A Rustic Hideaway for That Ugly Heating/Air Conditioning Unit!

3 Materials
1 Hour

We have a really pretty yard, thanks to lots of hard work from the previous owners. But there is one BIG eyesore they left: the heating/ air conditioning unit! I have seen folks build a few different things to help cover these up, but I am always concerned about doing a full enclosure, even if you leave "air holes". So we opted to create a trellis that just sets in front of the unit, and will not obstruct any air flow. Here's how we did it!

Measure your Unit

Ours is pretty big, and definitely an eyesore -- am I right?! Here is what it looked like "before". We took measurements, and got to work designing something out of materials that we already had on hand.

Find Your Materials

I had several of these old fence boards that I had taken from the house we rented after our fire (our home burned in 2015 in the CA Valley Fire). They were the perfect length! You could use any old wood, or purchase new wood if needed. We decided to use these boards to make a trellis that would sit inside a big watering trough that we already had on hand, and then plant it with a climbing plant. Thebig cost to this project is the watering trough, but you can often find one second hand on Marketplace or Craig's List.

Prepare the Wood

If you are using old wood, you may need to remove nails. We also cut all of our boards to the right length before we started.

Lay out your Wood

We layed out four vertical boards, and then our first horizontal board on top of those. The wood that we used is very rustic and a bit crooked, so we used a level to lay out the boards as best we could.

Attach Your First Board

Once we had the first board where we wanted it, we screwed it down with wood screws. We used the level to help make it as straight as possible.

Continue Attaching Boards

We kept working down the trellis, using the level as we went. We made sure that there was about one board width in between the boards - you will see why in the next step.

Notice that we left the bottom 2 feet free of boards - this was done because the watering trough would cover this section once attached, and also we did not have enough wood to keep going!

Flip Your Trellis Over & Attach Boards to the Other Side

We then flipped the trellis over and placed a board in each of the empty spaces, screwing it down.

That's it!

You will end up with something that looks like this.

Attach to Watering Trough

We used sheet metal screws to attach the trellis to the back of the trough. Then we planted it with a Jasmine. I think it is going to smell lovely when it is blooming and the unit is blowing air to spread the scent!

What do you think? Does it look better? I sure think it does. And it does not obstruct the air flow in any way (with at least 15" of space between the trellis and the unit).

If you make one, please share a photo in comments. I would love to see it. And if you liked this project, please give it a "like" and follow me here on Hometalk and also on Instagram and Facebook - @jagcagdesign. Your comments and enjoyment of my posts keep me coming back to share more ideas!

Happy DIYing....



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Frequently asked questions

Have a question about this project?

  3 questions
  • Michele Michele on Sep 01, 2020

    Can this be easily removed so a HVAC Tech can do any service or seasonal maintenance to the system?

  • KK KK on Sep 02, 2020

    Are you gonna stain it or decorate with greenery or anything? I think it would be a cool veggy garden space with that trough. Good job.

  • Lovesunique Lovesunique on Dec 26, 2020

    I notice the tin flag hanging on your home. Did you make it?


Join the conversation

6 of 31 comments
  • Lovesunique Lovesunique on Sep 24, 2020

    Well, mine is on my roof so can't use your idea to hide it. But, your idea would work well in hiding electrical hookups or tankless water heaters. I do have one suggestion regarding Jasmine. Regular Jasmine gets very woody and hard to manage. Yes it smells wonderful. You can also use Pink Jasmine which also smells wonderful but it doesn't get out of control. I have regular Jasmine and it keeps climbing my trees and I keep cutting it back. I think Tarzan could use the trailers they are so tough! The Pink Jasmine is finer, more delicate.

  • Paulina Maldonado Paulina Maldonado on Sep 01, 2021

    I was told not to put anything in front or beside our A/C with the exception of the covers that come with it. The technician told me that they need air flow. He said that the covers for the A/C even cause little airflow.

    • See 3 previous
    • Ellis Ellis on Sep 02, 2021

      Paulina, I think this is an HVAC/technician matter of opinion, to be honest. I've been told yes and no by various technicians on the exact same screen over the years. And it's only a very open picket fence! It has been many years, and absolutely no repair issues. Maybe you can try something very open, and a good distance away from your unit.