Hide utility boxes front yard


How to Hide the Electrical Box in the Front Yard

Electricity is very important in our lives. However, it comes with baggage that may be a lot to handle, such as a large transformer box openly kept in our front yards for the world to see. Although kept there for the right reasons, many people consider them unappealing.

Instead of looking at your electrical box helplessly and wishing it was not there, you can convert the area around the box into a masterpiece that will keep your front yard glowing with easy DIY tricks. However, proper care should be maintained to ensure your outdoor disguises do not interfere with the normal functioning of the electrical transformer. You should, therefore, contact your electrical company for the right advice.

Use Landscaping

Depending on the size and shape of your yard, you can come up with great designs to sufficiently hide your utility box. Sonoran LanDesign’s Arizona landscaping service (http://sonoranlandesign.com) suggests creating a small garden around the box, where you can then plant beautiful flowers and herbs to camouflage it. To improve the appearance of the tiny garden, you can also add decorative stones around it to create a perfect outline.

source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/81979655700029788/

You may also build a corner fence using wood preferably since it is easier to obtain. You can go a little overboard on your creativity and add electrical lamps to your wooden stands so that the area lights up at night to create a magical experience.

However, if you have some spare money you can build corner fences using iron or steel rods. You should ensure that there is proper circulation around the electrical box in order for it to function well. The plants should also be regularly trimmed to prevent them from covering up the box.

Use Steel or Iron Pipes

Who said plants and flowers have to be grown on the ground alone? You can use steel or iron pipes as a type of planter inserted into the ground. Get a number of pipes that are cut to the same size and shape, and place them equidistant to each other and around the electrical box. Fill the inside with both stones and plant supporting soil and plant flowers. You can also paint the steel or iron pipes to make them look good and to prevent them from rusting.

source: BuzzFeed

You can see an example of how to use steel or iron pipes in this article from BuzzFeed.

Use Ornamental Grasses

There are many ornamental grasses that you could use. You may opt for taller varieties, or you may prefer to work with shorter varieties depending on the size of the electrical box.

source: Pinterest

Shorter varieties easily blend in with flowers and are easier to manage.

source: Pinterest

Tall grasses require more work and may make your yard look bushy and unkempt, if not properly managed. To make it more appealing, you can use shorter grass around the box and also put several flower vases on top of the box.

Use Wooden Fixtures

You can create so many creative disguising fixtures using wood. Wood comes in handy when your electrical box is located near the house, for instance on the house wall. To hide the ugly electric box, you may build a wooden barrier around it.

source: Pinterest

With wood, your creativity will know no boundaries. You may give it a cabinet look for easier access.

source: Pinterest

Or you may build a wooden box to cover it. This works for large electrical boxes that are installed on the ground. For a more visual appeal, you may add flowers and porcelain vases on top of the wooden box.

source: Pinterest

Pinterest has many great examples of the types of wooden fixtures you can build around the electrical box, including birdhouses.

Use Color Camouflage

You can also conceal your meter box easily using paint. The color of the box is usually bright and shiny and offers a contrasting foreground to the rather dull background of the wall.

source: Pinterest

You can easily turn around this mismatch by painting the box the same color as the wall. If you are not confident in your painting skills, you can hire a professional painter to do it for you. Some people paint their meter box to match the brick or siding of their house so that it completely blends with the wall and unless you are very keen, you may not see it.

Try Graffiti

If you are the wild-type and don’t mind colorful art in your front yard, then you should try graffiti. The electrical box offers a large canvas that you can use to express how you feel by use of art.

source: Pinterest

But be wary of the rules and regulations in your area. Many people do not find graffiti appealing.

Having air conditioning, water on demand, and electricity in our homes are all wonderful things, but they require bulky and unsightly machines and cords that litter the outside of our houses. Cover them up with these 13 ways to hide outdoor eyesores and improve your curb appeal!

Ways to Hide Outdoor Eyesores

A note before we dive into these awesome ways to hide outdoor eyesores: always check with your local utility companies on policies for covering up your water meters, electrical meters, trash bins, and AC units. Some of these policies might have to do with clearance, access for meter readers, and adequate ventilation for AC units.

