As we ready our homes for the outdoor season, many are considering what to do with common eyesores like air conditioning units, garbage cans, electricity meters or your next-door neighbor's broken-down tool shed. These unmovables mar the beauty of our exteriors and there is usually no way to avoid them.

So, the next best thing is to camouflage them.

This universal problem has already been addressed in some fashion by companies that specialize in outdoor storage and coverage. For example, there are a plethora of containers that can hide a garden hose. Some look like planters, some are fancy reels and some are tucked away in cabinets. Many of the big box stores sell large outdoor cabinets that can hold or cover just about anything.

Another interesting item that is good for camouflage is an oversized faux rock that comes in a variety of sizes and just sits down over a vent pipe or a meter. Then there are the fake bushes and screens with fake ivy that can be positioned in many ways to cover many unsightly structures.

If these plastic solutions don't flip your switch, then consider a wooden fence or screen built by someone handy with a hammer. There are all sorts of designs, from the chevron to the lattice work to the picket fence that can hide an air conditioning unit or block off a view of garbage cans. An enclosed wooden bench on the patio could be a perfect place to store cushions, watering cans or insect sprays you don't want cluttering up the porch.

Then there is the green thing that can help camouflage most any area outdoors. Landscaping with tall grasses to block your view of your neighbor's unsightly backyard is as easy as visiting the local nursery. Hedges make excellent coverage for air conditioning units and most like boxwoods require very little care. The variety of spruce trees out there that grow to a significant height can hide electric poles and lines - one just needs to not plant too close to these utilities so as not to interfere with them. Often it is a good idea to ask the help of a landscaper who can look over your problem and offer practical solutions to your particular space.

Bad concrete can also be an eyesore and there are numerous easy solutions to this. The first most obvious is to cover it with an outdoor rug or rubber tiles meant for the outdoors. Call in an artist to paint you a pretty picture with outdoor paint and turn your eyesore into a prized "wow" feature.

Sometimes it just takes a plan as new equipment is installed. For example, if you are putting in a pool recognize there will be machinery attached to it that is not pretty. The installers are going to want to put it in the most convenient spot however you might question that and see if it can be installed under a deck, behind a hedge or just a distance away from the pool. Pre-planning sometimes is all it takes to avoid a problem down the road.


Do you have a house that you would like to showcase or a room that you would like to display? The Herald-Dispatch is seeking people who are interested in showing off their unique, elaborate, quirky or simply interesting homes, rooms and spaces for possible publication in our "Homes" section.

You must be willing to be interviewed and allow us to photograph your home or space. If you're interested, please send your name, address and contact information to Rachel Bledsoe at or 946 5th Ave., Huntington, WV 25701.


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