Xeriscaping the Area Around Your A/C Unit

May 3, 2016

Xeriscaping is a simple way to beautify the area around your outdoor air conditioner without compromising its function. In some cases, using xeriscape methods can alsoenhance the energy efficiency of your A/C by keeping it cooler. Here are a few tips to help you get started.

Why Xeriscape?
Xeriscaping is a landscaping method geared towards conserving water. However, because it implements durable materials, such as gravel, and low-maintenance plants, it is also an ideal method for landscaping around outdoor features such as your A/C.

Xeriscape Tips

  • Using rocks and gravel - Place river rock or pea gravel around the A/C's concrete slab to keep down weeds and grass and to prevent dirt from blowing into the unit. Make sure the layers of rocks or gravel is level with the slab and extend at least two to three feet out. This helps to ensure the A/C receives sufficient airflow and allows room for regular maintenance and repairs. If you want to make the area more aesthetically pleasing, add a few hardy succulents, such as hens-and-chicks, that grow well in rock gardens.
  • Concealing with plants - Xeriscape plants are not limited to cactus and succulent varieties, although these can be used with beautiful results. However, for concealing your A/C, plant tall, drought-tolerant native grasses, plants or shrubs around the periphery. Make sure to leave three feet of clearance all around for airflow and a gap between plants for easy access to the unit. Plants to consider include the yucca and Little Blue Stem ornamental grass.
  • Creating shade - Your air conditioner will run more efficiently if it is shaded from the hot afternoon sun. Some yucca plants and native bushes or grasses can grow tall enough for this purpose. Alternatively, install lattice or tall fencing on the sun-facing sides of the unit and plant a vertical garden with drought tolerant plants. Remember to leave plenty of clearance between the access panels and the plants to allow your A/C technician to perform cleaning and maintenance.
For more information about xeriscaping and your A/C unit, please contact us at Lozier Heating & Cooling. Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater Des Moines, Iowa area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: "Scott E. Feuer/Shutterstock"