How to hide an air conditioner unit outside

How to hide an air conditioner unit outside

Want to know how to hide an air conditioner unit outside? I have a DIY removable lattice fence panel that’ll make your AC guy happy!

My removable ‘outdoor air conditioner screen fence thingy’ will hide those air conditioners, allow proper air flow for the condenser, and make the AC guy happy when he sees how easy it is to remove. I made these easy and lightweight lattice screens to hang on the posts. You can easily have this project done in a weekend. So let’s get started. Here’s how to hide an air conditioner unit outside…the easy way.

First, I want to say, you don’t have to hide an air conditioner unit outside. Generally, they aren’t that noticeable. But sometimes they just stand out too much. Last month, we had to cut down a very large tree in our side yard. It was constantly attacking our roof and we just couldn’t safely keep it trimmed anymore. This tree was so large, it shaded the whole side yard. In fact, not much would grow there and the shade sort of made the whole area unnoticeable. So, we never did much with it.

DIY this easily removable 'outdoor air conditioner screen fence thingy'. It will hide those air conditioners, allow proper air flow for the condenser, and make the AC guy happy when he sees how easy it is to remove. You can easily have this project done in a weekend. Lets get started. Here's how to hide an air conditioner unit outside...the easy way.
This once shady and hidden side yard needed an upgrade.

Removing the tree unexpectedly put a spotlight on our 3 air conditioners, the really scruffy shrubs, and weedy flower beds. We live on a corner near the start of our street. Suddenly, that side of the house seemed to stand out as the focal point for the longish approach to our house. I know it was probably more noticeable to me than anyone else, but I had to do something about it.

The 2 key design factors for my screen were; proper air flow for the condenser, and something easily removable when the A/C’s need servicing or replacing.

As the daughter of an AC guy, I have to say it’s important to follow the airflow guidelines for your units. Usually you need 5 to 6 feet above the units to be clear and 18″ around. When you start putting units together, like my 3, you may need to add more free space. If you block off air flow with screens or plants, your A/C could overheat and break or plants could clog the unit. I had to carefully design a screen that would hide the units while letting them work properly.

I just wanted the screens to fade into the house, so I didn’t need anything fancy. Traditional lattice would work just fine. We’ve planted beds full of knock out roses and butterfly attracting plants. Once they grow in, they can be the star of that side of the house. 🙂

DIY this easily removable 'outdoor air conditioner screen fence thingy'. It will hide those air conditioners, allow proper air flow for the condenser, and make the AC guy happy when he sees how easy it is to remove. You can easily have this project done in a weekend. Lets get started. Here's how to hide an air conditioner unit outside...the easy way.
New plants and refreshed beds, ready to go!

THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. SEE HOW AFFILIATES HELP YOUR FAVORITE BLOGGERS DELIVER FREE CONTENT.

Disclaimer: Make sure to always read the directions for any products or tools you use while building. Always check for square and double-check those measurements too. Read the full disclaimer.


Cost to Make this Outdoor Air Conditioner Screen Fence

You’ll spend about $50 for one of these panels on 2 posts. Add about $35 or $40 more for the second panel, if they share a middle post.

Time to Make this Outdoor Air Conditioner Screen Fence

This can easily be done in 24 hours. I would set the post in concrete one evening and let them set overnight. Also, spray paint the keyhole hangers to protect them from the weather the night before too. Then finish off the panels the next day.

DIY this easily removable 'outdoor air conditioner screen fence thingy'. It will hide those air conditioners, allow proper air flow for the condenser, and make the AC guy happy when he sees how easy it is to remove. You can easily have this project done in a weekend. Lets get started. Here's how to hide an air conditioner unit outside...the easy way.
Protect the keyhole hangers with an exterior enamel.

Materials for this Outdoor Air Conditioner Screen Fence

Directions to Make this Outdoor Air Conditioner Screen Fence

Draw up your Plans

Decide how wide and high you want your screen. Remember the trellis panels are only 8′ long. So, I wouldn’t go wider than 7 1/2 feet unless you adjust the design for 2 trellis panels. My panels are about 30″ high including the frame around the trellis. If you want higher coverage, you’ll need to buy the 4′ x 8′ trellis to cut to size.

