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How To Landscape Around Your AC?

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In the world of landscaping, big metal boxes like an air conditioner can be difficult to work around. After all, they aren’t exactly the most attractive addition to your yard.

But that doesn’t mean you have to avoid planting anything near it.

With careful consideration, you can select plants and flowers that will not only enhance the look of your yard but also complement the air conditioning.

Managing the greeneries around your air conditioner is a great way to hide it from view while allowing adequate airflow. However, there are certain measures you should take to ensure that your AC unit is not obstructed.

Here are some HVAC landscaping tips from our Sunset Heating and Cooling experts you can use to properly plan your landscaping around your outdoor HVAC unit.

The Right Way to Landscape Around Your AC Unit

When landscaping around your AC unit, there are a few key points to consider.

For example, you’ll want to ensure there is at least two to three feet of clear space around the condensing unit itself. You should also ensure that the condensing unit has at least five to six feet of clearance above it for proper airflow.

Let's take a closer look at the different ways you can create landscaping around your AC unit:

Shade Your Yard Not Your Unit

Shading the condensing unit is not really effective when it comes to cooling down an AC system. However, creating a micro-climate in your yard can help regulate the temperature and save you money in energy costs.

Consider planting trees or tall shrubs such as evergreens or oaks to block out direct sunlight and create shade for your entire backyard. This will keep things cooler so that when you do need to run your air conditioning system it won’t have to work as hard.

This can save you a ton of money in the long run.

Use Windbreaks Around Your Air Conditioning Unit

Windbreaks are also a great way to protect against severe weather conditions, just make sure they’re planted firmly in place.

We recommend using the following evergreen plants when creating windbreaks for your outdoor unit:

  • Cypress
  • Spruce
  • Cedar
  • Boxwood

If you’re looking for something less permanent than a hedge or row of trees, large potted plants can be an excellent alternative.

This is especially true if you live in an area where strong winds are common. Planting sturdy trees or shrubs near your home can also help reduce wind damage during storms by providing protection against strong gusts of wind.

It can also protect your air conditioner from direct sunlight.

Space Plants Appropriately

When planting around an AC system, make sure all plants are kept far enough away from any moving parts like fans or motors so they don’t get damaged over time.

Additionally, plants with thorns or spiny leaves should never be planted near any exposed wiring as they can act as conductors and cause electrical problems down the line.

We recommend keeping all plants at least one foot away from any exposed wiring or moving parts for safety.

Try a Low-Maintenance Gravel Garden

Gravel gardens are an excellent option for homeowners looking to reduce the amount of labor or are going for a more minimalistic look.

Once your AC unit is elevated onto a level cement platform, you can easily implement a gravel garden that offers great aesthetic appeal while still hiding the system from sight.

Additionally, adding mulched plant beds around the edges of the plot will give your garden more dimension and life. Be prepared to dedicate some time and effort into setting up your garden if you decide to go through with it.

This effort will be worth it when you’ll no longer need to worry about mowing grass or watering your plots to keep your outdoor AC unit from being an eyesore.

Choose Plants Wisely

Landscaping around your HVAC unit is a great way to improve the look of your home while keeping it in top condition. Still, when selecting plants, it is important to choose wisely.

You want to avoid undesirable plants that shed debris or can grow too close to the HVAC unit. Maintaining at least three feet of space can help ensure proper air flow and that the HVAC technician has adequate access to your air conditioner.

Additionally, look for something that will not require excessive maintenance when conditions change throughout the seasons. Planning ahead may sound tedious but will save you a lot of trouble in the long run by keeping equipment clear and maintaining efficient performance.

Have a Strategy

When planning the landscape design around your AC unit, start by planting shrubs or trees of equal height on both sides of the unit.

This will create a symmetrical look and also provide an even amount of shade on either side of the unit. Make sure to avoid planting anything taller than the AC itself; otherwise, it will block airflow and reduce efficiency.

