Landscaping around a gas meter

tacsterMarch 22, 2010

Our gas meter is right smack dab in the middle of our front yard. Up until last year there was a large bush that concealed it, but the gas company made us remove it. Now we need to find a simple but attractive way to landscape around it. I really have no idea what to do.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I've seen some kind of equipment in some yards & they used a bit of a hill in front of it with low wall about 12 in. high at most & highest in center going down on both sides to blend in with grass, the small hill is just grass too. You would need the wall high enough to hid the meter but if they drive by to read it from a car or truck that would probably block the reading. Maybe reason you had to remove the shrub! Maybe a shrub on either side of it would make it less obvious.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 2:09AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi, here is a couple of things you can do. Try to use some plant material that is easy for the utility co. to accsess. The problem usually is maintenance for the utility co. If they need to make repairs and check usage, a blocked acsess makes this too much of a challange. There are easy solutions to this. Keep it soft. Keep it easy to get to and don't over crowd the space. With that said I have tried to plant these areas with some grasses, coneflower, sedum, and creeping phlox to name a few. These give you some lift, all season interest, and can take the occasional foot traffic. One thing it won't do is completly cover the ugly boxes. However most people are greatful for something to draw the eye to the bed itself. Hakone grass if it grows in your area is a nice plant to help in the lower area with the more upright perinnials. Also star flower or balloon flower here and there looks great too. Depending on how big the area is just try to keep the planting material to three to five different species or it may become too busy. Pick your favorites and place them how you think you would like to see them. And know that at times they may get foot traffic and that they can take it. Really have some fun with this. Also can you take some of plant material that already exists in your yard and incorperate it into the bed? What ever you do don't plant anything thorny like a rose or barberry. Some junipers also are a thorn in the utility co. sides. The creeping phlox will give you a great spring show but then will give a more grounded evergreen look. Hopefully this will help to draw the eye away from the ugly utility to what the plants will do for you and anyone just walking by. Keep in mind to do the layered look. If you have the space. I don't know the dimentions. I personally do like this look. It has the skirted effect. Helps curb appeal as well. The plants suggested above are great for sunny areas so plant accordingly if it is a shady area. There are great spec. plants for shade as well. Ok, and while I'm at it, and since this is located where it is, can you turn this into an island bed with an ornimental tree and shrubs blending to and from the area?

    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 3:34AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If you are wanting people to "not" see something, then sometimes it doesn't work to try and put something around or beside or in front of the thing you don't want people to look at. They will simply look at it all the more, their brains drawn to trying to figure out why that clump of plants is clustered just there. "Oh, I get it! They're trying to hide that gas meter!"

Not my original thought. It's in the literature about design; it gets spoken about around here by the pros.

But I'm a bit banboozled by the "smack dab" positioning of yours, as you described it. Hope one of those pros chimes in because maybe your situation is one where the only fix is to attempt to hide it.

Where's that Romulan cloaking device when you need it?

What I'm trying to get at is that what you really want to do is to draw the eye away from ... uh ... the middle of your yard.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 11:29AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I probably would explore the possibility of having the meter moved back to the house where it belongs. Would be a bit costly but if feasible it would be worth the money to me if I planned to stay in the house for a number of years. "Welcome to my gas meter. I tried to disguise it", does not excite me as a first impression of my home to visitors.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 3:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


The technical term for what you are taliking about that some of my Harvard GSD friends (OK, they are just acquaintances) have told me that their profs used is "the pubic effect".

    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 9:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mjsee(Zone 7b, NC)

laag---you got a full belly laugh out of me. After the weekend I've had over at the GC that took some doing.

Seriously...I'm praying for Spring to get here in earnest. This packing up of tender stuff and rolling it into the ware house, only to have to unload it again the next morning is for the BIRDS.

Thank you sweetie!

    Bookmark   March 28, 2010 at 3:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I was a landscaper for 11 years and am now a Utility meter reader.
I am confounded by the "feeling" or "need" for people to hide meters! They really are not "ugly". I find it quite Annoying to have to move a bush out of the way or stick my head in the bushes to read your meter! It is totally unnecessary and wrong to cover your meter. Especially in snow or rainy conditions, not to mention the bugs! If it is covered, It means i have to walk into your garden. I dont want to do that. You probably dont want that either , do you? Most people dont like their flowers and bulbs potentially stomped.
I think the best landscaping around a meter is a stone or brick or tiled path directly to the meter! Directly in front of it or leading to it from 3 directions depending on the travel of the typical meter reader. Perhaps a path incorporating also a path to the hose faucet if there is one. Make it a stop along the path. Perhaps some small plants or flowers that arent too high.
Thats right. Not many people consider the path of the meter reader in their landscaping. When they do, believe me, it is greatly appreciated. The meter is part of our connection to the infrastructure and should be incorporated not hidden, but celebrated. Perhaps i go a bit far in my opinion, but really. I dont think so. I think the meter "area" should look like a little shrine. but that is just my opinion. ;-) However,
There is a reason that bushes and trees are not supposed to be blocking the meters. We read them every month. though you probably rarely ever see us. We (I) appreciate the thought people put into their landscaping. We have to walk through every one in the whole neighbor hood. And the idea of moving the meter to the back of the house is utterly silly, totally frivolous. Especially if you have a fenced back yard. The meters being easily seen is a good thing. That means a meter reader spends less time trying to find , read, then leave your property. Less stomping in gardens, less hunting for meters, less annoyance for every one. Less skipped reads too. My main point is that someone provides a service for a few seconds every month to you for an accurate bill. Yes someone actually has to look at that thing every month.
Why make it hard. Who cares what they think? right? Make a path and everything that grows around it is beautiful. A thoughtful garden and a meter in the front is a blessing.
This may seem like a rant about bushes in front of meters,(it is) it just reflects my feelings about it. Some readers will skip a meter if they "cant read" or "Dont want to touch your bushes". I never skip because of bushes, but it still sucks having to stick my head in the bushes in the snow and what not. The idea of a general distribution of plants that wont grow to block the meter is good. Yes no spiny plants please. Thanks.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 1:06AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Maybe i misunderstood some of the postings by nandina. Perhaps nandina didnt mean the back yard but to the house outer wall.
Smack dab in the middle, is like in the middle of the lawn?
i thought of the middle of the front wall of the house.
However any creative island that may even have perimeter that is far enough outside the elbowroom of the meter access and also leaves the ability to walk into the circle without having to displace bushes is good. Perhaps some tall grass like things. though like i said before, if i can see it from your neighbors yard its a good thing.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 1:31AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hotfoot - My thoughts too. it's a gas meter. We all have them.

The utility companies in Phoenix send nastygrams if they can't read the meter from the street or alley with binoculars, and estimate your bill until you fix the problem.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 11:41AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


Here is my $0.05. It is not hard to have a meter relocated to the side of the house within easy access for the reader from the driveway. A licensed local gas contractor can do it quickly and fairly inexpensively. It is just small steel re-piping work. The certified contractor can do the coordinating with the utility company. It is worth it for just the property value increase alone. Aloha

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 11:44AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Landscape design assistance
Hello, Our home is in Connecticut (Zone 6A) and we've...
Help! My new front yard is UGLY! Any ideas appreciated!
Do I keep the stone flower bed edge? I was told it...
Landscape Designer or Landscape Architect?
Can anyone tell me what is the difference? I am considering...
Need landscaping ideas
Hi, we just built this house on a junior acre in zone...
Plantings for Driveway/Walkway Design
We would like to pave the driveway. (I hope I am in...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™