Clear the Immediate Area
Landscaping should begin from at least 2-3 feet away from your AC unit. This space will give the unit the room it needs for good airflow and allow you to ensure cleanliness. Good airflow will allow your AC unit to run more energy efficiently, suffer fewer breakdowns and preserve its lifespan. Having this clear space will also make maintenance and repair work more accessible for your technician to perform when the time comes.
If you do not feel ready to commit to certain plants or trees around this area, you can opt for potted plants. Pots come in many shapes and sizes that can even accommodate dwarf trees. This will accord you flexibility in changing how this area is covered up while allowing you more opportunity to play around with the aesthetics of your landscaping. The pots can be made of various materials and colors and even printed with patterns or images. Another upside to this option is that you can encircle the unit with potted plants to create the desired look. Whenever your unit needs servicing or repair, it is simple to move the potted plants aside so the AC technician can easily and comfortably work.
When choosing what plants to place near or overlooking your AC unit, ensure they are not a variety that generates a lot of debris. They should not frequently shed their leaves and flower petals that will easily get into and around the condensing unit. Choosing such plants and landscaping will require more effort in cleaning the unit and the area around it. When such debris accumulates, it can also encourage bugs to gather around the AC unit and use it as an entryway into the home.
You may also want to avoid having flowers as part of the landscaping near your AC unit. Flowers will naturally attract pollinators like bees. The bees will, in turn, look for places to build their nests. Condensing units can appear as an attractive location to set up a home close to their food source.
You do not have to use just plants to camouflage your AC unit. You can also use more solid structures like trellises, screens, or lattice boxes. You can have them customized to fit the unit while still allowing for comfortable airflow that keeps the unit working efficiently. To ensure this, have the screen cover just the front and possibly the sides of the unit, leaving the top exposed. They can also be made in various appealing designs that can even accommodate climbing plants. Using a screen and climbing plants can help make the atmosphere around the AC unit much cooler and promote the machine’s ability to work efficiently. The screening coverage can also help prevent debris from surrounding foliage from making its way near the unit.
If your AC unit is not already in a shady area, consider adding plants around that area that will help provide shade. The more exposed the unit is to heat-producing sunlight, the harder it will work, resulting in faster wear and tear and more energy consumption. It will run more optimally when kept in a shaded area, so consider landscaping options that will help with this. Choose tall plants and bushes or install a shade sail or window awning over this area.
Creating a cool environment in the garden space where your unit sits can help even more than just shading the unit. This will mean investing more in plants, trees, and bushes that promote a cooler atmosphere. Having more foliage will also reduce the level of dust and wind that your AC has to endure, meaning less dirt in your unit equals more efficient operation.
Consider a gravel garden if you do not mind having an exposed AC unit and would instead consider creating a more attractive and low-maintenance area around it. You can have the area around the unit covered in gravel or colored pebbles. This will help reduce the problem of weeds growing out of the ground and releasing seeds that get into the unit. It can also reduce dust levels around the area. Consider applying mulch to any exposed ground in your garden, which will also help keep dust levels down.
Call a professional if you have any doubts or concerns about the landscaping ideas you are looking to adopt around your AC unit. An HVAC technician can verify if the landscaping options you are considering will be safe for the equipment and propose other precautionary measures to ensure you do not need to worry about harming your AC equipment.