Utility meters are unsightly additions to the outside of your home. One way to deal with the problem of your gas meter is to hide it from sight with greenery. You can use all kinds of plants around the meter so it isn't seen by passersby, but some plants are better than others. Evergreen shrubs stay green year-round and retain their leaves, unlike deciduous shrubs. Perennial plants are a better choice than annuals, which need replanting every year.
Call your gas company or a utility-locator company to come out and mark the locations of wires, pipes and gas lines that are around the gas meter. You want to avoid planting inside the locator lines because plant roots can damage underground pipes and wires.
Measure the height of the gas meter or utility box you want to conceal.
Select plants that grow to at least to the height of the meter. At the nursery, check the tag on each plant you are considering -- it will tell you how tall the plant grows. Gas meters typically are no taller than 2 to 2 1/2 feet, so small to medium evergreen shrubs or perennial plants are a good fit. Boxwoods, ornamental grasses, shrub roses and small cypress plants work well.
Dig holes for your plants outside of the area where the utility-locator lines are marked. Make each hole twice as wide as the root system and as deep as the root ball of your plant.
Place the plants in the dug holes and cover the root balls with dirt. Pack in the soil lightly with your foot.
Water the plants thoroughly to dampen the soil. Water the plants daily for two to three weeks to help them get established.
Cover the soil around the plants with mulch to trap water.
Trim the bushes as needed in the late winter to help maintain a uniform shape. Do not cut off all new growth, since your goal is to grow them to the height of the meter. Once the bushes hide the meter, maintain the shape and size with annual trimmings. If you planted flowering perennials, pinch off spent blooms to encourage more flowering. Water plants when needed to maintain damp soil, and trim out dead or diseased stems from plants like hosta or butterfly plants.
Skip the waiting period by planting taller or more mature bushes. Also small trees such as crepe myrtles can be planted and maintained at a low height so they are not much taller than the meter.
Tips and warnings
- Skip the waiting period by planting taller or more mature bushes. Also small trees such as crepe myrtles can be planted and maintained at a low height so they are not much taller than the meter.