During the warm spring months, your backyard is a veritable garden of Eden with beautiful flowers, lush shrubs and greenery, perfectly manicured hedges… and a big, ugly propane tank right in the middle of your landscaping. Propane tanks are an important part of your home’s heating and power systems, but let’s face it they are not the prettiest thing to look at. Fortunately, there are a number of simple tips that will help take the focus off your propane tank and back on your lovely garden.
Before You Begin
There are a number of creative ways to keep your propane tank out of sight, but before you begin, there are a few things that you need to consider.
First and foremost, even though you are trying to hide the tank it is important that your tank remains accessible for any technicians who may need to work on it. As tempting as it is to immediately begin growing a jungle around your propane tank, make sure there is always a clear path to the tank and do not completely enclose it. In fact, in some states it is actually illegal to completely cover or enclose your propane tank. As a rule of thumb, keep five feet of clearance around the tank at all times.
There are a few other safety guidelines that you should follow. NEVER place anything flammable near a propane tank. You should also not place anything directly on top of the propane tank or leaning against the tank.
A propane tank might seem like a blank canvas for a beautiful mural or at least a more interesting color, but it is important not to paint your tank. Not only do most propane companies recommend keeping their tanks their original color for safety reasons, but painting a tank can ultimately draw more attention to the very item that you are planning to hide.
Option 1: Bury Your Tank
The most effective method for keeping your propane tank out of sight is to bury it underground. Due to its high cost, the type of tank used, and local regulations, this option is not a viable one for everyone, but not only does it remove the tank from your yard, it can also provide proper insulation if you live in an area that experiences harsh winters. Talk to your propane provider to see if this is an option for your home.
Option 2: Plant Around Your Tank
Your garden is already beautiful. Don’t let your propane tank steal the show from your favorite plants. Use a variety of plants to create visual interest and hide your tank from view. Choose plants in varying heights so there is plenty of coverage around the tank. This will help create a screen effect to better camouflage your tank. Try tall plants like bamboo or dense hedges like juniper or boxwood to make a living privacy screen.
Option 3: Use Trellises and Garden Beds
Trellises and garden beds can be used on their own or combined together to help create a natural screen. Raised garden beds give your shorter plants a little extra height to help block the tank from view. The height grid-like design of trellises also provides useful cover to keep the tank out of sight. Plus, you can grow vines or climbing plants like bougainvillea, clematis, or wisteria to provide even more lovely camouflage.
Option 4: Container Gardening
One of the most flexible options available is placing a variety of planters around the tank. This is a creative way to display your favorite flower pots and offers easy mobility so you can easily rearrange them or move them to get to your tank quickly. Plus, the containers will keep the plant roots away from the tank itself as the plants grow.
Option 5: Use Landscaping
If plants aren’t your thing, you can also use landscaping elements to hide your tank. Faux landscaping rocks are lightweight and easy to move, but have a natural, authentic appearance. Choose a variety of styles and heights and place them around the tank to obscure it from sight.
Option 6: Fencing and Privacy Screens
If you’re looking for even more coverage, a privacy screen or fence is another more permanent option. Decorative fencing is an easy way to cover your tank and, unlike other gardening and landscape options, requires very little maintenance and will look great all year long. Make sure that your tank is not completely enclosed. Often placing fencing around one or two sides of the tank is enough to get the job done.
You may not be able to move or ignore your propane tank, but it does not need to be the centerpiece of your garden. Using a combination of these simple tips will make everyone forget about the propane tank. They’ll be far too busy looking at your beautiful backyard.
For more tips on how to prepare your backyard for the season, check out our outdoor living articles.