Hiding that Heating Tank

Ways to camouflage, hide and de-emphasize your tank.

The yard is shaping up now, flower buds are sprouting and the bunny rabbits are enjoying noshing on freshly mown grass. Ah, springtime. It’s beautiful! And then there’s that jarring, stark-white fuel tank next to the house. [Sigh.]

There is no escaping the utilitarian, almost industrial look of your home’s heating oil or propane tank. It’s absolutely necessary but not aesthetically pleasing to have as part of your home’s landscape. You can accept it for what it is because after all, it’s not going anywhere. Or, you can cleverly make it “disappear”.

Rather than planting beds of bright flowers at the base of the tank, which only draws the eye, use the following design principles to work around the tank.

Natural Screening:

Since your fuel tank is already part of the landscape, you might choose to make it blend in with the natural screening. By strategically planting greenery around your tank, incorporating the plantings into a larger landscape plan, you can effectively hide it almost entirely from view. Give the tank plenty of air around it and leave an opening in a logical place for your heating tank to still be accessible for refilling or servicing, when needed.

Use shrubs, evergreen trees, and ornamental grasses are great landscaping elements to act as a natural privacy screen and hides the tank. Plant them strategically to screen undesirable views, and choose evergreen shrubs for year-round service. Be sure to choose plants that will grow tall enough to hide the tank, usually about 6 feet.

Note: Be sure to plant trees at least 10 feet away from the oil or propane tank so their roots don’t extend to interfere with the tank.

Fencing & Screens:

A common approach is to use fencing and screens to hide it from view. Picket fences and lattice screens can be purchased from home-improvement stores and are easily put together.  The open weave design would allow plenty of required airflow, but would still offer substantial camouflage. Be careful to leave adequate access to the tank and proper ventilation. Avoid completely enclosing the propane tank with fencing, but instead, use your fence camouflage. This is especially important if you live in areas that have a snow accumulation, as the enclosed area can easily fill up, making it extremely difficult for your propane provider to access the tank.


The landscaping or fencework should still allow easy access to the tank for the technician coming to replenish your fuel or service your equipment. Remember to leave plenty of space between the screen and the equipment so it does not create a fire hazard. In fact, PVC/plastic or metal screening might be a safer choice.

If those ideas don’t appeal to you, you could choose to hide your tank in plain sight by artfully disguising it. Paint your tank to color coordinate with your home or to resemble something totally different and fun. We found some interesting  Pinterest solutions and some other conventional solutions to hide the “eyesore” that keeps you warm, but the options are somewhat limitless.

Feel free to reach out to Hillside for tips on how to do this safely, and to double check that your tank can handle any refurbishing around the area. We’re always available by phone, email, and Facebook.