Despite their size, there are a number of landscaping ideas you can try to hide your propane tank in your garden. As long as you follow the design tips outlined at the end of this article, you can explore what idea – or ideas – work best for you.
The best way to hide a propane tank in your yard is to ensure whatever you add to hide it from view blends into your surrounding garden. Otherwise you are replacing one conspicuous element with another.
Some excellent techniques you can use to hide your propane tank in your yard include:
- Plant around it – with small trees, bushes and grasses
- Add trellises in front of it – with or without plants
- Place potted plants around the propane tank
- Build up earth berms around the tank and plant on them
- Build raised garden beds
- Add trellises to raised garden beds as well
- Position walls or fences around it
- Surround the tank with mobile covers – fences, trellises, containers with plants
- Place artificial rock covers (with opening lids for access) over the tank
- Throw camouflage netting over the tank
- Paint the tank to blend into the background – or with it’s surroundings
- A combination of these ideas – layering walls, plants, trellises, berms or mobile elements like pots or containers
As many propane tanks sit on a concrete base, that is likely to impact where an idea can be placed and how large you can make them. Let’s explore each one in turn and how you can think about implementing them around your propane tank in your garden.
1. Plant Around Your Propane Tank
Planting around your propane tank is a simple, cheap and effective way of hiding it. I mentioned above the idea of blending the solution into your surroundings and that is definitely true when planting around the tank.
The image above is a reasonable start, but to me could use a little more filling out around the rest of the tank. If you have the opportunity, make the plants part of a larger garden bed and not just sitting immediately around the tank.
This turns the area from a tank with screening plants into a garden bed with a tank in it. The main feature of the space becomes the garden bed (or grove of trees) rather than the tank.
So how do you do this? The best way is to layer your plantings. Have a core set of plants (of one species or many) that form the bulk of the mass hiding the tank. Then add in other elements “above” and “below” this layer.
Have some taller elements like trees or taller shrubs to create some vertical interest and variety to form the top layer. Then add some smaller plantings – grasses and other shrubs – along with ground covers, to form the bottom layer.
If you care more about the view from your house, you can put more effort and time into planting out that side of the propane tank. Then make things a bit more simple around the other side.
Choose plants that suit your environment, and make sure you provide a reasonable offset from the tank so you can still access it if needed. You also want to keep an access way (at least a path through the plants, maybe with some stepping stones) so suppliers can reach and refill the tank.
2. Use Trellises To Hide Your Propane Tank From View
Trellises are a quick, simple way to immediately hide or cover your propane tank. Not only do they look nice on their own, they can also support climbing plants – something to eventually fill out and provide even more coverage in a few years.
Depending on the size of the trellis – the upright poles and beams – you may need to have footings. This shouldn’t be a problem, just keep in mind you want to have an offset from the tank, so you can get around the tank and the trellises.
The image above – while not showing a propane tank – has another good idea, which is to have separate panels. Individual panels can be more flexible, allowing you to position them in strategic locations – such as between the house and the propane tank, or your entertaining area and the tank.
Another nice touch is how they’ve staggered the panels above – they’re not set in a straight line like normal. This little change adds some dynamism to them – they become more of a feature and not just something hiding something else.
You can imagine your propane tank with three or four panels in front of it at various staggered positions. Add in some plants around it, and suddenly the tank is less interesting than the other elements in the space.
3. Place Pot Plants Around Your Propane Tank
Planting in pots or containers around your propane tank is a great way to hide it. This ticks a few safety and design boxes:
- Quickly adds height to hide your tank, with both the plants and pot/container providing plenty of coverage
- Keeps your plant roots and water away from the base of the tank
- If positioned correctly, you can get relatively close to the tank while still allowing access to maintain and refill it
- If absolutely required, you can move them (with assistance most likely) – to get more access or to shelter your plants during winter
- You can tie the space into your broader garden design by using the pots/containers in other parts of the yard – ‘echoes’ that tie spaces together
The other benefit is you can mix and match what kinds of pots/containers you want to use.
You can opt for something more utilitarian like stock containers – keeping sizes and appearances standard – like we see above. Or you can mix and match sizes, shapes and heights – make something a little more interesting – like the pots below.
Obviously whatever you go with, you want it to tie into your overall garden style and aesthetic.
4. Build Earth Berms To Hide Your Propane Tank & Plant Them
A berm is a build up of earth above ground, often in a longer row than an individual mound. Generally found on larger properties, they are a simple way to provide some coverage in front of your propane tank. The garden above is a little more sculptural, but you can see how useful a berm could be to help hide a one.
