Enhance Landscaping Around the AC with These Seven Tips

Air Conditioning units outside

Many homeowners want efficient central air conditioning these days, but the AC’s outdoor cabinet isn’t exactly the aesthetic feature people want in their yard. Are you looking for a cool, comfortable interior without ruining your outdoor living space with a big metal box? Thoughtful landscaping has an immediate impact.

With the right plants or hardscaping, you can conceal your AC unit and enhance your yard’s curb appeal. Just be aware 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. Space Plants Properly

You’ll first want to keep enough distance from the unit itself. Moving the plants at least 2 to 3 feet away from the cabinet is particularly important. Don’t forget, plants continue to grow every year, so you should place shrubs to be 2 to 3 feet away when they are fully grown.

This spacing ensures your air conditioner has sufficient clearance for air circulation, a requirement for effective heat exhaust and optimal climate control. Adequate 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 high summer temperatures feel bearable when you step into the shade. You’re not the only one who appreciates the relief—your air conditioner also benefits from shade.

If you can, position the unit on the north side of your home so it’s in perpetual shade. If that’s not an option, use large shrubs 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 trim branches to keep debris from clogging the condenser.

3. Shield Your AC with Windbreaks

Incorporating windbreaks into your AC unit landscaping strategy shields the unit from thunderstorms and other extreme weather. Evergreens are particularly effective as they stay green even in winter. Some excellent species for evergreen windbreaks include boxwood, junipers and Arborvitae.

If planted the right distance apart, the shrubs combine into a dense barrier that protects the AC from high winds and flying debris. Just make sure your windbreak is planted far enough away to maintain the necessary 2 to 3 feet of clearance as the hedgerow matures.

4. Provide Flexibility with Large Potted Plants

If you don’t want the bushes and shrubs overgrowing around the air conditioner as they mature, opt for large container plants. As long as they’re large enough, the pots and plants can easily conceal the air conditioner while still ensuring a cooler yard. These stylish, movable elements allow you to change the landscaping according to the season or as your aesthetic changes. It’s equally convenient to adjust the placement if the plants are getting especially full 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 from Mother Nature herself. If you lack space or worry about plants dying, try these other options:

  • Install a portable screen to cover up your air conditioner while maintaining necessary air circulation. Check it has a hinged panel or detachable section for easy access.
  • Set up a trellis around the outdoor cabinet and grow climbing plants for a natural screen that enhances aesthetics and provides shade. Just make sure the vegetation doesn’t block airflow.
  • Install a lattice enclosure for a visually appealing cover that blends the aesthetics of a trellis with the functionality of a screen. Refrain from adding a top cover, or that will restrict circulation.

6. Try a Gravel Garden

For a low-maintenance landscape solution, a gravel garden could be ideal. This kind of garden involves leaving your AC unit on a raised concrete platform surrounded by gravel and mulched beds of , drought-{tolerant plants for even more color and life. The benefits for your yard are clear: less yard maintenance, fewer weeds and plants to control and an enhanced look that simplifies your gardening chores all year.

7. Keep Access Unobstructed

No matter the landscaping choices you make, access to your air conditioning unit must remain unblocked. After all, preventive maintenance and repairs are vital for HVAC longevity and efficiency. Create the landscaping so service technicians can easily access the AC, 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.

Schedule Professional AC Services

With your landscaping plans in place, you can get back to the air conditioner itself. If the unit is malfunctioning or it’s been a while since your last maintenance visit, call Crawford Services. Our ACE-certified technicians provide quick, efficient and durable fixes to all your comfort challenges. For Expert service that lives up to our name, please contact us today.