to own an air conditioner.
But air conditioners are expensive to operate. Proper landscaping, on the other hand, can make it seem like cash really does grow on trees.
A big, healthy shade tree can provide roughly the cooling potential of 10 room-size air conditioner units running for as much as 20 hours per day [source: Scotts]. Shade trees have to be in the correct location for the best effect though, and in the Northern Hemisphere, that generally means the southeast, southwest, west sides of the home.
As for your air conditioner itself, you can improve its efficiency by 10%, just by planting a tree or bush that shades the unit.