They require some space to build, and a certain cross section shape to look more natural – if that is your aim (as shown in the image below). The benefit is they can be planted out to add even more height and coverage.
And if you have the inclination you can create some fascinating hills and valleys, adding something interesting to the landscape. Just keep in mind they may alter how water flows across the ground, so you want to make sure you don’t direct water to the tank itself.
They are not for everyone, but could be an interesting approach to hiding a propane tank – especially if you can get a bulldozer or other heavy machinery to get it done.
5. Surround Your Propane Tank With Raised Garden Beds
Like pots or containers, raised beds quickly add height and can take the eye away from the propane tank behind it. They provide the same benefits you find with pots, but are likely to be more permanent and more expensive.
That said, if you DIY your raised beds, you can make them whatever size and shape you like. This way you can accommodate all sorts of plants and even small trees – something a little harder to do with pots that come in a set size.
Like pots, raised beds are a great way to tie the area into other parts of your yard. Match the raised bed material/face to your architecture or other parts of your garden – brick, timber, concrete, stone etc. – to help it blend into your yard.
Perhaps the only difficulty with raised beds is ensuring you provide adequate access to and around the tank. You’re can’t really move them, so you need a large enough offset to get around the tank if needed.
6. Add Trellises To Raised Garden Beds To Hide The Propane Tank
This idea takes two previous ideas and combines them. We just saw a raised garden bed can be a great way to add some height in front of a propane tank. Adding a trellis to the back helps you hide it almost immediately.
Plant some climbers to cover the trellis and a row of other plants in front, and soon no one will know a tank sits behind them.
Again, you still want to make sure you can access around the tank and that suppliers can easily refill, so leave enough space where possible. I’d think placing beds and trellises on the visible side, maybe extending to hide the edges, will be enough. See what works for your yard.
7. Place Walls Or Fences Around Your Propane Tank
This approach is easy to do – as shown by Nicole from theinspiredhive above. Check out the link to see how they added a nice white picket fence around their propane tank.
Personally, I’d prefer something a little more robust that completely hides the tank, but if you incorporate a wall or fence into a broader design, then having something like a picket fence may be enough.
A wall could also accommodate bench seating – useful if you intend to utilise the area in front of the propane tank (or between the tank and your house/entertaining space).
Yes you are likely to spend more money and time putting in a low wall, but if you tweak it to suit multiple needs and spaces, it becomes a worthwhile investment.
8. Hide Your Propane Tank With Temporary Mobile Covers
Using mobile or temporary covers makes a lot of sense if you live in an area with harsh winters. If you opted for a raised garden bed, pots or containers to hide your propane tank, making them mobile can allow you to move them inside or under cover if needed.
Another option may be to have mobile trellises, fences or even things like dressing screens/panels. If you are generally OK with having your tank slightly visible day to day, but want to hide it while people are over, you could bring them out to hide it.
Like the other ideas we’ve looked at, this will work better if you blend it into a larger surrounding area, like a garden bed. A dressing screen could be an interesting focal point, sitting in a garden bed. And bringing it in and out means it will be less exposed to the elements and will last longer.
9. Cover Your Propane Tank With Artificial Rock Covers
If the options above are a little too involved – or will take too long to provide coverage – another option is to buy an artificial cover for the tank.
This can be an expensive option, but if you set it up right – blending it into a rock garden or garden bed, for example – it can work really well. I personally don’t love the look, but it may work well in your case.
10. Tie Camouflage Netting Around Your Propane Tank
I found this idea at hometalk.com and think it’s great. Adele was renting the propane tank, and so couldn’t paint it (something we look at next), and anything she planted around it was nibbled away to nothing.
Instead of spending money for an artificial cover like the ones above, she opted for a cheaper camouflage net. As you can see, the result is tremendous. Read more of her approach here.
11. Try Painting Your Propane Tank To Blend Into The Garden
Now painting your propane tank is an interesting option. As you’ll see below, some suppliers and manufacturers won’t allow you to paint your tank.
They prefer them to be cooler colours like light grey, as this reduces the risk of the propane heating up, which could cause problems.
If your provider is happy for you to paint your propane tank, I’d suggest adding some of the ideas we’ve outlined above first, then paint your tank to blend in with that approach.
For example, you can plant around your propane tank, and then paint your tank to blend into the background. Stripes of light green, dark green, brown, rust and grays – like the camouflage netting above – will help it fade into the background of the garden bed.
