Air conditioning! In my opinion, it's one of the greatest inventions of the modern world. Except for the way those gigantic outdoor units look. Now if you're lucky, your A/C unit is located in some obscure part of your yard where no one sees it. Me? Not so lucky. Ours ended up on our front porch.
You can hardly notice it now.
I used cedar lumber and pressure treated lattice. I found some of the lumber at Home Depot, but I had to go to a lumber yard for the rest. The materials cost around $200. You could also build this from all pressure treated lumber which would cost substantially less. It took me several hours to build. I had the lumber cut when I purchased it, so that saved some time. I just needed help when I was attaching the side sections to the front (it's hard to hold and attach at the same time). Otherwise I built the whole thing on my own. I built this 2 years ago and have just let it weather. I think it's held up quite well. It makes a great plant stand as well as a spot to put things down as you unlock the door.
I've included a complete tutorial, but please note if you want to build something like this, don't use my measurements. Measure your own unit first and adjust accordingly. It's also important not to build it too tight around the unit. You need to ensure there's plenty of airflow. So here goes!
(2) 8’ long cedar 2x4’s (each cut into two 40” pieces)
(3) 8’ long cedar 1x4’s (each cut into two 38.5” pieces)
(2) 6’ long cedar 1x4’s (each cut into one 40” piece & one 21.5” piece)
(3) 8’ long cedar 1x2’s (each cut into two 38.5” pieces)
(1) 6’ long cedar 1x2 (cut into one 31.5” piece & two 18.5” pieces)
1 sheet of square pressure-treated lattice (cut into one 40” x 31.5” piece & two 40” x 18.5” pieces)
Self-tapping exterior deck screws
Drill or electric screw driver
Sander or sand paper
Important! Before beginning, measure your own unit. It may not be the same size as mine, so adjust the size accordingly. This is built like a table that will slide over the A/C unit. It should not be permanently attached because the unit may need to be serviced and it’s important that there is access.
Step 1: Make the front section (see diagram below).
1. Lay down 2 of the 2x4 pieces approximately 40” apart (with the 4” side down). Place one of the 40” 1 x 4 pieces across the 2x4’s so that the top of the 2x4’s are ¾” below the top edge of the 1x4 and the ends of the 1x4 extend ¾” beyond the sides of the 2x4’s. Attach the 1x4 to the 2x4’s making sure to keep everything square and the angles at 90°.
2. Flip this over so the 1x4 is on the bottom. Attach a 38.5” 1x2 to each 2x4, making the top of the 1x2 flush with the top of the 2x4’s.
3. Attach the 31.5” piece of 1x2 to the bottoms of the 38.5” 1x2’s. It should be flush with the bottom of the 2x4’s. You’ve now made a square.
4. Attach the larger piece of lattice to the 1x2’s.
Step 2: Make the side sections (see diagram below).
1. Lay down a 2x4 piece so that the 2” side is down. Place a 21.5” piece of 1x4 perpendicular to the 2x4 (i.e. forming an “L”) with the top edge of the 1x4 ¾” above the end of the 2x4 and attach.
2. Flip this over so the 1x4 is on the bottom. Attach a 38.5” 1x2 to the 2x4, making the top of the 1x2 flush with the top of the 2x4.
3. Attach another 38.5” 1x2 to the other end of the 1x4 so that it’s 1.5” in from the end of the 1x4 and ¾” below the top edge of the 1x4.
4. Attach one of the 18.5” pieces of 1x2 to the bottoms of the 38.5” 1x2’s. It should be flush with the bottom of the 2x4. You’ve now made a square.
5. Attach one of the smaller pieces of lattice to the 1x2’s.
6. Now repeat these steps to make the other side, but remember, it should be a MIRROR IMAGE of the first side since one side will be the left side and the other will be the right side.
Step 3: Attach the sides to the front.
1. With the front section face down, align one side section with the front section so that the 2x4 of the side section is on the opposite side from the 2x4 of the front section. You may need a helper for this part. Attach the 1x4 and 1x2 of the side section to the 2x4 and 1x4 of the front section.
2. Repeat this for the other side section. You should now have a table (without a table top). Stand it up so the 1x4’s are on top.
3. Take the remaining 40” piece of 1x4 and use it to connect the back of the side sections so that the top edge of the 1x4 is flush with the top edges of the 1x4’s of the side sections.
Step 4: Make the table top & finish up.
1. Place the 38.5” pieces of 1x4 onto the lip formed by the tops of the 2x4’s and the top of the lattice. They should be even with the top edges of the 1x4’s on the front and side sections. There is no need to secure these and this will make it easier to access the top of the A/C unit if needed.
2. Now place the whole thing over your A/C unit. Done!