How to Hide Utility Boxes and Wires

Are your utility boxes and wires, like your water meter or the electrical meter, distracting to the eye? Whether they are located at the side of your home or at the patio, there are several clever ways to cover or camouflage them!

Repurpose old vinyl shutters to act as a screen to cover up your utility boxes! Easy to move or take down for the winter or whenever you need to access the utility boxes.

Outdoor Repurpose Shutter Screen | Hometalk

Or build a wood screen using wood scraps in your garage or pressure-treated fence boards. Use door hinges to attach them together and paint or stain your new screen!

Hiding Outdoor Uglies | Provident Home Design

Here’s another wood building project, this is a slatted wood screen that uses cleats – one pair attached to the screen itself, one pair attached to the house – to hold it in place. You simply push it up and away to get access to the utility boxes.

DIY Wood Screen to Hide Utility Boxes | Remodelaholic

Add some greenery (and even more curb appeal) by attaching planters to your wood screen! This DIY wood screen is held up on hooks; simply swing away from the house to gain access to the utility boxes.

DIY Electric Meter Screen | House Tweaking

Here’s an easy solution: paint your utility boxes and wires! It’s surprisingly effective and would work well for areas with stricter regulations.

Camouflaging an Eyesore in Our Backyard | Love of Family and Home

How to Hide Utility Boxes in the Front Yard

Do you have a cable box, an electrical box, or a sewer access cap sticking up through the grass in your front yard? Many people hide them by planting shrubs and other plants around them, but you could easily make a slipcover with beadboard and top it with a birdhouse.

Decorate Your Garden | BHG

Another way to hide utility boxes in your front yard, especially those huge electrical transformer boxes, is to add a corner fence and plant bushes and flowers around the fence.

Landscaping Ideas to Hide Utility Boxes | Views From the Garden

How to Hide Air Conditioning Units

AC units are bulky and they need a lot of airflow to work efficiently, so they can be difficult to hide. Enter the lattice screen! They are nice to look at, pretty easy to assemble, and provide plenty of airflow.

Easy To Build Lattice Screen | Canadian Gardening

If you want something a bit more modern, check this awesome slatted wood screen!

Hide That Ugly AC Unit | HousePet

Here’s another lattice screen built to hide an AC unit, but this is an even easier DIY.

Covering Up An AC Unit | First Home

A louvered screen, built with the louvers fixed at an angle, works well in providing an AC unit adequate air ventilation. Plus, it looks so nice, especially when painted in white! This is a more permanent solution to hiding your AC unit.

Disguise Your AC With a DIY Louvered Screen | The Kim Six Fix

How to Hide Common (But Ugly) Outdoor Items

Some outdoor items are a necessary part of home living, but they don’t look so good out in the open. Water hoses and trash cans are two such examples. Here’s some great ideas how to hide them!

Build a wooden planter to hold your hoses! Plant pretty flowers and plants in the lid and no one will ever know you’re hiding a water hose or two inside. Make a hole in the back to feed the hose through.

DIY Hose Hiding Outdoor Planter | That’s My Letter

Build a modern and beautiful cedar screen to hide your trash cans! Add your house numbers to give it another purpose. You could use this DIY cedar screen to hide all kinds of outdoor eyesores, from kids toys to pool equipment!

Cedar Screen | Sugar Sugar House

These brilliant DIYs will turn any front yard (or back yard) into a beautiful space without the interference of outdoor eyesores! What other ways to hide outdoor eyesores have you seen or made yourself?

Remodelaholic is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Please see our full disclosure here.

Published: January 12, 2016Filed Under: Gardening, How To Tagged: curb appeal, Exteriors, Top Ten, yard

About Elisa

Outdoor eyesores: every garden and back yard has them. Utility boxes, air conditioning units, lawnmowers, garbage bins and more; these are essential items, but we’d prefer not to look at them while spending time on our hard-earned green grass amongst lovely flowerbeds. So what do you do? We’ve prepared a list of outdoor eyesore hiding ideas to get you started on the path to backyard beauty.

