Your HVAC condenser unit outside has the essential job of removing heat from the inside of your home. Unfortunately, such an important job does not always mean that the unit is aesthetically pleasing. There are many ways that you can beautify around your unit while allowing it to do its job.
Planting hedges or some form of shrubbery will provide cover for the outside of the unit while allowing adequate airflow. It is recommended that you keep a 3′ access clearing on the side of the service panel. This will allow for the ability to get into the unit during regular maintenance and servicing. All other sides of the unit should be allowed at least 18″ to 20″ of airflow room. To aid in that space, it is often recommended that you border your unit and fill around it with some form of porous material, such as gravel or lava stone. This allows for rainwater and excess moisture to be pulled away from the unit and the electrical components. Hedges, such as boxwoods or hollies are easily maintained with a trim a few times a year. They also shed very few leaves, so there is minimal clean up around the unit itself. Another idea would be to plant bunched grasses such as fountain grass around the unit. These provide a wispy aesthetic while maintaining proper airflow. Herbs also make great plants to landscape around your condenser unit. Rosemary and Sage both grow into tall shrubs that can be easily trimmed. They also have the added benefit of releasing a scent when brushed up against.
Fence It In
Building a fence around your condenser unit is another way to blend it into the landscaping of your home. Fence panels can be shortened and placed around the unit. It is recommended that you aim for horizontal cross ties versus vertical ones with one inch spacing between the planks. Pallets make a good substitute for fence panels and they are easily removable, in the event that you have to replace your unit. You can also use wooden lattice around the area and camouflage it with climbing vines. Good plants recommended for this area are Morning Glories, Clematis, or Butterfly Vine. Not only will your condenser blend into your home, but you will inviting beneficial insects into your garden area.
Blending Your HVAC Condenser
You can also build a faux brick or stone wall to blend in with your home. When planning it, make certain that you attach it to some form of removable paneling or fencing, so that the condenser can be serviced when needed. Faux stone is lighter than regular stone so it is made to adhere upright to thick sheets of plywood. Aim for a stone or brick that is commonly used outdoors, as well as a waterproof adhesive. Climbing plants can also be placed around the faux wall to blend it into the environment. If you do not want to commit to climbing vines, you could also plant shrubs and climbers in pots. These pots can be moved into and out of place when needed. They can also be changed throughout the season, constantly providing color and dramatic effect.
Hiding your HVAC condenser unit does not have to be a chore. With a little brainstorming and some preventative measures, you can blend it into the landscape and still allow it to provide your home with its HVAC needs.