7 Ways to Hide an A/C Unit

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Home Improvement

7 Ways to Hide an A/C Unit
Want to keep your yard looking stylish and keep your A/C unit safe? Check out these ideas to cover your home's A/C unit.


In many parts of the country, air conditioning is a necessity, not a luxury. And even in those areas where it doesn’t get quite as hot, nothing beats walking into a nice, cool home on a warm summer’s day. Your A/C unit keeps your family comfortably cool all summer long — without it, you’d be sweating and struggling to sleep. 

But even the best A/C units can be a little unsightly. The most efficient, quietest air conditioner still requires an outdoor condenser to work, and these tend to be rather large, utilitarian boxes that can really mar the appearance of your flower beds and landscaping. But you don’t have to look at that ugly A/C condenser all summer long, or ever really, unless it needs a tune-up. Here are seven safe, stylish ways to hide an A/C unit.

1. Plant Shrubs Around It
Yes, you can plant shrubs around your A/C condenser, but they should be at least two or three feet away, otherwise they might restrict the flow of air into the condenser or clog it with fallen leaves and branches. Choose tall shrubs that will grow up enough to hide your A/C unit. You may want to shape them, too.

2. Put a Fence Around It
Plenty of homeowners choose to hide an A/C unit with a fence of some kind. You have several options for fencing around an A/C condenser. As long as the fencing allows air to flow freely around the unit, it should be fine. As with the shrubs — or anything else you put around your A/C condenser — keep about two feet of empty air around the unit.

Some fencing choices for hiding your A/C include a latticework fence, which you can decorate with paint and hang with flower pots or birdhouses. Some homeowners choose a picket fence or repurpose old window shutters into a shabby-chic screen. If you’re short on time or just not that into DIYing, you can buy a ready-made patio privacy screen to place around your A/C unit.

3. Cover It with a Nice Wooden Box
One really attractive option for hiding an A/C unit is to cover it with a nice, well-ventilated wooden box. Choose a long-lasting wood like cedar or redwood, and construct the box with slats or louvers so that plenty of air can flow through. Build the box with a removable top so that your HVAC technician can still access the unit for A/C tune ups.

4. Place a Trellis Around It
A nice iron trellis can provide a stylish cover for your eyesore A/C, especially when you train vining flowers to grow up over it. Choose perennials like trumpet vine, wisteria, climbing hydrangea, or climbing roses, or easy-to-grow annuals like moonflower, black-eyed Susan, or morning glory.

5. Turn It into a Mini Tool Shed
Need a place to store your garden tools? Don’t have much room for a shed?  Add a small tool storage compartment in a pyramid shape on top of your A/C cover. Just make sure that the tools don’t interfere with the ventilation your A/C needs and that your technician can still access the unit.

6. Build a Ventilated Structure Around It
If you have the room and the inclination, it might be easier to build a large shed surrounding the A/C unit with extra room for tools and other storage. Build slatted or louvered walls to allow ventilation for your A/C unit. Build it large enough to hide your lawnmower, pool stuff and other eyesores.

7. Plant a Vertical Garden Around It
Vertical gardens are a great way to grow herbs, strawberries or salad greens in a limited space. If you’re more interested in decorative gardening, vertical plantings are also an attractive way to arrange succulents, vining plants or flowers.

Build a vertical garden around your A/C unit using upcycled wooden pallets or wooden crates. Grab some lumber and build your own custom vertical gardening containers. For extra height, add some flower boxes to the top. Allow vining plants room to hang down and shield your A/C unit from view or choose tall, vibrant flowers that will fill in the gaps.