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3 Cool Ways To Hide Your Outside Air Conditioning Unit

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If you live in a hot climate, the air conditioning unit that sits outside your home is a must-have for comfortable living. But it can create an unsightly eyesore in an otherwise-beautiful yard. The good news is that there are many ways to cleverly hide the unit itself while adding to the attractiveness of your yard design. Here's what you need to know about hiding your A/C unit.

What to Know

No matter what type of camouflage you choose, be sure you give the air conditioning unit enough room to breathe. Don't fully enclose the unit because this cuts off ventilation needed for the air conditioner to properly function. Plan for at least 2 to 3 feet of space between the unit itself and any barriers -- beside or above it. If the unit is located in a section of yard that has little or no shade, consider adding some shade -- such as lattice, a small hard roof, or a fence tall enough to block the sun for much of the day -- well above the unit. This will help it operate efficiently and reduce your energy costs. 

Once you know your parameters, here are 3 ways to make the unit disappear from view.

  • Fence it in. Fencing is perhaps the most common -- and easiest -- of the solutions for hiding an unsightly unit. Avoid drawing attention to the fence by choosing a fence style that fits in well with existing fences and outbuildings in your yard. As an added bonus, solid fences will also help muffle the noise of the machine when it's operating. If you want to add a bit of artistry to the fence, try a horizontal slatted fence (plenty of ventilation!) or even a fancy wrought iron grating instead of a solid wall. 
  • Add Foliage. A green border around your A/C unit can make the space into an attractive and natural addition to your yard. The trick to using plants to hide it, though, is to control the plants. Containers or raised flower beds work well because they prevent roots from spreading to damage the structure and weeds from overgrowing into it. If you want to use plants in the ground, try ornamental grasses (such as feathery switch grass) or shrubs like forsythia or Jerusalem sage. For an added color pop, feel free to plant a few small flowers in front of the foliage to brighten up the view. 
  • Make it Useful. Do more than just hide an unsightly machine by turning it into something functional and productive. If you have other yard tools and paraphernalia, you can create an all-in-one enclosure that keeps everything together. Build a well-ventilated -- slatted or lattice-work, for example -- enclosure with two halves -- a place for the unit on side and a place to store tools on the other. Or hang hooks on the fence in front of the unit where you can hang garden tools out of the way. 

Working your air conditioner into your overall yard landscape will help make this necessity into a useful and welcome part of your backyard living. 

For professional help with fencing, contact a fencing company such as Four Corners Fencing.