Air Conditioning units outside

Create Great Landscaping Around the AC with These Seven Tips

Lots of homeowners want efficient central air conditioning these days, but the air conditioner isn’t exactly the visual highlight people like having in their backyard. Do you want a more comfortable home without ruining the yard’s look with a big metal box? Effective landscaping has an immediate impact.

With the right visual barriers, you can hide your AC unit and improve your yard’s curb appeal. But try and remember that there’s a right way and a wrong way to handle AC unit landscaping. Recognizing the special considerations is crucial to keep your air conditioner running smoothly and efficiently.

1. Maintain Proper Plant Spacing

It’s a good start to ensure adequate spacing from the unit itself. Clearing plants at least 2 to 3 feet away from the AC is particularly important. Remember, plants keep growing each year, so you should place shrubs 2 to 3 feet away as soon as they reach maturity.

Keeping plants 2 to 3 feet away ensures your AC system has enough clearance for air circulation, a requirement for effective heat exhaust and optimal climate control. Adequate spacing also prevents stressing your AC, which could lead to more malfunctions and a shorter life span.

2. Create Shaded Areas

Even the hottest summer weather feels bearable when you step into the shade. You’re not the only one who notices this difference—your air conditioner also benefits from shade.

When doable, situate the air conditioner on the north side of your home so it’s in perpetual shade. If that’s not an option, use tall trees to your advantage. Just avoid placing plants directly over the unit. Maintaining vertical clearance of 5 to 6 feet prevents blocking air circulation. Then, remember to regularly clear debris to keep debris from clogging the condenser.

3. Shield Your AC with Windbreaks

Adding windbreaks into your AC unit landscaping strategy shields the unit from thunderstorms and other extreme weather. Evergreens are ideal because they keep their leaves even in winter. Some excellent species for evergreen windbreaks include boxwood, junipers and Arborvitae.

If you take care to plant them a safe distance apart, your shrubs form a dense barrier that protects the AC from high winds and flying debris. Just double check that your windbreak is planted far enough away to maintain the 2 to 3 feet of clearance as the shrubs grow.

4. Provide Flexibility with Large Potted Plants

If you don’t want the bushes and shrubs overgrowing around the air conditioner as the years go by, try an alternative approach with large potted plants. As long as the pot is big enough, the pots and plants will easily hide your AC unit while contributing to a cooler yard. These stylish, modular elements help you to change the landscaping according to the season or as your aesthetic changes. It’s just as simple to move the pots a bit if the plants are getting big or move them aside during maintenance visits.

5. Employ a Trellis, Screen or Lattice for an Attractive Screen

Not all solutions for concealing your air conditioner need to be entirely from Mother Nature herself. If you don’t have much room to work with or don’t want to deal with plant upkeep, try these other methods:

  • Install a movable screen to cover up your air conditioner while ensuring the necessary air circulation. Make sure it has a hinged panel or removable panel for quick access.
  • Set up a trellis around the unit and grow vines for a ‘green’ screen that enhances aesthetics and provides shade. Just make sure the vegetation doesn’t restrict airflow.
  • Put in a lattice box for a decorative solution that blends the aesthetics of a trellis with the functionality of a screen. Refrain from adding a top cover, or that will block ventilation.

6. Try a Gravel Garden

For a more manageable landscape solution, a gravel garden might be perfect. This approach involves keeping the AC unit on a raised concrete platform surrounded by gravel interspersed with plant beds of resistant plants for additional color and life. The benefits are clear: less grass to cut, fewer weeds to pull and an enhanced look that simplifies your gardening chores all year.

7. Keep Access Unobstructed

No matter the landscaping choices you make, accessing your outdoor AC cabinet must remain unblocked. After all, routine maintenance and repairs foster HVAC longevity and efficiency. Design your landscaping so maintenance technicians can easily get to the air conditioner, which means not planting anything on a couple of sides. This thoughtful detail will help your air conditioner perform optimally for as long as possible.

Schedule Your Professional Air Conditioning Services

With your landscaping plans in place, you can turn your attention to the air conditioner itself. If the unit is malfunctioning or it’s been a while since your last maintenance visit, call Canyon State Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing. Our ACE-certified technicians provide prompt, effective and lasting results to all your HVAC issues. For Expert service that lives up to our name, please contact us today.