Air Conditioning units outside

Upgrade Landscaping Around Your AC System with These Seven Tips

Many homeowners want efficient central air conditioning for their homes, but the AC’s outdoor cabinet isn’t exactly the visual highlight people enjoy having in their backyard. Are you looking for a cool, comfortable interior without spoiling the backyard with a big metal box? Proper landscaping should do the trick.

With the right visual barriers, you can hide your AC unit and improve your yard’s curb appeal. But try and remember 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

The first rule is to ensure adequate spacing from the unit itself. Clearing plants at least 2 to 3 feet away from the AC is particularly important. Don’t forget, plants keep growing every summer, so you should arrange shrubs 2 to 3 feet away once they are fully grown.

Keeping plants 2 to 3 feet away ensures your air conditioner has sufficient airflow to “breathe”, a requirement for proper exhaust of heat and steady cooling. Sufficient spacing also limits overworking your unit, which could lead to more malfunctions and a shorter life span.

2. Create Shaded Areas

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 performs better in the 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 privacy hedges 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 rake leaves to keep debris from clogging the condenser.

3. Shield Your AC with Windbreaks

Using windbreaks into the AC system landscaping strategy protects the AC against harsh weather and storms. Evergreens are particularly effective because they retain their foliage even in winter. A few top choices for evergreen windbreaks include boxwood, junipers and Arborvitae.

If planted the right distance apart, these plants combine into a dense barrier that blocks wind gusts carrying debris from reaching your AC. Just make sure your windbreak is planted far enough away to maintain the 2 to 3 feet of clearance as the shrubs grow.

4. Provide Flexibility with Large Potted Plants

If you’re concerned about these bushes encroaching on the AC unit as they mature, opt for large potted plants. As long as the pot is big enough, the pots and plants should conceal the air conditioner while contributing to a cooler yard. These attractive, easily rearranged elements help you to change the landscaping according to the season or as your aesthetic changes. It’s also easy to move the pots a bit if the plants are getting especially full or relocate them while maintenance is being done.

5. Employ a Trellis, Screen or Lattice for an Attractive Screen

Not all solutions for hiding your AC unit need to be entirely from Mother Nature herself. If you don’t have much room to work with or worry about plants dying, try these alternatives:

  • Set up a portable screen to cover up your air conditioner while ensuring the necessary ventilation. Make sure it has a hinged panel or easily removed part for quick access.
  • Set up a trellis around your AC unit and grow climbing or vining plants for a ‘green’ screen that offers visual appeal and natural shade. Just make sure the vegetation doesn’t overcrowd airflow.
  • Install a decorative lattice 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 impede airflow.

6. Implement a Gravel Garden

For a low-maintenance landscape solution, a gravel garden might be perfect. This approach involves keeping the AC unit on a concrete pad surrounded by gravel and gardens of tough plants for even more color and life. The rewards are clear: less grass to cut, fewer weeds to manage and an enhanced look that makes garden care easier all year.

7. Keep Access Unobstructed

Whatever landscaping choices you make, access to your AC unit must remain unobstructed. After all, regular maintenance and repairs foster HVAC longevity and efficiency. Build up your home’s landscaping so maintenance technicians can easily reach the unit, which means not planting anything on either side. Keeping this in mind will help your air conditioner function at its peak for as long as possible.

Schedule Your Professional Air Conditioning 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 Arundel Cooling. Our ACE-certified technicians provide fast, effective and long-lasting solutions to all your HVAC issues. For Expert service that meets our high standards, please contact us today.