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Does anyone have a creative/safe way to hide this hideous sewer vent and manhole?

Thanks in advance!

  • Sewer - or septic? Have you got a coity/town pipe that runs through that this is the access for, or have you got a septic system where this is the tank access and there's a drainage field? That would affect what, if anything, you want to plant there. – Ecnerwal Jan 24 '18 at 15:20
  • Voting to close as 'decorating advice'. – isherwood Jan 24 '18 at 15:28
  • These are great questions. This is a house we currently have under contract. The home inspection is on Friday. I will be asking these questions. Thank you so much. – AConrad Jan 24 '18 at 17:11

That concrete riser really should be buried, ideally. So give the idea of dumping a lot of dirt there some serious thought.

Disguising the pipe (and the riser if you don't bury it) has many possible methods, starting at the low end with painting it, since sewer-pipe green stands out quite a bit. As is, you might make the pair resemble a broken-off stump with a branch sticking up using brown/gray/black paints.

Presumably you don't want tree roots right there, but some artificial foliage might help, or some annual vines trained on strings. Going more involved, you put a (removable) windmill or lighthouse (or other decorative motif structure) over them.

  • Those are wonderful ideas. I agree with you. I'm was initially surprised by how high the concrete riser peaks out. – AConrad Jan 24 '18 at 17:10

You could build a decorative wishing well around and over it.

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  • Great idea. I would never have thought of that. – AConrad Jan 24 '18 at 17:09

As someone who is currently living my first Septic home, I would have identified this photo as septic (not sewer- sewer connects to your house underground with pipe from the street) especially with it being downhill and away from the house. I concur that the majority of the cemented portion showing would generally be buried, check the age of the septic- the surrounding dirt may have simply eroded over time. (You should have a septic inspection separate from your general home inspection)

As far as "hiding" it... providing it is indeed septic, there are some things to know. First, you need to find out where your drainage field is, because you cannot build or plant anything significant in that area. The ground is, for practical purposes, hollow in that area and it can't hold the weight of any structures or large root systems. Second, whatever you Do decide to install needs to still allow access to the cap. (the man hole looking part) Think in similar terms to hiding an A/C unit. This is for future maintenance and in case of problems with the unit. Last on my list is that you plan for those who will be around it most often. Do you have kids? Then it should be kid friendly. Is the yard person the only one going near it most days? They need to be able to clearly see the cap from the mower. These sorts of considerations can make or break a project.

It's possible you could fix this with some grass, wildflowers (no deep roots), and a conveniently placed windmill, or you may be more interested in some raised beds, or a vertical garden, or even a mini shed. That part is all up to you. :)

  • Those are great points. This is behind a house we currently have under contract - we are about to close and although we've asked several people, we don't know exactly what this is. There is a creek right behind it and part of our property is what looks like a drainage field. I think you're absolutely right about non-permanent structures, yes I do have little kids, so I have to keep that in mind too. I'm hoping to build some type of windmill, as you mentioned to cover. – AConrad Jan 26 '18 at 12:53
  • The MLS (Multiple Listings Service) sheet on the property should say whether the house is septic or sewer. I would expect to find a note there as well regarding such a large item in the yard. Your Realtor would have the MLS sheet. Also, the GIS (Geographic Information System) for your area would also be able to tell you whether the property has septic or not, along with a Host of other info. Google GIS and your area to find the appropriate site. – Joy Binkley Jan 26 '18 at 20:39
  • Manholes are used to access both septic and sewer systems, both of which "connect to your house with underground pipes." While the vent pipe does tip the balance towards septic slightly there's nothing definitive about this one way or the other (the pipe need not be in the street, for instance) from the picture. – Ecnerwal Jan 26 '18 at 22:32

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