5 Tips For Hiding Your Air Conditioning Unit Outdoors

5 Tips For Hiding Your Air Conditioning Unit Outdoors

Let’s talk about your outdoor air conditioning unit.  Chances are, it sits against the side of your house, and takes up room in your backyard or in front of your deck or patio. Should you try to make it look more attractive to match the landscape, or mask it in some way?  A lot of that depends on what you have in mind, and where exactly it is located.

Knowing Your A/C

Every air conditioning unit has to breathe, so you don’t want to disrupt its airflow, otherwise, it will overheat.  This means both what fence or covering you have above or around the unit, as well as what plants grow around it and how close they are.  

The placement of the unit is best in a shaded area, and care should be taken to aim the lawnmower and the weed whacker away from the unit.  As any landscaping crew knows, not only can grass clippings and other debris clog it up, but the mower or weed whacker can accidentally damage the coils.

5 Tips For Hiding Your Air Conditioning Unit Outdoors

Exterior Design and Landscaping Around the Unit

Here are 5 things you can do to make your air conditioner look a little less out of place in your yard:

  1. Fence it in.  This will depend on the unit’s size, and where it vents, and keep in mind that whether you go with an actual fence, or a screen, you should choose one that allows for easy access to the unit for repairs.  For what to match the fence or screen to, look around at other elements around your home’s exterior in terms of theme or color so that it looks like a subtle extension of your yard.
  2. Build a structure.  If obtaining shade is an issue, you can build a shed-like structure to house the unit while at the same time maybe even providing storage for things like garden supplies or a lawnmower, weed whacker, or tiller.  But even if you only contain the air conditioner itself sans other supplies, here again, you will make sure to adhere to proper ventilation and easy access.  
  3. Renovate your yard.  If it’s possible to reconfigure the layout surrounding your home, you can create a customized utility wall that blocks off the unit from view, while still giving you plenty of functioning space for entertaining.
  4. Surrounding structures and plant elements.  By adding a trellis in front of the air conditioner, along with a trailing plant such as clematis, ivy, or wild beans, you can effectively keep the unit hidden from view on the cheap and give it a bit of shade at the same time.  A word of caution here, however: any plants nearby the air conditioner should always be pruned back to 18 inches from all sides of the unit, and avoid planting any shrubs or prickly in the vicinity.
  5. Distract the eye.  At the very least, the rest of your yard’s elements can deter people from zeroing in on your air conditioning unit.  For example, with or without the addition of a fence or screen, you can create other areas of interest in the yard – such as with stepping stones, or a pathway – parallel to it.  That way, the subject of focus becomes not the unit, but wherever (or wherever) else you might want others to be redirected to.  Bonus: add a low fence to match the fence in your backyard, and it will give your property a more finished look. 

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