25 Smart Outdoor Eyesore Hiding Ideas to Upgrade Your Outdoor Space

From simple DIY type projects to things requiring a bit more skill and effort, we think you’ll find something here to help you hide the ugly stuff so you can enjoy the fruits of your backyard garden and landscaping labor. We’ll show you a variety of ways you can pleasantly mask your outdoor eyesores with hiding ideas for every style and budget.

From a variety of lovely woods, to faux rocks and sturdy plastic, we’re sure you’ll find inspiration among these images to make your back yard all you’ve ever dreamed it can be. But don’t stop here; use these ideas and then take things further with landscaping.

Adding plants around these basic outdoor eyesore hiding ideas will further beautify your problem areas, and in a few seasons you’ll hardly remember those backyard blemishes.

1. Plants or Trellis for Hiding Air Conditioning Units

Source: spiralsandspatulas.com

2. Lovely Raised Planters Hide Unsightly Bins

Source: life.idntimes.com

3. Wooden Privacy Screens Come In All Sizes

Source: thesawdustmaker.com

5. Faux Rocks Cover Unsightly PVC Pipes

Source: plowhearth.com

6. Pretty Planter Hides Garden Hoses

Source: thatsmyletter.blogspot.com

7. Lovely Cabinet Hides Utility Box and Garden Tools

Source: shabbyglam.blogspot.com

8. Basic Cedar Screen For Hiding Bins

Source: ihome108.com

9. Hanging Wooden Screens For Back Patio Privacy

Source: hgtv.com

10. Pretty Picket Fence Screens Unsightly AC Unit

Source: pixstats.net

11. Cedar Screen Hides Utility Box

Source: remodelaholic.com

12. Wooden AC Screens are Easy DIY Projects

Source: uglyducklinghouse.com

13. Garden Sheds Can Be Things of Backyard Beauty

Source: thecavenderdiary.com

14. The Simplest Screens Can Be Effective

Source: providenthomedesign.com

15. Wooden AC Screens Come In a Variety of Styles

Source: house-pet.blogspot.com

16. Consider a Wooden Wall Instead of a Shed

Source: 1001pallets.com

17. Cool Chevron Pattern for a Deck Privacy Screen

Source: diypassion.com

18. Simple Wooden Fence for AC Camouflage

Source: hometalk.com

19. Clean Cedar Lines Hide Your AC

Source: mamaeatsclean.com

20. A Trellis Top Adds Further Disguise

Source: hu.pinterest.com

21. This Pretty Cabinet Hides Utility Box and Wires


22. Lattice Disguises AC, Why Not Plant a Pretty Clematis Here

Source: davidandcarolineparker.blogspot.com

23. Hide Your Bin Behind a Lovely Lattice Fence

Source: ishouldbemoppingthefloor.com

24. AC Unit Disappears Behind the Right Paint Color and Plants

Source: houseandhome.com

25. Match Your Side yard Shed with the House Paint

Source: homedepot.com

Unsightly clutter can really detract from your home’s aesthetic. Whether it’s an ugly hose coiled on your home’s exterior or all your electronic devices taking over the countertops, eyesores are no fun to look at. But we’re here to help. Here are 17 outside-the-box ways to hide common eyesores around the home. Check out our other tips for hiding clutter while you’re here!

How to Hide Eyesores in Your Home

Tuck laundry hampers away so they’re not taking up valuable space in your bedroom or laundry room.

Hide the garage door opener with a frame, a doorknob, and a little ingenuity.

Use hinges to install a canvas on the wall near the thermostat. No one will ever suspect it’s there!

Hide your router and modem inside a magazine holder. They’re neat and tidy, but still within easy reach.

Clever Organization Ideas

Hide utility fixtures outside your home with a few shutters to create a screen. If you don’t have any spare shutters, here’s a tutorial on how to build some.

Install a charging station in a drawer to keep it out of sight until you need it. This is a great solution if several family members have devices that need to be charged!

