How to Landscape Around an Exterior Air Conditioning Compressor

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Landscaping around an exterior air conditioning compressor beautifies your yard. The compressor is the big boxy unit that circulates refrigerant to cool the house. It releases heat, and must circulate air to work effectively. The main challenge in planting around the AC compressor is to allow enough room for growth to keep enough clearance on all sides of the unit. Plants too close to a compressor can suffer from the heat it gives off -- and reduce the compressor's performance.

Things You'll Need

  • Evergreen plants, such as juniper or bamboo
  • Shovel
  • Planters (optional)
  • Potting soil (optional)
  • Check the visibility of the AC unit from the window, walkways and driveway to see where you need to put in plants to conceal the compressor. Mark the ground around the compressor with a shovel at a distance of at least four feet from the unit. Allow more room if you have plants that grow wide, to leave at least three feet of clearance between the unit and the plants.

  • Mark a 3-foot space on the ground on the least visible side of the compressor if you want plants most of the way around the unit. This will be the space to leave free of plants for accessing the unit for maintenance.

  • Dig along the lines you marked on the ground to a depth at least twice the height of the root ball or pot of the plants. Alternatively, place planters along the line and fill the planters three-quarters of the way full with potting soil.

  • Plant hedge plants or decorative plants in the ground or planters. Space the plants at least 12 inches apart to allow room for growth. Plant bamboo as close together as you want, and it will grow into a living screen. Shovel enough of the removed soil back around the plant roots to fill in the ditch, or add potting soil to within two inches of the top of the planters. Tamp the soil down with both hands. Water the plants right away.

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