Air Conditioning units outside

Enhance Landscaping Around the AC with These Seven Tips

Lots of homeowners are looking for the best central air conditioning these days, but the air conditioner isn’t exactly the aesthetic feature people like having in their yard. Are you looking for a cool, comfortable interior without ruining your outdoor living space with a big metal eyesore? Thoughtful landscaping makes a big difference.

With the right visual barriers, you can cover your AC unit and improve your yard’s aesthetic. Just be aware that there’s a right way and a wrong way to approach AC unit landscaping. Understanding the difference is crucial to ensure efficient AC operation.

1. Arrange Plants Correctly

It’s a good start to ensure adequate spacing from the unit itself. Keeping plants at least 2 to 3 feet away from the cabinet is essential. Don’t forget, plants grow larger every year, so you should position shrubs 2 to 3 feet away once they are fully grown.

Spacing plants 2 to 3 feet away ensures your air conditioner has sufficient clearance for air circulation, a requirement for proper exhaust of heat and steady cooling. Sufficient spacing also avoids the risk of stressing your AC, which could lead to more failures and a shorter service life.

2. Ensure Shade

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

If you can, 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 impeding ventilation. Then, remember to regularly trim branches to keep debris from clogging the condenser.

3. Shield Your AC with Windbreaks

Adding windbreaks into your AC unit landscaping strategy protects the air conditioner from severe weather. Evergreens are particularly effective since they stay green even in winter. A few top choices for evergreen windbreaks include boxwood, junipers and Arborvitae.

When planted the proper distance apart, the shrubs form a dense barrier that shields your AC unit from strong winds and blowing debris. Just double check that your windbreak sits far enough back to maintain the 2 to 3 feet of clearance as the plants grow.

4. Provide Flexibility with Large Potted Plants

If you don’t want the bushes and shrubs encroaching on the AC unit as they mature, opt for large potted plants. As long as they are big enough, the pots and plants will easily conceal the air conditioner while still ensuring a cooler yard. These attractive, movable elements allow you to change the landscaping according to the season or as your preferences change. It’s equally convenient to adjust the placement if the plants are getting big or move them aside during maintenance visits.

5. Incorporate a Trellis, Screen or Lattice

Not all solutions for hiding your AC unit need to be entirely made from nature itself. If you lack space or don’t want to deal with plant upkeep, try these other options:

  • Place a portable screen to cover up your air conditioner while preserving necessary air circulation. Check it has a door or detachable section for convenient access.
  • Set up a trellis around the unit and grow climbing or vining plants for a ‘green’ screen that enhances aesthetics and provides shade. Just make sure the vegetation doesn’t overcrowd airflow.
  • Add 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 impede airflow.

6. Implement a Gravel Garden

For a low-maintenance landscape solution, a gravel garden could be ideal. This kind of garden involves keeping the AC unit on a raised concrete platform surrounded by gravel interspersed with plant beds of resistant plants for even more color and life. The benefits are clear: less grass to cut, fewer weeds and plants to control and an attractive finished look that simplifies your gardening chores all year.

7. Remember to Maintain Access

Regardless of the landscaping choices you make, easy access to your AC unit must remain clear. After all, routine maintenance and repairs are vital for HVAC longevity and efficiency. Create the landscaping so maintenance technicians can easily get to the air conditioner, which means not planting anything on one or two sides. This thoughtful detail will help your air conditioner perform optimally for as long as possible.

Request Fast, Expert AC Services

With your landscaping plans figured out, you can get back to the air conditioner itself. If the unit is not performing well or it’s been a while since your last maintenance visit, call McLoughlin Plumbing Heating & Cooling. Our ACE-certified technicians provide fast, effective and long-lasting solutions to all your climate control problems. For Expert service that matches our reputation, please contact us today.