And here’s a tutorial on how to alter a drawer to hide your printer. What a space saver that is!

I don’t know about you, but I never like seeing trashcans. This trash can cabinet is a genius idea! And you can make one yourself, so you don’t need to spend a lot of money.

Create hidden storage books to hide anything you need! This is also a great solution for the router or modem, or for hiding a small box of valuables.

Hide wires and cables under your desk to get the uncluttered desktop look.

Lots of Smart Organization Ideas

Here’s another easy way to hide cords and wires: use command hooks to keep them in place behind your furniture.

Use Airstone to cover an ugly bathtub. It looks so much nicer now!

This DIY hose hiding outdoor planter is an attractive solution to covering up that ugly garden hose.

Do you see the light switch in the midst of all that artwork? No? That’s because it blends in seamlessly! If you’re dealing with a light switch in an odd location, this is a terrific solution.

Cover an ugly wall vent with a decorative doormat. This is one I never would have thought of!

This smart lady used velcro strips and command hooks to wrap cords and hang them behind the desk and get them out of view.

Have an ugly fridge, but a replacement isn’t in the budget? Wallpaper that thing! It’ll totally change the look of your kitchen. Don’t be afraid to use a bold pattern! Don’t miss our other fridge hacks!

This post may contain affiliate links. For more information please review our disclosure policy.

Landscaping Ideas To Hide Utility Boxes: Tips On Hiding Utility Boxes With Plants

No matter how carefully you landscape your garden, there are some things you just can’t get away from. Utility boxes for things like electricity, cable, and phone lines are the perfect example of this. Unless There are some ways to hide utility boxes, though. Keep reading to learn more about camouflaging utility boxes in the yard.

Landscaping Around Utility Boxes

you have plans to live off the grid, they’re a fact of life, and they, unfortunately, aren’t usually designed with aesthetics in mind. The best you can do is try to live in harmony with them. The very first thing you need to do when landscaping around utility boxes is call the company that installed it.

These boxes are serious business, and there are often restrictions about what you can do near them, like bans on permanent structures and distances before you can plant anything. Make sure to follow these restrictions – the companies need access and underground wires need room to run free of roots. That being said, there are ways to hide utility boxes that don’t conflict with any restrictions.

Ways to Hide Utility Boxes

If you can’t plant anything within a certain distance of your utility box, put up a trellis or fence just beyond that distance that falls between the box and the place you’re most likely to view it from. Plant a fast-growing, flowering vine like clematis or trumpet vine to fill in the space and distract the eye.

You can achieve the same effect by planting a row of shrubs or small trees. If you are allowed to plant near or around the box, select flowers of varying colors, heights, and bloom times.

If the landscaping around utility boxes is interesting enough, you may not even realize there’s something ugly in the middle of it.

Choosing Decorative Plants to Hide Utility Boxes

The placement of decorative plants such as trees, shrubs, and flowers can block unsightly items such as small sewer caps, cable boxes, or electrical transformers from the public’s view. Evergreen shrubs provide year-round coverage and blend in well.

Jennifer A. DiGiovanni Oct 28, 2013

One great thing about landscaping is the large and versatile selection of decorative plants that can be used to hide those less-than-perfect aspects of a yard that homeowners cannot help but notice every time they walk out of their house. With the simple placement of trees, shrubs, and flowers, unsightly items such as small sewer caps, cable boxes, and electrical transformers can be blocked from open view.

When masking a utility item, look for decorative plants that assimilate well with the rest of your home’s landscaping. Planting unusually large or brightly colored flowers may actually have the opposite effect and end up drawing too much attention to the area you are trying to hide. Evergreens are the best bet for year-round coverage due to the fact that these consistently green shrubs blend in well with grass and trees already growing in most yards.

