How to Hide an Air Conditioner Unit

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An air conditioner unit can be an unsightly fixture on the outside of a home. Since it would not usually be practical to move the unit, hiding it with something more visually appealing can improve the home's curb appeal. Consider many options based on your personal preference, ability and cost. Two common options are using only vegetation, such as shrubs or tall grasses, or using a lattice screen. You can combine these options if you like.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Rake
  • Plants (bushes, tall grass, etc)
  • Wood lattice
  • 4x4 posts
  • Saw
  • Post level
  • 1-inch screws or nails
  • Screwdriver or hammer

Using Vegetation

  • Decide what type of plants to use. Bushes, shrubs or even tall grasses can effectively hide the air conditioner unit from view. Pick something that will grow tall enough to block the view but that can also have room to grow in the space you have available. You might also consider adding smaller plants, such as flowers or ground cover, in front of the taller vegetation to provide more interest.

  • Prepare the soil. Using a shovel and rake, remove the existing grass and turn the soil to a depth of about six inches. Be sure to break up the dirt to allow the plants to grow more easily. The size of the area to prepare will depend on the types of plants chosen.

  • Place the new plants. Dig a hole for each plant, place it in the ground just to the top of the root ball and fill in around it with loose soil. Pack gently to keep the plant from moving. Once all the plants are in place, water generously.

Using a Lattice Screen

  • Measure the dimensions. Using a tape measure, measure each side of the air conditioner unit. You will want to leave at least 18 inches between the unit and the lattice to allow for access. Depending on which directions you want to hide the unit from, you can either build a two- or three-sided structure. Mark the locations for the corner posts: three for two-sided or four for three-sided. If building a three-sided structure, leave at least 18 to 24 inches on one side between the post and the building for access.

  • Set the posts. Dig a hole for each post at the measured location, and place it in the ground. The post should extend about one-fourth of it's height into the ground. Make sure the posts are level and plumb and in a straight line with each other. Also make sure the tops are at the same height so the lattice will fit properly. Cut the posts if necessary so they are the proper height. Tightly pack the dirt around each post so it is stable.

  • Install the lattice panels. Measure and cut the lattice panels to fit the posts. Attach them with screws or nails at even intervals of 12 to 18 inches.

Tips & Warnings

  • Be sure to leave space around the air conditioner to allow for access if maintenance is required. Choose types of plants that are well suited to your region and the amount of shade where they will be placed.
  • Working with power tools can be dangerous; be sure to follow all safety precautions for the equipment. Check with local building codes and homeowner's association regulations.

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