Tips For Landscaping Around Your Air Conditioner
Air conditioners are wonderful things, and having one is bliss when the weather heats up to provide you with a little haven inside your home. What’s less wonderful, however, is the unsightly box central air conditioners require you to have to ruin the aesthetics of your garden.
Don’t let unattractive window air conditioners or central air conditioner units spoil your yard by following our top tips on the best ways to landscape around your air conditioner to offer you a cool and calm home without creating an ugly garden.
1. Check Requirements
While it might be tempting to simply want to hide your central air conditioners’ unit or disguise your window air conditioners with covers, not leaving enough air space around the unit can dramatically reduce the performance of the unit. This will not only be annoying as your air conditioner performs less effectively but can also end up costing you a small fortune in repairs and maintenance – not ideal!
Before you start planning any landscaping around your mini split air conditioners or any other type of air conditioner unit, check the manufacturers’ instructions on how much space they need to perform at peak levels. Always be sure to leave an easy access point so you can get to the unit for maintenance.
Generally, AC units require approximately 2-3 feet of clear space around them and 5 feet of space above. You should also be sure to set your unit on a raised, flat platform for ultimate performance.
2. Consider The Base
AC units should sit on a flat base, and we like to put ours on a small wooden raised platform to keep it off the ground. It would be best if you also considered the things around the bottom of the unit to avoid getting it clogged up with grass trimmings or mud. A dirty condenser coil can mean your central air conditioners need to work up to 30% harder, increasing your energy bill!
Try a stone or crushed rock boarder around your unit to avoid mishaps. This will also help drain water away and helps mark out space your unit needs around it to perform properly.
3. Incorporate Shade
We all know how hot it can get on a summer’s day when there’s no shade in sight. Your AC unit, window air conditioners, or mini-split air conditioners feel just the same and can’t perform at their peak capacity when they’re overheating. To combat this, creating shade for your unit to take cover under is a great way to increase performance and can even help hide the unsightly box depending on the direction your yard is facing.
We recommend using tall trees, shrubs, or hedges to add a shady spot to your garden. Evergreen options are great as these can also help provide a windbreak in winter, however, a tree that sheds its leaves come fall might also help as it will shade the unit in summer and allow the sunlight to help warm it up in winter. Just remember to consider the spatial requirements surrounding your unit and that you will need to stay on top of leaf droppings to keep your unit clean and clear, even if you go for an evergreen option!
Similarly to the above, keeping your AC units protected from severe weather will help it all year round. We love evergreen plants such as boxwood, cypress, cedar, and spruce to provide a year-round natural windbreak that also hides the ugly box. Just don’t forget to keep your distances and ensure there’s enough space to access the unit if needed! If your aim is to protect the unit from strong winds, you’ll also need to be sure that any trees have been firmly planted and don’t run the risk of blowing over and crushing the unit.
5. Keep It Fresh
If you’d like a less permanent option that provides shade and protection to your unit while hiding it, then large potted plants might be the way to go. This way, not only can you (relatively) easily move them out of the way when you need access, but you can also switch them up for different plants every year or season to keep your garden looking fresh and interesting.
6. Non-living alternatives
If you don’t have much of a green thumb or if your garden is already pretty full of interesting plants and you don’t fancy anymore, then using a trellis, screen, or lattice cover to hide your air conditioner might be a good alternative. They’re low-maintenance and look great, plus you can train plants such as vines, roses, or even strawberries to grow up the lattice if you want a more natural look.
You could even pick up some simple shutters from your local thrift store to set up around the unit. These will be much more attractive than central air conditioners and are incredibly easy to remove. We suggest bringing them inside over winter for a lick of paint, so you enjoy a refreshed and stylish looking yard when the sun returns.
7. Blend It In
While all these options will look great and help to hide ugly boxes in your garden, if you don’t give some thought to the rest of your yard, you could end up simply drawing the eye to the bits you’re trying to hide! We like the look of large trees closest to the unit for shade and wind shelter with smaller plants in the surrounding area for a natural, blended look. Flowering bushes with sweet-smelling and beautiful flowers make a great distraction. Try hydrangeas, roses, morning glory, or even lavender for a beautiful and low-maintenance yard that will not only look great but smell amazing too.