Blocking out AC units

blakeas(6 OH)May 27, 2014

I just installed a firepit area that is in front of my AC units. I want to plant something right in front of them that will block them out so I don't see them when I am sitting by the firepit. I wanted to do an arborvitae because they work great as hedges but most of them grow too tall and I don't want them blocking my view out the windows. is there a varietal that doesn't grow so tall? I was also thinking boxwoods but getting something 4 foot tall is very expensive!

you can tell from this 1st picture of the AC units are back and to the left.

In this 2nd picture you see my patio which is right next to the firepit area and the AC units are on the left side of the picture. I am making a new grill area so it will block the view from the area on the patio.

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yardvaark

If you try too hard for instant results, you might create an ongoing problem that shows up a little later: the smothering shrub that won't stop outgrowing its bounds. It would be better to pick something that ends up at the right size and be patient. Big leaf Hydrangea or one of the Japanese Spiraeas come to mind. Or a couple of posts in the ground on which span a fence-like lattice structure (or chains) on which Euonymus is trained could also fill the bill. Don't expect plants to "screen" noise from the AC. For that you'd need solid fence panels.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2014 at 10:30AM
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blakeas(6 OH)

Thanks! I just want to block the visual of the AC units. Not sound. When we are utilizing the firepit I do not want to see the AC units

    Bookmark   May 27, 2014 at 11:35AM
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blakeas(6 OH)

Also want something green all year long - the hygrandea will die out during the winter if I am not mistaken

    Bookmark   May 27, 2014 at 2:26PM
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ApprenticeGardener(7b or 8)

Consider using a wooden fence or lattice to block your view of the units, leaving plenty of room around the units for air to flow. They need space around them to dissipate the heat and humidity they are "collecting" from within your home. They also need to be serviced periodically. so that's another factor.

Then plant in front of the fence/lattice. A little extra trouble, but cheaper than replacing a burned-out AC unit or two.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2014 at 2:51PM
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blakeas(6 OH)

Another question - I can hear the AC units pretty clearly from inside the home. Just on the other side of the wall from the AC units is my family room. What can I do between the wall and the AC unit to block the noise?

    Bookmark   May 27, 2014 at 3:06PM
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Olychick

If you don't want a structure, I might look for a low growing, hardy, clumping bamboo (one that won't spread and take over the area). If the a.c. intakes air from that unit, it could provide some nice subtle movement/sound of the rustling that bamboo makes in the wind. It can easily be trimmed to keep below the windows.

See article

Here is a link that might be useful: non invasive bamboo

    Bookmark   May 27, 2014 at 4:01PM
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stolenidentity

I would put a short picket fence (maybe two) that can be moved when access to mechanicals is necessary and can be planted using hanging pots or a planter box with whatever you like in there. Here's an idea reusing old wood:

    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 2:12AM
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blakeas(6 OH)

Would like something pretty to look at - not sure if I like the look of the bamboo. Maybe I can find a temp fence like the above?

Really just wanted a nice tree/shrub to block it in the evergreen variety here for NE ohio (Cleveland)

    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 9:37AM
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duluthinbloomz4

Have you done any evergreen shrub looking at local nurseries - even at the big boxes?

Regarding deciduous vs. evergreen - will you be gathered around the fire pit in the throes of winter looking back at the AC unit?

If suitable for your zone...Dwarf Burford holly (Ilex cornuta Burfordii "Dwarf Burford") - slow growing, more rounded, generally wider than tall. Very prunable, but leaves have a sharp spine. One would do as opposed to a hedge and is evergreen.

Or Anthony Waterer spirea... mine are old and have never grown more than @4' x 4'. Pretty dusty rose flowers. (deciduous)

    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 10:39AM
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blakeas(6 OH)

well - I just don't want to ever really see them - all year. So going with evergreen was the way to go. Since I might have to maneuver around them I didn't want Holly's with their prickers.

I have gone to the big box stores but didn't know where to start - there are so many different shrubs out there. I also didn't want to break the bank either so I was thinking of a slow growing arborvitae would be the way to go? but I am not an expert so I wanted to get opiniions from people here.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 10:54AM
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duluthinbloomz4

Dwarf Globe Arborvitae... (Thuga occidentalis "Rheingold," "Fire Chief," "Golden Globe," "Little Giant") all claim a 4 feet high and wide size. They do grow slowly, easily shearable in ten years or so if necessary.

Our Menard's has a fairly good tree/shrub selection - maybe the Ohio locations do too. I'm a wanderer, plant tag reader. Prices are creeping up; nothing in the tree/shrub/conifer line is really inexpensive anymore.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 11:14AM
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blakeas(6 OH)

Any other dwarf varietals? the little giant is a bit too round for me

    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 12:42PM
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stolenidentity

I think you should take your picture to a local nursery that can provide not only an answer but sell you the shrubs you are seeking. Then you can go home and plant whatever they recommend. Any ideas presented here seem to not be to your liking blakeas. Please show us what you come up with.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 10:57PM
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blakeas(6 OH)

went to a local nursery and they recommended boxwoods - $100 bucks for each:

    Bookmark   May 30, 2014 at 5:59AM
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yardvaark

$100 each!! (choke ... cough!!)

    Bookmark   May 30, 2014 at 10:01AM
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stolenidentity

Wow, those must be designer shrubs! But they do look fine and solve your issue, three was a good choice.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2014 at 9:35PM
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blakeas(6 OH)

OK, so I have fixed the sight lines of my AC units from my patio. Now how do I block some noise from my AC units so I don't hear them as much inside the home?

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 6:01AM
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lazy_gardens

I just want to block the visual of the AC units. Not sound.

Now how do I block some noise from my AC units so I don't hear them as much inside the home?

Ooops ... bad siting by the contractor. They should have been next to a blank wall, not right under windows.

You do it by installing double-paned windows on that side of the house, if you don't already have them. You can also hang "acoustic drapes" (search Google) over those windows to absorb the sound.

Or move the units so they aren't right under a window.

You might be able to build a louvered enclosure with the top louvers aimed away from the house to direct the sound towards the fire pit area :)

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 6:53AM
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blakeas(6 OH)

thx for the reply - already have double pane windows. Interested in a louvered enclosure. what kind of structure did you have in mind? and what materials would I use?

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 8:23AM
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lazy_gardens

Louvered enclosure ... Made of some rot-resistant material ... sides will look like this ... maybe with a solid side toward the house.

Top will be much the same, but with longer louvers aimed away from the building. And removable so you can clean out debris as often as needed.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2014 at 7:34PM
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Olychick

here is an article with some info/ideas (I think they are selling their product). I have no affiliation.

Here is a link that might be useful: quieting air conditioner

    Bookmark   June 14, 2014 at 8:49PM
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