Best Ways to Landscape Around Your Air Conditioning Unit
Landscaping around your AC unit is a nice way to hide it from view without obstructing the airflow. If you're considering this option, understand there's a right way and a wrong way to do it.
Below, we'll give you some tips on the best way to landscape around your unit and improve its efficiency. The most important tip is to keep the system accessible to technicians for seasonal check-ups and any repairs.
Don't hesitate to call us at ARS/Rescue Rooter for all of your air conditioner repair needs.
Planting Distances Around Your Outdoor Air Conditioner Unit
The minimum planting distance is 2-3 feet away from your system but planting further is recommended. If you place plants too close, then the air flow will be obstructed, which can result in:
- Decreased energy efficiency
- A shorter system life span
- More repairs
All of these issues will cost you more money in the long run. Choose plants wisely when considering the necessary distance. You want to avoid plants that shed or can grow too close to the system. Roots and debris will make accessing your AC unit more difficult. Your heating and cooling technician will thank you for keeping this space clear.
Shade Your AC Unit
You're not the only one trying to get out of direct sunlight in summer. Choosing plants to create shade over your AC unit will keep internal temperatures cool.
Avoid having piles of leaves covering the system or letting branches hang too low to prevent the restriction of airflow and clog the condenser and keep the AC system from turning on, which isn't good for the system. There should be at least 5-6 feet of space above your unit.
We recommend using hedges, shrubs, tall trees, and other plants to block out direct sunlight all around your yard to make a microclimate that will keep the whole space cool.
Incorporate Rocks or Pavers
If you want less grass to mow on your lawn, fewer weeds to pull, and minimal landscape maintenance, consider a gravel garden. It only takes a weekend to set up and you can find all the materials at your local gardening center.
Rocks and paver stones will prevent weeds from growing in the air conditioner. When undesirable plants grow in the system, they can block the air current and pollute the condensing unit with seeds.
The air conditioner goes on a raised platform or pad surrounded by gravel. You can even make a plant bed with mulch to spruce up the view.
Create Protection from the Elements
There are several ways to protect your outdoor unit by using trees and hedges as landscaping techniques while maintaining access to the air conditioner.
You can create a windbreak for protection from severe weather conditions with firmly planted trees that won't fall. You can do this with a variety of evergreen plants to make a path for proper airflow during high winds. These hedges are preferred because they don't lose their leaves and are easy to maintain.
Installing a trellis or lattice box is also beneficial for protecting air conditioning units. These decorative landscaping elements help move the air current and prevent debris or tall grass from collecting around, then blocking the whole section. You can incorporate mulch or rocks for more security around the site.
These options make air conditioners blend in better with the yard without the requirement of tending to a garden bed.
Best Plants to Landscape Around Your Air Conditioning Unit
Consider the growth rate and maturity size when selecting a plant, flowers, or shrubs to go around your air conditioner. If your air conditioner unit is located in your side yard, you have plenty of room for more landscaping in the rest of your yard.
Many homeowners opt for succulents or cacti. They come in a variety of attractive colors and they love the heat. Their drought-resistance prevents them from being damaged by the warmth that comes off the unit.
Avoid flowers that attract bees and wasps. These pests will nest in your air conditioning unit and sting anyone who walks by. Consider ways to landscape around it instead. Also, avoid plants and flowers with thorns or sharp leaves like roses and holly because they can make it uncomfortable for technicians doing maintenance work.
Finally, plant larger trees at your own risk. Trees that shed their leaves in winter will provide shade in the summer months, then allow direct sunlight in winter to keep the house warm and reduce the need for the furnace. Evergreen plants are not as tall but they are great for landscaping around the system because they are attractive and help with insulating the house.
Can You Enclose a Central Air Conditioning Unit?
There are several ways you can enclose an AC unit without restricting access and the air current flow.
Homeowners can use a trellis, fence, or lattice box to hide the unit from sight. These are an easy way to landscape around the unit, but remember not to cover the top of the AC. Keep a door you don't have to search for or leave the side open.
These options can be decorated with vines or some other type of ornamentation that makes onlookers have to search to see the unit safely hidden from view.
Landscape Around AC Unit for Function and Style
Take advantage of mulch, shade, and other options for landscaping around your yard that flatters your house while being able to safely hide your AC unit.
When following any of these landscaping tips, remember to leave enough space for the air to prevent hindering the system's ability to efficiently operate. You can find specific instructions for space recommendations in your AC unit owner's manual.