This won’t work a well if the colour of the landscape changes across the year. In that case, you may be better opting for a more neutral colour, or combination of colours. Or, paint as though it’s winter and then rely on your surrounding plantings to provide coverage during spring and summer.
The down side with painting a tank is you will need to maintain it. It will wear down and ‘thin’ in different places, requiring you to touch up and repaint it periodically.
If you don’t paint it a particular pattern or style, this may not be too much of an issue. You can even repaint some areas differently, to better blend into the surrounding plants.
12. Surround Your Propane Tank With A Combination Of Ideas
Just as you wouldn’t stick to one material or set of furniture in a room, you don’t need to stick with one approach to hide your propane tank. Take a number of the ideas we’ve looked at above, and see if you can make them work in your yard.
Maybe you have a low wall that mostly covers the tank. Extend the wall past the tank edges, and bend it around so you suddenly have an enclosed space you can use for other activities – like a vegetable garden. Throw in some bench seating and you’ve got a nice place to spend some time.
And why not add in some plants and trees, maybe a trellis or two to add some more cover. And if the tank still sticks out a little too much, cover it with some camo or paint it, if you’re allowed.
How much work you put in depends on where the propane tank sits in your yard, how visible it is, and whether you can in fact develop the area around the tank to become something more – like a vegetable garden idea I mentioned above. Not to mention how much money you want to put into it.
If the tank sits out in space with nothing around it, it can be a little more challenging to effectively blend into the background, but not impossible. Even a simple sweeping garden bed or two, as a kind of focal point, can work.
If you want to learn more about the design process, check out either of my paid guides in the sidebar, or my free 6 Step Beginner Guide.
Safety Tips When Hiding Your Propane Tank In Your Yard
Having explored some ways to hide your propane tank above, let’s take a quick look at some safety tips for placing things around a propane tank. This information will help us better position components around the tank, no matter what idea you want to go with.
- Ensure you have enough space around the sides of the tank so you can access them if you need to. Most propane tank manufacturers recommend around 4 feet.
- Make sure the supplier can access the valve and refill the tank when needed. This means not only the space immediately around the tank, but a path through to the valve itself.
- If it snows where you live, make sure you periodically remove any snow that falls on the tank – if it gets too heavy, it can change the shape of the tank slightly, leading to leaks between previously sealed spaces.
- Don’t completely enclose the tank – give it room to breath. This is especially important should a gas leak occur. Too enclosed and the gas can build up, creating a very unsafe space. Some of the examples above – like the artificial rock cover – may not be the best option if this could be an issue. Make sure such a cover has plenty of ventilation slats.
- Some companies do not allow you to paint the tank. This ensures it stays a lighter colour, preventing any potential overheating issues. That said, some companies may let you paint it to help it blend into your garden – check with your manufacturer to be sure.
- Rust is a danger to the tank, so whatever you put around the tank, ensure you are not likely to add excess water around it – especially water pooling at ground level. So for garden beds, irrigation may be better than sprinklers.
- DO NOT PUT ANYTHING FLAMMABLE NEAR IT – no fire pits!
Most of these tips are pretty broad and apply to many of the ideas outlined above.
How To Design Around Your Propane Tank
Basically, you want to keep a decent offset between the tank and whatever you place around it, make sure water won’t collect or pool nearby – especially at ground level – and the propane supplier can easily access and refill the tank.
As many tanks sit on concrete bases, things like raised garden beds or containers are ideal as you can grow plants to hide the tank and ensure water won’t seep or collect at ground level.
When it comes to thinking about designing a space to hide your propane tank, the key is to try and tie it into other parts of your garden – to blend it in. If all you do is attempt to keep the tank out of sight, you’re just replacing one large thing that obviously doesn’t fit with another.
Whatever idea you choose to implement above, make sure it is a similar material and/or colour palette to other spaces in your garden. And try to spread the idea beyond the propane tank edges – that is, have parts of this cover transition into another space.
You can see in a few of the sketches I made above that I have elements extend out past the tank itself. This helps transition from one space to another. Sometime sit doesn’t have to be something that physically crosses a space. As I mentioned above, it could be colours, materials or shapes.
My advice when trying to place anything in front of or around your propane tank is to ensure you repeat those elements – shapes, colours, materials etc. – in other spaces in your garden. Whether that is now or in a future plan.
Again, if want to learn more about how to create a design for your garden, check out my 6 Step Beginner Guide, or the guides in the sidebar.