screening utility boxes

jasper_60103(z4 MN)April 19, 2006

My neighbor and I were thinking about putting some shrubs in front of some utility boxes in our front yard, (i.e. telephone, cable, electric).

I would build a bed as to not have to dig and risk hitting a line.

I'm having second thoughts now. Would this pose an access problem for the service techs? I guess the utility co. would say "Don't do it!".

But does anyone have experience doing this? Did you run into any problems or get any complaints?



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amateur_expert(z6 MD)

When I moved into my house, there was a HUGE holly bush virtually covering one side of the electrical box and a Pyracanthus on the other. The electrical company needed to do some updating and they left a little card on my door *asking permission* to cut away the overgrowth. I guess if I had said no, they would have gotten a city order to make me do it. But I let them do it since I had to remove the holly anyway. They only cut away what they needed to but didn't really care how it looked when they were done.

So, my advice would be: don't plant anything rare or expensive and just check with your electric company and the city first. Everyone plants around their utility boxes here but in your area it might be different. And your electric company might not be as considerate as ours.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2006 at 10:29AM
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We are mandated to have a 3 foot clearance around our utility boxes ... not that everyone does that.

But I have planted (shrubs) beyond the 3 feet ... and have achieved the effect that I wanted (of obscuring the view of the boxes).

Now I don't have the really big boxes I've seen ... say 3'X 3'X 3', ... but it seems that you might be able to screen them with pyramidal conifers ... like Arborvitae.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2006 at 11:57AM
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jasper_60103(z4 MN)

Yeah, the box I have is secondary, not the big transformer one. Non the less, I still have 3 boxes, (telephone, cable and electric) all in a row.

I just spoke with the electric co.
And they confirmed what you stated. They require 3' clearance all around. Guess I'm out of luck or risk loosing my shrub(s) if something goes wrong.

I noticed most my neighbors do comply. Also, they probably don't want to haul in extra dirt to buildup a plant bed.



    Bookmark   April 19, 2006 at 12:47PM
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yankee_in_va(z7 VA)

How about planting something like pampas grass or some other ornamental grass? That's what I did to screen out my boxes. They are cheap, and if they have to be thoroughly cut back, it can be easily done and probably won't hurt the plant.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2006 at 12:53PM
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jasper_60103(z4 MN)

Thats an excellent idea. thanks!

    Bookmark   April 19, 2006 at 1:09PM
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Be sure to have the utilities come out and mark where their underground lines are.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2006 at 4:13PM
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