Ideas for Landscaping Around an Outdoor AC
Whether for security or beauty, using plants to hide AC units is a great solution. Here in Corpus Christi, where Tommy Cool Air provides full home cooling service to homeowners and businesses, there are many great landscaping options for doing this.
AC OPERATION: IMPORTANT TIPS FOR NEARBY PLANTS
When using plants to hide AC units, you want to keep plants at least 2 – 3 feet of spacing from the air conditioner.
An air conditioning unit needs some breathing room to do its job. If you put a plant too close to an outdoor unit, you obstruct proper airflow, which can cause problems.
- Your energy efficiency could be negatively affected if plants grow too close to a unit.
- It may not work as long as it was designed to and may be more prone to needing repairs.
- It will not be easily accessible for regular tune-ups or if an AC repair is needed.
Consider getting a potted plant. That way, if the plant grows too large or too close to your unit, you can easily move it rather than having to dig it up and replant further away.
Potted plants still need to be put at least 2-3 feet away from an air conditioner unit.
Do not put a potted plant directly on top of the unit itself.
GOOD PLANTS TO HIDE AC UNITS
Because you need a type of plant that will not cause problems for your nearby AC unit, you want to make sure you are getting the suitable variety.
- Plants that grow upright
Find plants that grow up, not out. Broad plants can grow too close to your unit. Arborvitaes are a good example of plants that grow upright.
- Plants that don’t grow too quickly
Make sure your plant isn’t overtaking your air conditioner as it grows. That can cause airflow problems and keep your AC from operating well or efficiently.
Some plants grow 2 feet each year. A fast-growing plant will quickly encroach upon your unit unless you keep it trimmed regularly.
- Plants that are not prickly
Avoid getting anything with thorns or sharp leaves, like roses or holly. Prickly plants will make it very difficult (or at least painful) for you or a repair technician to service the unit. So while the prickly pear may be a favorite native plant for Texans, keep it well away from your air conditioner.
- Plants that don’t create debris
You don’t want dirt and debris to get into your outdoor AC unit. That can cause many problems, including an air conditioner freezing up. For this reason, azaleas are a bad idea to plant near an AC unit.
- Avoid pollinators
Did you know that AC units can become the home of a bee or wasp nest? You don’t want to encourage that with a pollinating plant that lures them closer to your unit. The mealy sage (aka salvia farinacea) is a Texas native plant that attracts bees, so a bad choice to plant near an AC unit.
- Tall grasses are good options
Whether it’s southwestern bristlegrass, Indiangrass, or big bluestem, you can find a lot of great tall grasses that grow well in Texas to plant near an AC unit. These can get as high as 5 or 6 feet tall.
If you are not concerned about getting tall plants to hide it but simply want to improve the landscaping around an AC, hostas are great ground plants that won’t threaten your air conditioner.
- Make sure that you don’t put mulch too closely around your AC. The coils should never be covered or buried under mulch.
NATIVE TEXAS PLANTS
There are many plants native to our area that would work wonderfully for backyard landscaping.
Lacey oak trees are also native to Texas and grow only about 2 or 3 feet tall. They can handle high heat and drought and create nice shade for an AC unit.
Turk’s cap is a beautiful option for landscaping in south Texas, but it grows quickly. While it can reach heights of 6 feet, it can also spread that wide. So be mindful of how close you plant one of these perennials to your AC unit.
NON-PLANT LANDSCAPING OPTIONS
There are other aesthetic ways to conceal an AC unit in your backyard. If you don’t have a green thumb or simply don’t want plants in that location, consider getting a trellis or lattice box around your unit.
While these can be placed closer to an AC unit than plants, you need to make sure there is still access to the AC. Do not cover up the unit so much that you or an AC repair technician can’t get to it for needed maintenance and repair.
BENEFITS TO HIDING YOUR OUTDOOR AIR CONDITIONING UNIT
Placing plants around your AC can help you hide it as well as make your backyard living space more beautiful. But there are other benefits to adding plants near your AC. Extra plants provide shading to your backyard and your AC unit. Proper placement of plants can provide needed relief from the sun’s heat, which can help your AC perform better.
NEED MORE AIR CONDITIONING HELP OR ADVICE?
Tommy Cool Air has the team of AC repair experts here in Corpus Christi, TX. Our skilled HVAC technicians are trained to service any cooling system.