Five Clever Cover-Ups for Your Home

Paul Pogue
Written by Paul Pogue
Updated June 13, 2019
Invy climbing up an exterior wall
Climbing plants are best placed on a frame rather than directly on a wall

5 tips for dressing up those exterior features that are necessary but not necessarily pretty!

Let’s face it: Sometimes, the things we need to keep our houses running are just plain ugly — especially the things we keep outside. Garbage bins and HVAC units can mar an otherwise beautiful exterior, and some walls and fences do curb appeal more harm than good. Fortunately, there are lots of ways to elegantly disguise an unpleasant outdoor feature while maintaining its functionality.

1. Cover HVAC units: Your external air conditioning unit is crucial to keeping your house cool, but it’s hardly aesthetically pleasing. You can disguise it with ornamental grasses or shrubs that top out at 4 feet tall. Or, you can build a fence to hide it — allowing at least 3 feet for airflow and access to the unit. A fence can also do double duty as storage for shovels and hoses.

2. Use ivy to dress up a plain wall or fence: A well-placed vine can add character, color and fragrance. Avoid planting vines near gutters or downspouts, and keep them away from areas where electrical or cable wires enter the home. Climbing plants are best placed on a frame rather than directly on a wall. Take care not to let them grow unchecked!

3. Install a wall treatment: Boost your curb appeal and beautify a plain wall by applying a treatment to the surface. With metal, wood or stone veneer, you can brighten up an unattractive area without the expense of installing a whole new wall. 

4. Hide utility meters: If your gas and electric meters are an eyesore, build a fence or trellis in front of them and add some beauty to the area. Make sure you know your local utility companies’ rules for accessing their boxes.

5. Box up the problem: Creating a beautiful wooden box can cover up a multitude of issues and provide useful coverage as well. Trash bins, recycling bins and hoses lead the list of outdoor necessities you can cover with a box.