Asked on Aug 25, 2013

How to hide a residential transformer and telephone cable tower!

by Genny
this is the far back corner of my back yard....try as I might, I cannot figure out a way to hide this telephone tower that holds everyone's telephone lines into my yard! I have tried several different ways to hide the transformer, as you can see - those are Pineapple Guava trees I have trimmed in different ways over the last ten years. I am clueless on that southwestern bell tower though - no clue what to do with it, and it bugs me more and more each year! Anyone have any suggestions?
  20 answers
  • Lynn5280 Lynn5280 on Aug 25, 2013
    I wonder if Confederate Jasmine would work..... It is a climbing vine.... has flowers and smells divine when blooming..
  • Z Z on Aug 25, 2013
    You did well disguising the transformer. As for the telephone tower thingy I'd just place a bench in front of it.
  • Jill Klein Jill Klein on Aug 26, 2013
    I agree with Becky on the transformer. Maybe you can put a cute "crafty" sign in front of the pole. Even painting it green would help!!
  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Aug 26, 2013
    Oh No! What a mess you have to deal with. Since you do not want to be digging around cables in the ground, have you considered adding a few more stones and sitting a bench in front of this pole?
  • I would build a box that would slide over the top of the box and then put a really cool looking birdhouse condo and then put a really cute sign that has the phone co name on it and directions for removal and other cute signs. As for the telephone transformer, I believe you are not to plant anywhere near it. So I would find 3 -5 shutters or something that you can make a screen no more than 3-5 tall and decorate to suit your style with jewels, suns, birdhouses, whatever makes your heart sing. PUtting those stepping stones there brings your eye there so you may want to rethink your design. Here is another idea and it could easily work for you~make planters (I have attached pics) which you could make out of pre made fence and cut the 8' section and make 2-4' sections and v them in front of the big ugly box. I built a planter box on the front of them deep enough to put pots in them.
  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Aug 26, 2013
    You've done a great job training the feijoa. I like C Renee's idea of a "sleeve" that turns the box into a post for a birdhouse or feeder.
  • I have a similar deal with our well head. I put a twig tower over it, which of course can be removed if need be, and grow tall annuals around it. Nothing too permanent as it has to be accessible.
  • Mary Mary on Aug 26, 2013
    have you thougt about calling the phone company and asking if they could move it a couple of feet tword the fence. Although they might charge you. Just a thought.
    • Trisha Martin Trisha Martin on Mar 10, 2014
      @Mary I agree, hate to advise you to do this. But knock it over a few times and they will move it. LOL
  • Sia@South 47th Sia@South 47th on Aug 26, 2013
    I'd use paint to just 'transform' *pun intended*, it into a really funky yard art piece. Or maybe stencil it to look like a British Phone Booth. Something funky cool like that. xox
    • See 2 previous
    • Z Z on Aug 27, 2013
      I just called our local power company and found out a whole lot of useful info on this. My first thought when I saw the trees around the transformer box was that it was a no no, but didn't say because I wasn't sure. I'll start another reply to fill you and other in.
  • JanB JanB on Aug 26, 2013
    Easy. Just have Home Depot cut some 1"x6" cedar boards to the right height and build a box to slip over the top it, then add a nice planter, feeder, bath, or gazing ball on top. Move the stepping stones out to enlarge the area and incorporate the new feature :)
  • Merri Jo Merri Jo on Aug 27, 2013
    a DIY "slipcover" box would be perfect--there are several catalog websites that sell plastic "rock" forms for this purpose & they are overpriced & not very much better to look at than the box itself. *there is a sign on our utilities that states it is illegal to alter them, so I wouldn't paint directly on it!
  • Janice M Janice M on Aug 27, 2013
    Put a dish on top of it to use as a birdbath.....I like JanB's idea. Not costly and will look great!
  • MaryAnn B MaryAnn B on Aug 27, 2013
    I have the same set up in my yard. I made a decorative white picket fence to surround the transformer, and painted the telephone box with flowers. I also painted a large sunflower on the top of the electrical box. I like the idea of making a wooden sleeve for the telephone box and placing a bird house on top.
  • Crystal Prater Crystal Prater on Aug 27, 2013
    I had one in my backyard where we used to live and I put a wishing well over it.
  • Z Z on Aug 27, 2013
    SAFETY REGULATIONS & TRANSFORMER BOXES. I just called our local power company to find out what the regulations are and why they are important. Here's what I found out. As much as we all hate to see transformer boxes in our yards it's important to think of the safety of our local power company linemen and firemen before planting, painting or covering them with boxes. The later can cause heat build up which in turn can cause a fire or power outage.The original colors tell these brave men and women what each box is for. They also need access to them not only incase of a power outage but during a fire to shut off power to the affected area to help keep any fires from spreading. The man I spoke to said the local easement is usually at least five feet for small rooted plantings such as flowers. He also reminded me to call the dig hotline because there may be other lines that could be cut. This is a FREE service that should be called before any digging around your home is done. One must also understand that if the workers need access during a power outage or fire that these plantings may be destroyed in the process. Though I was told our local men try to carefully remove them when doing maintenance work, in an emergency they may not have the time to do so. He suggested if one feels they need to hide their boxes to (at most) place a border fence that's stakes go just a few inches into the ground and then add flowers with small root systems.\ He highly recommended that you call your local power company for their regulations and the local dig hotline first though.
  • Linda Smith Linda Smith on Aug 27, 2013
    Is it possible to pull some of your paver stones forward to enclose it inside the bed? Then you could plant tall flowers in front of the tower.
  • Becky P Becky P on Aug 27, 2013
    just out of curiosity, how far into the yard from your property line is it? We had one at our new (old) house that was 13 feet in from the property line. Since it was too far in than it was supposed to be (which I believe was 10 ft, here) the power company was required to move it for free. We needed it moved because that was where we were putting the above ground pool. Those boys earned their keep that day, because those lines were deep.
  • Irish53 Irish53 on Aug 28, 2013
    yes a moveable fence seems like the best idea. It can be painted something outrageous to make the corner positive instead thinking of the corner as an eyesore.
  • Tina H Tina H on Aug 28, 2013
    We've tried to come up with something to cover a similar 'eyesore'. A moveable fence enclosing either one of those (transformer and tower) that is made of lattice or some other similar material would allow air flow to prevent any overheating, and can be painted or decorated in any way to make it attractive yard art. Also, other 'moveable' items (bird baths, wagons, etc) that could be filled with flowers would add appeal and incorporate the fence idea into a nice corner:)
  • Doug Lominac Doug Lominac on Jun 13, 2015
    The small utility tower can be covered with a birdhouse or birdfeeder. A few ways to do this. Get qty 2, 1"x6' boards. Cut the 6' boards in half (3ft lengths). Screw them together to create a rectangular box - 6'x6"x6". Attach a handle to each side. Attach a birdhouse or feeder to the top. Stain the unfinished wood or, if using pre-treated wood, wait a month before staining. Slide the whole thing over top of the utility pole. The other way is to use lattice with 2"x2"x6 wood poles, cut them in half. Trim the lattice to size and attach to the poles, then connect feeder or birdhouse to the top. Stain.