Septic Tank Cover Ideas: How to Hide Risers and Avoid Costly Mistakes

Last Updated On June 11, 2024

Updated on August 31, 2023



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how to hide septic tank covers

Do you hate the sight of septic tank risers and covers sticking out in your lawn? Sure, they offer convenient access to your septic system, but let’s face it, they’re not exactly easy on the eyes.

Luckily, there are numerous septic tank cover landscaping ideas you can use. But be careful. Some “ideas” you read online can actually damage your septic tank. We’ll explain…

In this PlumbingNav guide, we will cover:

  • Creative ideas to hide your septic tank cover
  • What to avoid when hiding septic tank risers
  • How to properly disguise septic tank risers and covers

What's In This Guide?

      First, Let’s Unveil the Not-So-Pretty Importance of Septic Tank Covers

      Why are these ugly things even necessary? Septic tank risers resemble green or black manhole covers and extend from the top of your actual tank below your yard. Risers can be made from concrete, but most of them are plastic.

      Septic tank covers make access easy when it’s time for septic tank pumping or repairs. Their absence would mean digging into your yard every time access to your septic tank is needed.

      But we get it; Having one, two, or three of these septic covers sticking up from the ground can be an eyesore. 

      A Quick Note: A traditional septic tank system sends water waste out to a leach field. Some systems use septic mounds when there isn’t enough room for a septic field. Do not confuse the septic mounds with the risers. We’re not talking about dirt mounds here. 

      Septic Riser covers look like this:

      did you know how to hide septic tank covers

      It’s no secret that many homeowners are keen to hide their septic tank covers and risers with creative landscaping ideas. However, figuring out the safest ways to do this can often leave them puzzled and frustrated. Let’s dive into some creative ideas for hiding septic tank covers.

      What Are the Best Septic Tank Cover Landscaping Ideas to Hide Risers?

      Here is a quick list of ideas some people have used to hide their septic tank lids. Click on the links to see actual products and prices.

      • Potted plants that sit on top of risers but aren’t too heavy. (Use an easy-to-move planter box, like this.)
      • A raised garden bed box that sits “above” the covers but is easy enough to move. (Get one like this with wheels.)
      • Set a large trampoline over the area. (These can be easily moved.)
      • A gravel-filled garden around the area with plants and flowers. (Choose shallow roots plants!)
      • Stepping stone paver path nearby to take the focus, with a birdbath and larger rocks.
      • Artist in the house? Paint lid covers with cool designs. No Artist? Paint them to blend in.
      • Picnic table seating area surrounded with gravel and plants. (This one transforms into a bench!)
      • Artificial plastic boulder rocks with a garden area featuring other rocks surrounding it.
      • A sitting bench encircled by a flower garden. 
      • Decorative whiskey barrels filled with flowers.

      There are also some important things to keep in mind when trying to hide your septic covers with landscaping, tho. Read on…

      How to Properly Cover Your Septic Tank 

      Here are the 4 biggest things to consider when deciding on septic tank covering ideas or landscaping.

      Access: Be sure septic professionals can still easily access your lid. Otherwise, you’ll need to disassemble your structure or uproot your pretty plants on a regular basis. Never bury or completely cover risers with dirt and grass.

      Weight: Don’t place more than the rated weight on your septic tank covers. How much weight? There are different types of covers. Some are rated for 2,000 pounds or more. That’s a lot. However, older covers might be brittle from the sun. Don’t let a landscaping crew drive or park on the septic system if you hire this out.

      Roots: Don’t plant trees nearby or bushes with deep roots. These can penetrate your tank or drain lines, causing you more expensive problems than the original eyesore. 

      Visibility: You may you don’t want to see it, but make sure others know it’s there. Some 

      Watch this video to learn some wrong and right ways to hide a septic lid:

      Here are some creative landscaping ideas on Pinterest for hiding your septic tank cover!

      Covering Septic Tanks: Pitfalls to Avoid with Landscaping

      Let’s dive deeper into some common pitfalls you should avoid when hiding septic tank covers.

      1. Do Not Completely Bury Septic Tank Risers

      You’ll hear inexperienced people say, “Just bury the covers. You don’t need to access very often.” Do not bury septic tank risers. They must be aboveground to prevent groundwater from entering your septic tank system, and providing easy access without digging is their sole purpose.