DIY this easily removable 'outdoor air conditioner screen fence thingy'. It will hide those air conditioners, allow proper air flow for the condenser, and make the AC guy happy when he sees how easy it is to remove. You can easily have this project done in a weekend. Lets get started. Here's how to hide an air conditioner unit outside...the easy way.
After drying over-night, this post was ready for its panels.

Start with the Posts

Cut the posts to the correct height with your Miter Saw. Mine are about 4′. You could also cut the posts to size with a chainsaw after attaching the panels. Cutting after is probably the easier way to go, since you could skip leveling the top of the posts before setting.

Dig at least 10″ down for each post. The depth will need to be adjusted on hills or uneven terrain. You want the post tops to be pretty level so that the screens are easier to level. Tie a Mason Line 1″ from the top of one post, then pull it tight to the same point on the next post. Use a level to check the line and adjust the post height as needed. You will need to dig deeper or fill in the hole to make them level.

Once you have them leveled, follow the directions on your fast setting concrete mix to create the wet concrete in the hole. After it’s wet and mixed per directions. Grab your level and adjust the level on all 4 sides of the post. The wet concrete will hold the post upright as you adjust it. Make sure the wet concrete is pressed up against all 4 sides, so that it dries firm with no wiggle. Allow it to dry completely.

Prep the Keyhole Hangers

Spray front and back of Keyhole Hangers with the protective exterior enamel spray. This will protect the metal from the elements. Do as many coats as necessary. Allow to dry completely.

DIY this easily removable 'outdoor air conditioner screen fence thingy'. It will hide those air conditioners, allow proper air flow for the condenser, and make the AC guy happy when he sees how easy it is to remove. You can easily have this project done in a weekend. Lets get started. Here's how to hide an air conditioner unit outside...the easy way.
My center post with it’s 2 hangers and split panel board.

Attach the Keyhole Hangers

Hold the keyhole hanger against the post where you’d like to attach for screen. If you didn’t level the top of the posts before setting them in cement, you’ll need to use a Mason Line to level the Keyhole Hangers now.

Once level is found, screw 2 exterior screws through the hangers. Leave them out about 1/4″ so that the hangers are easily removable. Remove the hangers from the screws.

Build your Screen

Now, you can either build the screens completely, then attach the keyhole hangers, or do what I did. My husband was out of town, so I was working alone. Now, I can’t hold up those long screens by myself while trying to figure out where to attach those keyhole hangers. So, I had to attach those hangers to the boards before building the screens.

DIY this easily removable 'outdoor air conditioner screen fence thingy'. It will hide those air conditioners, allow proper air flow for the condenser, and make the AC guy happy when he sees how easy it is to remove. You can easily have this project done in a weekend. Lets get started. Here's how to hide an air conditioner unit outside...the easy way.
All 3 posts with the first board attached to the keyhole hangers.

As you can see by the pictures, I lined up the boards and checked level. Then marked where I needed to attach the keyhole hangers based on the screws in the posts. Since I was using 2 screens, I attached 2 keyhole hangers to the board on the center post. Then I cut that board down the middle. This allows the screens to be removed separately. I could have used 2 boards next to each other on the 1 post, but cutting the single board made everything a bit easier.

DIY this easily removable 'outdoor air conditioner screen fence thingy'. It will hide those air conditioners, allow proper air flow for the condenser, and make the AC guy happy when he sees how easy it is to remove. You can easily have this project done in a weekend. Lets get started. Here's how to hide an air conditioner unit outside...the easy way.
Trellis on, beginning on the 1″ x 6″ frames.

Now we are basically building a trellis sandwich. Cut the trellis to size and attach to the boards while they are still hanging. I used my brad nailer to do this. Cut and attach the 1″ x 6″ boards to the front of that trellis. Get those brad nails through the cross points on the trellis to be extra secure. Use as many nails as necessary on both sides to secure the panels together tightly.

