Create Great Landscaping Around Your AC System with These Seven Tips

Air Conditioning units outside

Many homeowners prefer central air conditioning for their homes, but the outdoor AC isn’t exactly the aesthetic feature people enjoy having in their yard. Do you want a cool, comfortable interior without ruining your outdoor living space with a big metal eyesore? Proper landscaping should do the trick.

With the right visual barriers, you can hide your AC unit and improve your yard’s appeal. But try and remember that there’s a right way and a wrong way to handle AC unit landscaping. Understanding the difference is crucial to maintain optimal AC performance.

1. Arrange Plants Correctly

The first rule is to maintain proper clearance from the unit itself. Keeping plants at least 2 to 3 feet away from the AC is especially worthwhile. Remember, plants continue to grow every year, so you should place shrubs 2 to 3 feet away as soon as they mature.

Keeping plants 2 to 3 feet away ensures your AC system has adequate ventilation to function, a requirement for efficient heat exchange and efficient operation. Sufficient spacing also avoids the risk of stressing your AC, which could lead to more malfunctions and a shorter life span.

2. Provide Shade

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 appreciates being out of the sun.

When doable, situate the air conditioner on the north side of your home so it’s in constant shadow. 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 rake leaves to keep debris from clogging the condenser.

3. Implement Windbreaks for AC Protection

Incorporating windbreaks into the AC system landscaping strategy shields the unit from thunderstorms and other extreme weather. Evergreens are ideal since they keep their leaves all year-round. Some excellent shrubs for evergreen windbreaks include boxwood, junipers and Arborvitae.

When planted the proper distance apart, these plants create a dense barrier that blocks wind gusts carrying debris from reaching your AC. Just verify that your windbreak sits far enough back to maintain the necessary 2 to 3 feet of clearance as the hedgerow matures.

4. Enhance Flexibility with Movable Potted Plants

If you’re worried about shrubs getting too close to the AC as get bigger, opt for large container 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 attractive, easily rearranged elements help you to change the landscaping according to the season or as you try new looks. It’s equally convenient to move the pots a bit if the plants are getting big or move them aside during maintenance visits.

5. Use a Trellis, Screen or Lattice Cover

Not all solutions for covering your AC system need to be entirely made from nature itself. If you don’t have much room to work with or worry about plants dying, try these alternatives:

  • Place a movable screen to cover up your air conditioner while maintaining necessary airflow. Double check it has a gate or detachable section for easy access.
  • Install a trellis around the unit and grow climbing plants for a natural screen that offers visual appeal and natural shade. Just make sure the vegetation doesn’t overcrowd airflow.
  • Put in a lattice box for a visually appealing cover that combines the aesthetics of a trellis with the functionality of a screen. Refrain from adding a top cover, or that will restrict circulation.

6. Create a Gravel Garden

For a low-maintenance landscape solution, a gravel garden is another great choice. This kind of garden involves keeping the AC unit on a concrete pad surrounded by gravel and mulched beds of tough plants for even more color and life. The benefits are clear: less grass to cut, fewer weeds and plants to control and a stylish look that makes garden care easier all year.

7. Keep Access Unobstructed

Whatever landscaping choices you make, accessing your air conditioning unit must remain unblocked. After all, routine maintenance and repairs are vital for HVAC longevity and efficiency. Create the landscaping so service technicians can easily reach the unit, which means not planting anything on either side. This thoughtful detail will help your air conditioner perform optimally for years to come.

Schedule Professional AC Services

With your landscaping plans sorted, you can focus on the air conditioner itself. If the unit is acting up or it’s been a while since your last maintenance visit, call Geisel Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing, Inc.. Our ACE-certified technicians provide quick, efficient and durable fixes to all your climate control problems. For Expert service that matches our reputation, please contact us today.