Keep them clear for safety's sake

Utility equipment like meters and transformers aren't the most attractive elements in your yard. But they serve a very important purpose, and for your family's safety it's crucial to make sure they remain accessible.

Leave at least a ten-foot clearance around a padmount transformer (the large green metal boxes), and take special care to keep the doors clear. Electric, gas and water meters need about one foot of clearance on each side.

Do not plant vines or thorny bushes around utility equipment, and keep any type of plant neatly pruned.