Air Conditioning units outside

Enhance Landscaping Around the AC with These Seven Tips

Most homeowners are looking for the best central air conditioning for their homes, but the air conditioner isn’t exactly the decorative centerpiece people enjoy having in their yard. Do you need a better sense of comfort indoors without ruining the yard’s look with a big metal box? Thoughtful landscaping will go a long way.

With the right screening options, you can tuck away your AC unit and boost your yard’s curb appeal. But try and remember that there’s a right way and a wrong way to tackle AC unit landscaping. Understanding the difference is crucial to keep your air conditioner running smoothly and efficiently.

1. Maintain Proper Plant Spacing

You’ll first want to ensure adequate spacing from the unit itself. Moving the plants at least 2 to 3 feet away from your unit is particularly important. Don’t forget, plants keep growing each year, so you should place shrubs 2 to 3 feet away as soon as they reach maturity.

Keeping plants 2 to 3 feet away ensures your AC system has enough clearance for air circulation, a requirement for effective heat exhaust and optimal climate control. Ample clearance also avoids the risk of stressing your AC, which could lead to more breakdowns and a shorter life span.

2. Ensure Shade

Even the scorching summer heat feels manageable 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, 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 impeding ventilation. Then, remember to regularly trim branches to keep debris from clogging the condenser.

3. Using Windbreaks to Protect Your AC Unit

Incorporating windbreaks into your AC unit landscaping strategy protects the AC against harsh weather and storms. Evergreens are particularly effective as they keep their leaves all year-round. A few top species for evergreen windbreaks include boxwood, junipers and Arborvitae.

If you take care to plant them a safe distance apart, your shrubs combine into a dense barrier that protects the AC from high winds and flying debris. Just double check that your windbreak is planted far enough away to maintain the necessary 2 to 3 feet of clearance as the plants grow.

4. Enhance Flexibility with Movable Potted Plants

If you’re concerned about these bushes overgrowing around the air conditioner as get bigger, pivot to large plants in containers. As long as they are big enough, the pots and plants can easily conceal the air conditioner while still ensuring a cooler yard. These attractive, easily rearranged elements allow you to adapt the landscaping around your AC unit seasonally or as your preferences change. It’s just as simple to shift the pots slightly if the plants are getting especially full or keep them out of the way during servicing.

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

Not all solutions for concealing your air conditioner need to be entirely green. If you lack space or worry about plants dying, try these alternatives:

  • Place a movable screen to hide your AC while preserving necessary air circulation. Make sure it has a door or detachable section for convenient access.
  • Install a trellis around the outdoor cabinet and grow climbing or vining plants for a ‘green’ screen that enhances aesthetics and provides shade. Just make sure the vegetation doesn’t block airflow.
  • Put in 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 block ventilation.

6. Implement a Gravel Garden

For a low-maintenance landscape solution, a gravel garden is another great choice. A gravel garden involves leaving your AC unit on a raised concrete platform surrounded by gravel interspersed with mulched beds of resilient plants for added color and life. The rewards are clear: less yard maintenance, fewer weeds and plants to control and a stylish look that simplifies your gardening chores all year.

7. Remember to Maintain Access

Regardless of the landscaping choices you make, accessing your air conditioning unit must remain clear. 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 a couple of sides. This thoughtful detail will help your air conditioner operate efficiently for as long as possible.

Schedule Your Professional Air Conditioning Services

With your landscaping plans figured out, 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 Freedom Heating & Cooling. Our ACE-certified technicians provide prompt, effective and lasting results to all your HVAC issues. For Expert service that matches our reputation, please contact us today.