Hide the Eyesores: Solutions for Concealing Necessary Evils in Your Yard

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What You'll Need
Tape measure
Hanging plants

All homes come with the inescapable items that stick out like sore thumbs against the backdrop of a well maintained landscape. These unfortunate eyesores including air conditioning units, trash cans, and gas meters can really tarnish the look of an artfully crafted area. But never fear -- there are plenty of ways to cover up these items and restore your home's exterior to the beauty you desire. With that in mind, there are a lot of options to consider when choosing how to conceal outdoor blemishes.

Assess the Situation

The first thing you will need to do is find out what outdoor objects you want to hide. Common things people choose to conceal include outdoor air conditioner units, trash or recycling cans, gas and electrical meters, well casings, and unsightly outdoor wiring.

Once you determine which objects you want to conceal, you’ll need to take some measurements to find out what kind of materials will work best for the job.

Take Your Measurements

Measuring the object you want to conceal will give you a good idea of how much and what kind of material you will need to use. You'll need to measure the height, width and depth of the object. If it's an air conditioning unit, then make sure you add six inches to the height and 12 inches to the width and depth to prevent blocking proper air flow. Additionally, some items will need to be made accessible for frequent use such as trash cans, and for occasional repairs, as is the case for air conditioning units. For smaller objects, an exact measurement isn’t always necessary. Just keep in mind how tall they are if you are planning on covering them with plants.

Decide on Your Materials

Based on those measurements, it's time to choose the appropriate material to use in hiding the chosen item. The best way to completely conceal larger objects like trash cans and air conditioner units is to use a wooden enclosure. Use the measurements you took to determine how much wood you’ll need.

For smaller objects or things closer to the house, you might want to use shrubs or vines for concealment. With that said, another approach for larger objects is to use plants and flowers as a way of distracting the viewer’s gaze away from the eyesore without concealing it entirely.

Material Option One: Fencing

If you choose to hide the problem object using wood, then there are plenty of options available from lattice board and traditional wood fencing to more decorative wood enclosures. The kind of wood enclosure you choose should be determined by the existing landscape. Additionally, you can always combine lattice board with vines to create a more artfully concealed object. Remember, if you have to dig in the ground to install a fence post, make sure you contact the proper organization in your area to find out if there are any underground wires or piping that might be damaged by digging.

Material Option Two: Shrubs

For objects that don’t have a lot of height or are close to the house, consider using shrubs to conceal them. There are plenty of options to pick from when it comes to shrubs and other plants, from wide and low-based plants to tall and thin ones. Some types of common shrubs include Boxwood, Dwarf Azalea, and Duranta. You can also add some color to the arrangement, which will help break up a long line of shrubs. Remember, the idea is to draw attention away from the object, and nothing does that like brightly colored flowers.

Alternative Options

There are plenty of options for smaller objects, like wiring or gas meters, that don’t include constructing a wood enclosure or planting large shrubs. If you have dangling wires on the outside of the house, consider painting them the same color of the siding to help make them blend in better. For objects that are close to the house and low to the ground, you can add hanging plants that will draw attention upward and away from said eyesores. Lastly, you can conceal things by using decorative items, such as water fountains or wishing wells, that are easy to install and don’t require a lot of upkeep.