      2. Don’t Cover Septic Tank Mounds

      Mounds are completely different than risers. Mounds contribute to the drainage system. Mounds should not be covered or receive newly planted trees. They won’t work properly, and this is a SUPER expensive repair. Don’t, just don’t. A typical septic system can cost between $3,000 and $7,000 to install.

      3. Don’t Use Heavy Statues

      While an attractive statue can cover the riser cover, you will need to move the statue to gain access to the riser. A smaller one is just fine. But don’t use a super heavy statue or any other type of heavy decoration on top of the riser lid. 

      4. Don’t Plant Vegetable Gardens Nearby

      Vegetable gardens require a lot of water and nutrients. Their presence can interrupt the proper function of the septic system’s drain field, but also become contaminated from leaks due to their proximity. “Honey, why do the tomatoes taste funny?” Gross. 

      Learn more about proper landscaping in and around your septic system.

      Over 20% of American households rely on septic systems for wastewater treatment.

      Ideas for Hiding Septic Tank Covers, Risers, & Lids

      Your septic tank lids can be an eyesore. Luckily, there are small steps you can take to improve the appearance of your yard and drain field. We hope these guidelines, tips, and the images shown above help enhance your yard by disguising your septic tank covers.

      The Right Way for Hiding Septic Tank Risers

      Follow the following tips to hide septic tank risers the right way.

      1. Consider the Diameter

      Your septic tank riser will come in one of several diameters with 20″ being the most common. Be sure to know the diameter before you head to Lowes or Home Depot. This will come in handy if order a decorative rock, wine barrel, or flower pot online to disguise your septic cover.

      2. Plant Natural Grass With Fibrous Roots

      Natural grass or a small shrub with fibrous roots can help hide the septic tank riser in your yard by surrounding the area, and taking the focus away from lids. Furthermore, the plants can absorb excess moisture in the area.

      While grass works well, don’t use trees within 25 feet as roots that can infiltrate the pipes leading toward or away from your septic system.

      3. Allow Easy Access to the Cover

      Naturally, you’ll need access to the cover regularly for maintenance or when your tank is full. Be sure to pick a cover that you can move easily, like a fake stone or wine barrel. Potted plants around the septic cover are easy to move, but a gazebo? Not so much. Regular maintenance of a septic system can prevent costly repairs and prolong its lifespan.

      4. Paint the Septic Tank Riser

      You can always embrace the septic tank riser and turn it into part of your landscaping design by painting it in a way that matches the rest of your lawn’s decor. Make sure you use paint that is rated for exterior use.

      5. Contribute to Your Landscaping Design

      Septic tank risers don’t need to be an eyesore. Get creative! Use a rock garden, raised bed planter, or bench with landscaping to hide septic tank covers. As long as you are mindful of the “no-no’s”, you can get creative with these ideas and make a plan that fits your specific yard.

      Can I cover my septic tank lid with dirt?

      No, you cannot completely cover your septic tank lid with dirt. Your lid needs to extend at least 2 inches, but often higher to deter ground water from entering your system. Excess groundwater will hinder how your septic tank works

      Can you fully bury septic tank risers?

      Unfortunately, you can’t bury septic tank risers. The risers must be above ground level to prevent plumbing backflow.

      FAQ’s for Covering Your Septic Tank

      Are there any specific regulations or codes I need to follow when concealing my septic system?

      Yes, there are indeed specific regulations and codes you need to follow when concealing your septic system. These rules vary from state to state, county to county, and even city to city. Check with your local county official.

      How can I hide my septic tank cover?

      Some of the things you can use to hide your septic tank cover include:

      • Pea Gravel with flowers
      • Prarie Grass surround
      • Light statue
      • Wine Barrel 
      • Potted plants
      • Bird baths
      • Trampoline
      • Picnic Table

      What do you put above a septic tank lid?

      Use something lightweight and easy to move on your septic tank lid. You’ll want access to the lid regularly, so avoid large statues, heavy birdbaths, and structures like a gazebo.

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      About Plumbing Navigator

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      We write about “all things plumbing,” helping you navigate common questions, repairs, and the best plumbing products on the market.

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