How to Safely Camouflage Your Outdoor Air Conditioning System

[fa icon="calendar"] May 20, 2015 / by Home Services Expert

backyard_garden_bed_with_trellisNo one ever said that it would win a contest for its good looks. When you purchase a central air conditioner – or buy a home with one already in place – you invest in its efficiency and reliability. Still, this doesn't mean that you have to think of your outdoor air conditioning system as an eyesore – or quickly avert your eyes every time you glance in the direction of that incredible bulk, even if sits within inches of your patio or deck.There are some truly inspiring ideas for camouflaging – or at least minimizing the harsh edges – of outdoor air conditioners. So let us help you consider the possibilities, which, by the way, extend beyond aesthetics.

Concealing your outdoor unit also can:

  • Help muffle the noise
  • Provide shading for your unit on hot summer days
  • Blunt cold winds
  • Provide a buffer, of sorts, that can help keep obstructions at bay

Therein lies a proviso to any design idea you entertain:

Your outdoor air conditioner literally needs room to breathe, or about 2 feet all the way around the unit and 8 feet above it, to ensure proper air flow. You also should provide easy access on at least one side of the unit so that an air conditioning service company can properly clean and service it during your yearly air conditioner tune-up. These considerations leave you with several creative screening options.

Build a boundary wall

Ideal for a unit that sits within inches of outdoor seating, a boundary wall that complements your outdoor landscape will leave people wondering what sits on the other side. Soften the wall with hanging plants or a painted mural. (Just think what you could do with an outdoor “tropics” or rock 'n roll theme to infuse your back yard with new energy.) Meanwhile, the other three sides of the boundary wall can be left completely to virtually wide open.

Surround the unit with a fence or wooden screen

Create some visual symmetry with a wooden or steel fence already on your property or build a structure made of wooden slats to enclose your air conditioner. Soften the area with ground cover, small shrubs, plants or flowers.

Extend the idea with a garden care “center”

Seize the opportunity created by your outdoor air conditioning system to place all of your outdoor gadgets in one central location. Don't think “shed”; think in terms of a small gazebo, a cathedral or an elegant dome-shaped structure where you can store your lawnmower, hose and garden tools.

Install a garden trellis

This is a great because trellises are equally at home in expansive and tight spaces. And you can alter the finishing touches from year to year, if you're so inclined, or as your garden grows. Start with flowering vines, such as Clematis, or vegetable “climbers” such as beans if you wish to start a vegetable garden. Framing the trellis with low-lying shrubs and flowers or even potted plants can actually make your outdoor air conditioning unit look like it is the focal point of your back yard rather than a distraction you sought to minimize.

Choose greenery with care

Choosing shrubs can be a matter of personal preference, but remember to choose them carefully so that they have room to grow without crowding your outdoor air conditioning unit. They also should maintain their good look as you prune and cut them back.

For these reasons, hearty evergreens are often a good, practical choice. They also will be able to withstand the warm air that blows on them as your outdoor air conditioning unit draws in outside air and expels the warm air from inside your home.

For artistic inspiration, turn to The Landscaping Network, which says that “plants with small leaves and a fine texture tend to recede into the backdrop while plants with larger leaves have such dramatic shapes and shadows that they call attention to themselves.

The solution is simple: cluster some finely-textured plants in front of and slightly off to the side of the unit. Then create a focal point a little ways away by using powerhouse plants with bold foliage to attract the eye.”

The network says that “sturdy, finely-textured plants like Marjorie Channon Kohuhu, New Zealand wind grass and mint bush provide screening while allowing the unit to retreat into the backdrop. Bold superstars such as Grace smoke bush, giant butterbur and canna lily can be used in nearby focal areas to draw attention to themselves.”

If you're determined to camouflage your air conditioning system this summer, contact Experts In Your Home to ensure that your preferred method will not interfere with its operation. Together, who knows what we might achieve? Your air conditioner just might win a neighborhood contest for its good looks after all.

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