The outside portion of your HVAC system is necessary for the performance of the system. It houses the condenser, compressor, cooling fins, tubes and a fan. It is where heat is dispersed to the atmosphere.
However, the very common square cover sitting outside is not often thought of as an architectural achievement. Here are some ways to enhance the aesthetic appeal of your outside unit.
There are two things to think about when you are creating something to cover or hide the outside unit. You will want to purchase or build something that allows technicians to freely and comfortably work on it should maintenance or repair become necessary. You will also want to install something that does not impede or block adequate air flow to and from the unit.
Otherwise, the space is yours to do with as you will.
Lattice is often made from 1×2 lumber and has enough space between the slats to allow air to flow freely. It is inexpensive and can be found at many hardware and big box stores. Consider painting or using polyurethane to increase its life. You might want to plant some vines in the ground that will eventually fill in and surround the lattice making it even more appealing.
Garden stores sell beautiful and large pots as tall as 5ft. You can also look at purchasing plastic or cement encasements that are used for planting small trees. These large containers will hold plants and small trees that will hide your outside unit when placed strategically.
Pallets can be found for free in any classified section of newspapers and Craigslist for your area. Many times, folks just want to get rid of them if you will haul them off. They are versatile and can be connected in creative ways using the correct hardware. They can be upgraded by painting or staining them to match the outside of your home. Items can be hung on them such as solar lights and the wood from the pallet could be recycled into planter boxes along the top. Placing a pallet as a roof would also decrease the amount of dirt and debris entering the outside unit.
This type of screen can be built or purchased in many styles and colors. Purchase 2 or 3 and arrange them as you like. They can come as plastic, metal, or treated lumber for outside use. Anchor them by attaching the legs to stakes driven in the ground.
This type of screen can be made from attaching pieces of broken plates, stained glass, mirrors or anything you want to repurpose. Designs can be made with paper, cloth, metal, tubing, etc. You will want to place them a few feet away from your outside unit to allow for air currents.
2 x 4 Fencing
You can cut new or recycled 2×4 wood into the correct length and width to hide the outside unit. This could also be enhanced by staining, painting, or planting vines.
A garden trellis can be made of metal, plastics or wood. They come in many sizes and designs to fit your situation. Vines, moss, lighting, and various flowers may be added to enhance the presentation.
Do you have some old shutters in the garage or work shed? Sand them down, paint or stain them and repurpose them by adding them to a frame around your outside unit.
Bamboo is one of the most versatile and strong, natural materials to build a wall or any structure with. It lasts a long time and can be designed into a myriad of things. It can be as simple as lashing lengths of bamboo together with twine to create a barrier around the outside unit.
You could build a picket fence around the unit and place a birdhouse nearby. Stain or paint the wood to match.
Find some old barrels and place them around the outside unit. They can be stained and painted. If they came with old metal holding them together, all the better. Shine them up or paint the metal a different color than the wood. They are also easy to roll aside if work is to be done.