Air conditioners don’t add much to your backyard.

Okay, we’ll just say it: they’re ugly!

The ACs of today may be more efficient than ever, but everyone wants to make them as invisible as possible. Particularly in the summer months when you’re spending time in your backyard with family and friends.

Landscaping around your AC unit is the best way to hide it from view. But there’s a right way and a wrong way to do this. Here are some tips for you to follow when you do.

1. Keep Plants 2-3 Feet Away

There should always be 2-3 feet of clear space when you landscape around your AC unit.

Any closer than this, and airflow will be obstructed. This could result in:

  • Less energy efficiency
  • A shorter system lifespan
  • More repairs

What do all of these things have in common? They’ll cost you more money – and we know you’d rather be spending that money on fun summer activities, not your air conditioner.

You air conditioner maintenance company will thank you too: with all that space, it’ll be easy to make repairs.

Your air conditioner should not only have plenty of space, but be raised on a level platform for maximum performance. Photo credit:

2. Make Sure There’s Plenty of Shade

You always feel cooler when you’re in the shade. So does your air conditioner.

Shading the condenser itself is largely ineffective. And if there isn’t at least 5-6 feet of clearance above the unit, airflow will become restricted. That’s not good for you or your AC.

What you need is shade for your whole yard. This will create a micro-climate that is cooler than a yard bathed in direct sunlight.

The slightly cooler micro-climate will help your air conditioner perform more efficiently.

We recommend using tall trees, shrubs and hedges to achieve this level of shade. Since leaves, dirt, and grasses can clog up the condenser, you’ll have to be on top of raking and trimming. But even that won’t be so bad in the shade.

With lots of trees to filter out direct sunlight, your entire summer could be a little cooler. Photo credit:

Tip: This might sound counterproductive, but a tree that sheds its leaves in the fall might be the best option for your house. In the summer, it provides tons of shade. In the winter, it will allow sunlight to reach your house, which will help warm it up. That means using your furnace less during peak daytime hours. Thanks to one or two trees, you could get savings all year round!

3. Create a Windbreak with Evergreen Plants

A windbreak is a great way to protect your air conditioner from severe weather conditions – as long as they’re firmly planted.

When landscaping around your AC unit, we recommend you make your windbreak out of evergreen plants. Examples include:

  • Boxwood
  • Cypress
  • Cedar
  • Spruce

These types of hedges will never lose their leaves, and when properly trimmed, will make an excellent windbreak.

Evergreens are a natural camouflage that also offer protection in bad weather. Photo credit:

Remember: 2-3 feet away at all times – and make sure your AC is accessible from at least one side.

4. Stay Mobile with Large Potted Plants

If you want something a little less permanent than a hedge, large potted plants are an excellent alternative.

They’ll elegantly tuck the condenser out of sight, and can be moved as needed. It also allows you to plant different things each year: the choice is yours!

Long grasses are an excellent option if you landscape around your AC unit with planters. Just remember to keep them trimmed back. Photo credit:

5. Use a Trellis, Screen, or Lattice Cover

You don’t have to go all-plants in your landscaping plan. You have a couple more options to consider.

Trellis: A trellis is a beautiful way to hide your condenser. You can dress them up with vines, or some other type of ornamentation. Just remember: keep anything you grow on your trellis well-tended.

Screens: If you do choose to screen in your air conditioner, you need to make sure that there’s plenty of room for your condenser unit, and that it can be easily accessed through either a door or an open side.

Lattice Box: If screens are a little too utilitarian for you, a lattice box may be the right option. It’s like a combination of a trellis and screen – visually pleasing but no plants to maintain. The important thing to remember is that there shouldn’t be a lid, as that would really interfere with airflow. Again, make sure all space requirements are met and there’s a way to access it.

Whatever you choose, make sure it is sturdy and installed properly – otherwise you could risk damage to your air conditioner. Photo credit: houzz. com

6. Try a Gravel Garden

Want to go completely low (or no) maintenance? A gravel garden is something you’ve got to try.

Your air conditioner will be raised on a level cement platform. Everything else can be gravel. You can even incorporate some mulched plant beds to make it pretty.

It may take a good weekend or two to set up, but trust us: it’s worth it.

The end result is less grass to mow, less weeds to pull, and overall less work to do when it comes to landscaping around your AC unit.

Choose plants that require little upkeep and won’t interfere with your air conditioner. Photo credit:

Keep Both Your Yard and Your Air Conditioner in Top Shape

We can’t help you cut the grass or trim the trees, but we can keep your air conditioner in tip-top shape.

Before you start landscaping, have us come perform your annual maintenance and inspection – and sign up for our premium protection plan while you’re at it!

We’ll catch issues before they become problems. Best of all, it’ll help make your air conditioner as efficient as possible.

Don’t wait until the Toronto summer hits its stride: make your appointment today.

It’s Time for My AC Tune Up