How I Build a Box to Conceal the Gas Meter
If you read my post about hiding the utility boxes (HomeTalk post) then you are aware that even though I don't go to the West side of my front yard often (mowing and weeding aside), seeing the utility boxes and gas meter have always bugged me! At least they are painted grey and sorta blend in with the siding, I see them as an eyesore. If you haven't had a chance to read about the Utility Box Privacy Screen, just click here (blog post) and check it out!Like with many projects, this one & the utility box one, were simply a 'want' to, not a 'have' to. But, after finishing the privacy screen, I was excited to build something to cover the gas meter!
Since the gas meter needs easy access, I decided to make this box lightweight and only 3 sided. I didn't have all the supplies on hand for this project like I had for the privacy screen, so the wood and lattice are new. I did buy a gallon of primer after finishing the screen to have on hand and used that on this project. I also had the screws, brads, and tools on hand. I started this project with the lattice so I could determine just what length to cut the corner pieces (legs). I cut the lattice into three equal lengths. They are 31 1/8" x 24". The last time I cut lattice, I used a jigsaw, this time I used the miter saw. I was able to cut about 1/2 of it before turning it over to do the other 1/2. I did need to finagle it a bit to get to the very center of the lattice.
For this project, I decided to measure and cut the wood before painting. I think that takes longer so next time I'm working with wood, I'll go back to painting first. The wood I bought is 1" x 2" for the supports and 2" x 2" & 2" x 3" for the legs.The reason I have 2" x 2" and also 2" x 3" is because the 2" x 3" was a scrap piece and was $1.26 :) I cut two 34" pieces from both sizes. I'll use these for the corner posts. I made them longer than the lattice so I can set them down into the rocks. For the supports, I cut six pieces of the 1" x 2" board.
I applied two coats of primer to the wood after cutting them to length. I applied two coats of primer to the wood after cutting them to length. Since this box will be outdoors, I chose not to sand the wood even though it is really rough in some spots. Once the paint dried, it was time to start the construction. Once the paint dried, it was time to start the construction.
I started assembling the front legs (using the 2" x 2" boards) by attaching a 1" x 2" to the top and close to where the bottom of the lattice would go with 2" brass screws. I used a small drill bit to create a hole before drilling in the screws. Doing this helps prevent the wood from splitting.
Here is what the front leg/support section looked like once the supports were attached.
Once the supports had been attached to the front legs, I used one of the support boards to mark the positioning of where it would go between the front and back legs. I was offsetting the supports but you could use a Kreg to attach them flush with the legs so you could attach the lattice on all 4 sides instead of just to the legs.
After I marked the first support, I decided to clamp the structure together before drilling the remaining spots for the screws.
As you can see in the picture, the side supports are offset. When all the supports were in place and secured with screws, it was time to attach the lattice.
To attach the lattice, I used brads in my nail gun. You can use small finishing nails if you don't own a nail gun. Even though I was attaching the pieces of lattice just to the legs, they are nice and secure.
This view shows the bottom side supports installed below the front support.
When all three sides of the lattice were installed, I covered the brads with a bit of the primer to both hide them and protect them from rusting. I tried to match the lattice on this leg since it is the one visible from the front of the yard.
As you can see, the gas meter is concealed yet accessible.
The cost does not include paint, tools or screws as I had those on hand.This could easily be completed in a day if the weather is warm. It took 2 days here since it was cold and I wanted to make sure the paint was dry.
- Apply 2-3 coats of paint to all wood pieces
- Cut wood to desired length
- 2" x 3" - cut two 34" pieces for the front legs2" x 2" - cut two 34" pieces for the back legs, three 34" pieces for the cross bars
- Cut vinyl lattice into 3 equal sections
- Create structure by attaching 2" x 2" crossbars to the back side of the legs using screws or nails
- Attach the lattice to the front side of the legs using brads or small nails
- Set box around gas meter
Utility screen post:
Utility screen on HomeTalk:
When I posted this project, I had many questions as to whether the meter reader would be able to read the meter
A few weeks ago, we were contacted by our gas company to see if our meter was accessible. I know some of our neighbors have their fence at the front of the house so the meter can't be accessed without someone being home. We replied that, yes, it is accessible.
A couple of days ago, when I was working in the yard, I noticed that the paint looked new on the meter and the little plant that was growing next to it was gone. I don't know if our old one had been replaced or just updated but it showed that they had no issues working with my little lattice structure. That makes me happy!
Why did you not use all the cross pieces you built as the frame to support the lattice? All it would have taken would be to shorten the cross pieces and place them BETWEEN the vertical members.
Came out very nice. Noting worse than unsightly utility boxes but I have a question ?
The pots are a great idea especially with flowers or vines ie: Morning Glory, Clematis, Ivy, etc. to climb the lattice but I’m just wondering why you didn’t BURY the pots?
If it was because access might be necessary one day, a couple hinges to serve as a door with two simple latch hooks would have served the purpose.
I have to enclose my outside AC unit and access is only necessary on one side so rather than it being ripped out for access I’m going to hinge it for easy access.
I love the idea, and please excuse me I’m a triple Virgo and could critique just about anything. Hey, that’s just what we do lol.