13 July 2008

Screening the Heater

After the bathroom project, which included converting our big ol' tank water heater to a tankless, we needed to deal with the rather unsightly tankless hanging brazenly on the garden wall.

Here's a photo of the before:



And here's what it looks like now with the new screening fence/trellis that we finished installing this weekend:



What can I say? I love the horizontal modern thing. This is made entirely of untreated cedar (chemically treated wood = gross). Cedar comes with it's own naturally produced insect repellents and it smells good to boot. I used 4x4 posts and 2x2 slats.

I also opted out of cement to hold the posts in. First, cement makes installation a pain in the ass. Second, a lot of good tamping down of our clay soil makes the support for the posts about as strong as cement. Third, I've heard cement can actually lead to rot, because it doesn't allow the part of the post that's cemented in to breath.

I think the trellis adds a nice visual element to the garden, even if it doesn't screen the heater 100%. It will also shield the house just a little from the hot afternoon sun. Now I'm pondering growing a vine or two up the trellis. Maybe a nice Carolina jessamine for spring blooms and fragrance, or a crossvine for the hummingbirds. But, vines could also end up being too busy.

So, I may just leave it like it is, serving as a simple background for the multi-trunked desert willow (Chilopsis linearis). It's in the year-two "creep phase" (I've always heard this plant rule of thumb: Year One: Sleep; Year Two: Creep; Year Three: Leap). Can't wait for year three...

14 comments:

Annie in Austin said...

What an elegant solution to your problem, Lee! And it makes a very serene background for the bench.

Will the heater actually give off heat to the surrounding air? If so, maybe you could take advantage of the situation and use the free heat source to grow something that's marginally hardy?

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

bill/prairie point said...

what about maintenance? it looks like it is only a couple feet from the outside wall.

Nancy said...

It's lovely, and the trellis with the bush combined, will be plenty to cover anything behind it.

Annie's got a point... you might be able to take advantage of a micro climate created by the trellis/house/tank.

Cindy said...

Lee, you did a very nice job on that screen. I like the simplicity and serenity of the setting. I vote for leaving it as is ... once that desert willow hits its stride, it will be an awesome focal point and its blooms should bring plenty of hummingbirds to your garden!

Lee said...

The new wall is about 3 feet from the heater, so there's plenty of room to get back there for maintenance (to open up the heater case, etc.). All plumbing maintenance happens from under the pier-and-beam house, so that's not an issue.

As for heat, I don't think it will change the temp in the area that much, although that's a great thing to think about. Bananas anyone? ;-) I'll have to keep an eye on it this winter and see what the air temp is like.

Hummingbirds...yes please!

Pam/Digging said...

It's a great looking screen. Very Zen with that single desert willow in front. I wouldn't put a vine on it because it would cover up the simple but striking design of the screen.

Lee said...

Thanks Pam. I'm definitely leaning toward no vine, at this point. I think once the DW grows, it will be plenty of plant there.

By the way, how in the hell do you keep you flowers blooming and looking so fabulous in this heat?!?! Water? I'm jealous. All my coneflowers are going to seed...

Bonnie said...

I saw leave it simple. Vines will distract from the simple lines of the screen. Nice job!

stephanie said...

nice.

Pam/Digging said...

Since you asked, I'm watering once a week, which is more than I've done in summers past. But this summer is a dry scorcher. The Mexican oregano, rock penstemon, hymenoxys, Turk's cap, and blackfoot daisies are completely unfazed by the heat and drought. The salvias, coneflowers, and roses need a little more water. That's mainly what's blooming right now.

Lancashire rose said...

I really like the style of your screening. We have been thinking about doing something in front of our air conditioners and I think this may be just the answer. It has modern simple lines.

Kelly said...

Lee, if you're still tuned in to these comments, I'm curious how the cedar posts directly in the ground are holding up. I'm considering building one of these to screen my AC condenser and would love to skip concrete if putting it straight into the ground is reasonably solid.

Lee said...

Kelly, They are still holding up great. No problems at all. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

What is the spacing between the two by twos? How do you keep it stable at the bottom?