Another important factor to consider is leaving a gap between your plants and the AC unit. It’s recommended that you leave at least 1 foot between foliage and any part of the air conditioner itself– this includes any outdoor coils or covers as well as any space between vents or grills.

That one-foot gap will minimize indoor humidity levels and maximize energy efficiency in cooling your home during peak summer months.

Things to Consider When Choosing Plants

There are several things you need to consider when choosing plants to plant around your air conditioner. Here's a short but comprehensive list of things homeowners should know if they want to landscape around their HVAC units:

Growth Rate and Maturity Size

When selecting a plant, flower, or shrub for around your air conditioner unit, consider its growth rate and maturity size. Select plants that don’t grow too quickly or get too big because it may interfere with maintenance and damage the air conditioner unit itself. This is especially important if your unit is located in a side yard where there isn’t much room for other landscaping.

Also consider how much space you have available. If you have a small area, choose plants with smaller root that won’t take up too much space in your garden bed or planter box.

Succulents and Cacti

Many homeowners opt for succulents or cacti when landscaping around their air conditioner units. They come in a variety of attractive colors and they love the warmth that comes from the AC.

Their drought resistance prevents them from being damaged by the heat from the air conditioner as well as makes them low-maintenance since you don’t have to water them often.

Plus, since these species are native to desert climates, they don’t require much water at all.

Bees, Wasps, Leaves, and Thorns

When landscaping around an air conditioner, it is important to avoid plants and flowers that attract bees and wasps. These pests will nest in your HVAC system and sting anyone who walks by. Additionally, avoid plants with sharp leaves or thorns such as roses or holly because they can make it uncomfortable for technicians doing maintenance on the unit.

It may also pose a hazard should someone walk near them while tending to something else in their backyard (for example, mowing).

Planning Your Landscape Design Strategically

Landscaping around an air conditioning unit doesn't have to be difficult and doesn't mean settling for an unattractive space in your backyard.

By carefully considering factors such as growth, maturity, and whether or not certain plants attract bees/wasps/thorns/sharp leaves when selecting what types of flora you want to add to near your air conditioner can ensure that your landscape looks great without risking damage to either itself or those working on it

At Sunset Heating and Cooling, we understand that managing proper landscaping around an AC unit is more complicated than simply planting some flowers in a plot.

There are a lot of considerations to make when creating a beautiful yet functional backyard. We recommend consulting with an experienced landscaper who understands how important proper airflow is for an efficient cooling system.

They can help advise on which plants are best for providing shade without blocking airflow, as well as how many plants you should consider. This way, dirt does not accumulate near the unit itself over time.

Professional and Reliable HVAC Repair and Maintenance Services

With proper planning, beautiful landscape designs around an air conditioning unit can be done without compromising its performance or energy efficiency.

We might not be able to create landscapes around your air conditioner, there are other ways our professional technicians can help.

Sunset Heating and Cooling provide complete HVAC services for residential homes throughout Portland, OR. Our experts can help homeowners plan their landscaping strategically so they can enjoy their outdoor living spaces while also keeping their air conditioners running efficiently all year round.

We have other services such as AC cleaning and AC maintenance for your convenience and ease. Contact us today to learn more about our services.

Call (503) 500-5866 Today

We look forward to working with you!

What Our Clients Say

Sunset went out of their way to help with my project and David was amazing. Great job and look forward to future projects.

-Todd T.

Roman did an awesome job. I had the trifecta, new AC unit ,furnace and hot water heater. Courteous, and competent service. I highly recommend Sunset Heating & Cooling.

-Charles E.

Eduardo provided excellent service when he repaired our AC. I felt his effort was over and above expected. Polite and professional at all times. Good job!

-William G.

Caring, professional and helpful. Thanks for making things happen quickly and getting my Dear friend's heating back up and running in such a quick manner. You went above and beyond for a family in need and that is very much appreciated. Thanks from the whole group!

-Kristina K.

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