Upgrade Landscaping Around Your AC System with These Seven Tips

Air Conditioning units outside

Many homeowners prefer central air conditioning these days, but the AC’s outdoor cabinet isn’t exactly the aesthetic feature people like having in their yard. Do you want a cool, comfortable interior without ruining the yard’s look with a big metal eyesore? Proper landscaping will go a long way.

With the right screening options, you can conceal your AC unit and boost your yard’s aesthetic. But don’t forget that there’s a right way and a wrong way to tackle AC unit landscaping. Knowing the distinction is crucial to keep your air conditioner running smoothly and efficiently.

1. Space Plants Properly

You’ll first want to maintain proper clearance from the unit itself. Moving the plants at least 2 to 3 feet away from the AC is especially worthwhile. Remember, plants keep growing every summer, so you should position shrubs 2 to 3 feet away as soon as they mature.

Spacing plants 2 to 3 feet away ensures your air conditioner has adequate airflow to “breathe”, a requirement for effective heat exhaust and efficient operation. Adequate spacing also limits overworking your unit, which could lead to more failures and a shorter life span.

2. Ensure Shade

Even the high summer temperatures feel manageable 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, place the AC 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 restricting airflow. Then, remember to regularly trim branches to keep debris from clogging the condenser.

3. Implement Windbreaks for AC Protection

Adding windbreaks into the AC system landscaping strategy shields the unit from thunderstorms and other extreme weather. Evergreens are ideal as they retain their foliage all year-round. A few top shrubs for evergreen windbreaks include boxwood, junipers and Arborvitae.

When planted the proper distance apart, the shrubs create a dense barrier that blocks wind gusts carrying debris from reaching your AC. Just double check that your windbreak is planted far enough away to preserve that 2 to 3 feet of clearance as the hedgerow matures.

4. Use Large Potted Plants for Adaptability

If you’re worried about shrubs getting too close to the AC as they mature, pivot to large plants in containers. As long as they’re large enough, the pots and plants can easily cover the AC while contributing to a cooler yard. These decorative, movable elements enable you to modify the surroundings based on the time of year or as your preferences change. It’s just as simple to shift the pots slightly if the plants get too big or relocate them while maintenance is being done.

5. Use a Trellis, Screen or Lattice Cover

Not all solutions for hiding your AC unit need to be entirely green. If you lack space or are concerned about maintaining plants , try these other methods:

  • Place a freestanding screen to cover up your air conditioner while maintaining necessary air circulation. Double check it has a hinged panel or removable panel for convenient access.
  • Build a trellis around the outdoor cabinet and grow climbing plants for a ‘green’ screen that offers visual appeal and natural shade. Just make sure the vegetation doesn’t overcrowd airflow.
  • Add a lattice enclosure for a decorative solution 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 could be ideal. A gravel garden involves leaving your AC unit on a concrete base that’s elevated surrounded by gravel and mulched beds of tough plants for even more color and life. The benefits are clear: less yard maintenance, fewer weeds and plants to control and an enhanced look that makes garden care easier all year.

7. Ensure Easy Access

Regardless of the landscaping choices you make, easy access to your AC unit must remain unobstructed. After all, preventive maintenance and repairs foster HVAC longevity and efficiency. Build up your home’s landscaping so technicians can easily reach the unit, which means not planting anything on a couple of sides. Keeping this in mind will help your air conditioner function at its peak for years longer.

Schedule Your Professional Air Conditioning Services

With your landscaping plans figured out, 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 Hays Cooling, Heating & Plumbing. Our ACE-certified technicians provide fast, effective and long-lasting solutions to all your climate control problems. For Expert service that lives up to our name, please contact us today.