Familiar Shrubs Can Be Used As Screens

In the Philadelphia area, deer-resistant boxwoods work well because they tolerate full sun and may be trimmed to maintain a specific size and shape. Evergreen azaleas also provide color in the spring but prefer more shade than boxwoods and are not as hardy in colder climates. Varieties of arborvitae shrubs, including a miniature version that grows to approximately three feet tall also can be planted around utility items. Holly bushes are another evergreen shrub commonly used in southeastern Pennsylvania landscaping. Shrubs to avoid are anything with prickly branches or thorns, especially if you will need regular access to the item that you are trying to hide.

Larger Trees Provide a Distraction

Trees surrounded by mulch beds help to draw the eye away from smaller utility boxes and sewer caps. By sizing your mulch bed to include utility items, you also gain another advantage in the fact that you do not have to worry about trimming grass around the utility items or mistakenly mowing over them. When planting near utility boxes, ask a landscaper to recommend trees with root systems that are less likely to disturb sewer pipes and electrical or cable wires. Visit a local home and gardening center and bring a picture of the items that you wish to hide. Before planting new trees, you may also want to contact PA One Call to ask the organization to assist you by identifying the location of underground wires, gas lines, and sewer pipes in your yard.

Hardscaping Tricks

Adding hardscaping in the form of a small stack wall or Belgian blocks will draw attention away from utility boxes equally well. Strategic placement of rocks, garden statues, or fountains in front of a smaller utility object is another fast and easy way to disguise unsightly items.

Concealing Air Conditioners

Many homeowners wish to conceal central air conditioning units from everyday sight, but unlike general utility boxes, A/C units require space to “breathe” (at least two to three feet of unrestricted air flow). According to PECO Energy Company, planting trees or shrubs a safe distance from the unit is beneficial because “a unit operating in the shade uses as much as 10 percent less electricity than the same one operating in the sun.” If you do use decorative plants, leave enough space also to allow access to the outside unit for maintenance and repair. Choose a shrub or tree that does not drop a significant amount of leaves, which can end up blown into the air conditioner.

When considering how much time and effort to invest in hiding utility boxes, it is best to remember that the person most bothered by these items is you, the homeowner.

Image Source: Flickr/Jennifer DiGiovanni


Jennifer A. DiGiovanni

Jennifer DiGiovanni is a freelance writer and a partner in a real estate investment firm focusing on residential properties. She previously worked in the financial services industry and has earned an MBA from Villanova University. Jennifer enjoys writing about real estate, home improvement and small business.

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Many suburban front yards have utility boxes like these that people want to hide.

(George Weigel)

Q: I have a utility box in my front yard that I’d like to hide with plants. This year I planted a forsythia, four Russian sage plants and three rudbeckia. But they all drop their leaves, so the box can be seen all winter. I’m thinking of moving the forsythia behind, adding a second one, and planting an upright dwarf evergreen in front. Any recommendations for the evergreen? It should be at least 3 feet tall to block the box.

A: I can think of a few dwarf evergreens that would fit the bill, but the problem is you’re not supposed to plant anything close to those boxes in case the utility companies need to get into them.

The front is usually the main access and the worst spot for anything that’ll get in the way. Check the box and you should see guidelines on how far back to keep plantings.

It’s not that common that utilities need to get into the boxes, but it does happen. And when they need to get in (especially in an emergency situation), crews don’t neatly trim back plants or transplant them temporarily.

A few years ago, the power went out in our neighborhood, and the problem involved a connection in our neighbor’s box. The neighbors had planted arborvitae in front that had grown to about 6 feet tall. To gain access, the power company took a chainsaw to the plant and tossed it in the front yard. End of plant.

What some people do is hide boxes with plants that can be chainsawed down but grow back. Ornamental grasses are one of the best at that because they grow tall enough in a single season to hide boxes, then can be left standing most of the winter. Even though the blades are brown, they still give screening. The only time they don’t help is end of winter when you have to cut them down to make way for new growth.

Big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii), feather reed grass (Calamagrostis), and red or switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) are three good specific grasses for this kind of situation. You can chop them to the ground even in mid-summer and they’ll grow back.

Forsythia can get pretty big (up to 10 or 12 feet wide for standard varieties), so make sure you keep those far enough away from the back, unless you plan to keep them heavily pruned each year after bloom.

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