Now you’re panels are done. Awesome, right?! So, pat yourself on the back and admire your hard work.

DIY this easily removable 'outdoor air conditioner screen fence thingy'. It will hide those air conditioners, allow proper air flow for the condenser, and make the AC guy happy when he sees how easy it is to remove. You can easily have this project done in a weekend. Lets get started. Here's how to hide an air conditioner unit outside...the easy way.
Fully framed and finished panels.
DIY this easily removable 'outdoor air conditioner screen fence thingy'. It will hide those air conditioners, allow proper air flow for the condenser, and make the AC guy happy when he sees how easy it is to remove. You can easily have this project done in a weekend. Lets get started. Here's how to hide an air conditioner unit outside...the easy way.
The panel on the left is bare. The panel on the right has been treated with the Weathered Wood Accelerator.

Get the “Weathered Wood Look” for this Outdoor Air Conditioner Screen Fence

Have you tried any of these Weathered Wood Accelerators yet? They are so cool. It’s sold with stains, but it’s not a stain. It’s a chemical that reacts with the tannin’s in the wood to produce the aged look. It was so easy to use and virtually mess-free. I even dripped some on a few landscaping rocks and it left no marks, whatsoever. Nice! I wouldn’t test that out on your clothes, though. Follow the directions on the container.

I very quickly applied it with a foam brush. I would have been careful applying this to furniture, just to assure I got an even look. But, since this is an outdoor project. I rushed it and it still looks great. The few darker spots I had blended away with another coat of the accelerator. The weathered look is perfect. The grey wood blends right into my red bricks with grey accents.

DIY this easily removable 'outdoor air conditioner screen fence thingy'. It will hide those air conditioners, allow proper air flow for the condenser, and make the AC guy happy when he sees how easy it is to remove. You can easily have this project done in a weekend. Lets get started. Here's how to hide an air conditioner unit outside...the easy way.
The finished panels blend into the brickwork. Once those new flowers grow in, this side yard will be beautiful.
DIY this easily removable 'outdoor air conditioner screen fence thingy'. It will hide those air conditioners, allow proper air flow for the condenser, and make the AC guy happy when he sees how easy it is to remove. You can easily have this project done in a weekend. Lets get started. Here's how to hide an air conditioner unit outside...the easy way.
Don’t forget to Pin Me

Looking for another DIY to give your yard some style? Check out this great L-shaped Backyard Bench AND it only costs $130. Yea!

How I built my L-shaped DIY Outdoor Bench for $130, awarded 2nd place in the IG Builders Challenge, season 3


Now that you know how to hide an air conditioner unit outside, get out there. Build your own. Follow the links above to get the things you’ll need. Have fun and let me know if you have questions. Or post pictures of your work and tag Abbotts At Home on FB, I’d love to see it!

13 thoughts on “How to hide an air conditioner unit outside

  1. WOW. This is one interesting yet useful idea. Very clever & brilliant. Thanks for sharing with us 🙂

  2. Great tutorial! I appreciate your attention to ensuring proper air flow for your AC. And, I’d never heard of the weathered wood accelerator product. The panels look less conspicuous after the ‘weathering’ treatment. The lattice panels look very neat, and they hide your utility units nicely.
    Carol (“Mimi”) from Home with Mimi

  3. Great idea and a really good tutorial too. Thanks so much for sharing it!

  4. Love it, Great idea! Very ingenious!! This has also given me a great idea for a short fence I have around my RV pad. I always need to remove a couple panels for a tight turn every time I bring the RV in and out and it gets to be time consuming so I end up being lazy and leaving the panels out most the time! I have been trying to come up with a way to quickly RnR the panels every time I take the RV in and out. With the use of the keyhole hangers and removable posts, I will be able to quickly remove and reinstall them! Thanks for the idea!

    • Great, Bob. The keyhole hangers are the real reason I shared this project. I was hoping it would help other people with similar problems. Good luck and thanks for the comment!

  5. Very smart and practical! No one wants to look at the a/c units! I like the nice weathered look you have given it also.

Leave a Reply