We aren’t afraid to admit it – the outdoor AC unit isn’t the most attractive household appliance on the market. Luckily, there are ways to make your outdoor space more pleasing without compromising the integrity of your HVAC system, but don’t make these mistakes when landscaping your yard.

#1: Planting Shrubbery and Trees Too Close to the Unit

Putting a plant or a tree too close to an air conditioner may have long-term effects on the condition of your unit. Even if your plants are currently not large, in a few seasons they could be encroaching on the foundation of the appliance with root systems, dropping leaves into the fan, or disturbing the compressor. Leaves and moisture causes all types of problems with air conditioners in the long term. No matter what you do, make sure you leave a 2 foot clearance all the way around to allow both space for your unit to operate and a clear path for your technician to reach it.

#2 Leaving Your AC Too Exposed

There is a benefit to protecting your air conditioning unit with plant life and fencing. Rather than exposing it to the elements on the side of the house, a trellis or screen and some hedges can extend its lifetime. This serves as a windbreak from high winds and rainfall. In places like Georgia, try adding evergreens like cedar, spruce, or cypress that don’t lose their leaves. Also, shading your equipment can help protect it from the heat so it runs more efficiently and reduces your energy bills.

#3 Not Considering the Irrigation of the Land

The way your land is graded and naturally irrigated matters when it comes to the lifetime of your air conditioner. If you add gravel, boulders, rocks, and stones around the AC, the unit has drought-resistant landscaping protecting it. No plants around the unit means you won’t risk grass, weeds, sand, and dirt clogging your system.

#4 Starting Without a Plan

The right landscaping plan will complement your landscaping while also protecting your foundation, plumbing, decking, and AC unit. Start with a plan to extend the lifetime of your unit while also sprucing up your outdoor space.

Choose Your Outdoor Updates Carefully

As with all outdoor updates, you cannot make changes to landscaping without considering the structure and function of your home AC equipment. Don’t ignore the value of this essential system in the way your home functions! The right plants and landscaping can help you get the most life out of your system AND help you create a beautiful backyard.