May
06

Stop The Noise: Create a Quiet Backyard Space

Contributed By: BAG Editors

Merriam Webster’s definition of noise is sound; especially one that lacks agreeable musical quality or is noticeably unpleasant.

Do you want to create a quiet, peaceful outdoor space where you can go and decompress and relax in your favorite garden rocking chair with a good book?  Do you live in an area where noise is a constant part of life?  Even if you live outside of a city in suburbia or in a rural area, you may have noise invading your life from sources beyond your control, such as traffic from nearby roads, noisy neighbors, or mechanical noises like rattling air conditioners or buzzing lawn mowers.  Unfortunately, unpleasant noise can come from all directions.  Wouldn’t it be great to have a place where you can enjoy some solitude?  Read on to discover ways to reduce the racket around you.

Water featureYou may need to attack this from several different fronts and with several different types of landscape supplies.  A plant barrier alone may not be enough to noticeably reduce the cacophony from a nearby road.  This may require a denser barrier and even a competing pleasant sound from a water feature.  Here are a few common examples of noise reducing barriers.

Plants

If you choose to go with this method, you will need to create layers of dense shrubbery or hedge that is tall, evergreen and fast growing.  This method will not reduce noise by much, but it’s generally more aesthetically pleasing than constructing a concrete barrier or fence.  Hedges do make a good visual barrier.

  • Fast growing hedges, such as Arborvitae (Thuja,) Holly trees, Privet Hedge or Leyland Cypress, will work well for this.  Check with your local nursery for hardiness in your area.
  • Plant several rows thick and stagger so you get a more solid blockade
  • Depending on your taste, hedges may be trimmed to look more sleek and contemporary or left to grow naturally for a more rustic, natural look.

Fences

This type of noise barrier may be more effective at reducing the clatter around you, but has it’s own drawbacks.  You may live in an area that has restrictions on building fences, as many neighborhoods do these days.  The cost is another consideration.  Depending on the density, length and height of your fence, it is most likely going to cost more than planting a hedge.  Keep in mind that the barrier here needs to be above the noise.  Here are a few types of privacy fences to consider:

  • Masonry wall – stone, brick or stucco covered concrete make the best sound barriers due to their density.
  • Wood fencing – needs to be solid with no gaps between or below the boards, since sound will find the path of least resistance.
  • Acoustifence – is a heavy mineral filled visco elastic acoustical material.  Used primarily in commercial applications, it is also available for residential use.  Not as aesthetically pleasing as other barriers, but according to information on their website, it is extremely effective.
  • Vinyl fencing – has come a long way and is made to simulate a wood appearance.  There are obvious benefits in using this type of material, such as low maintenance, durability and installation ease.

Natural Noise Reduction

  • Berms – may be one of the most effective, economical methods of reducing the clatter from your life.  Building a berm in combination with stone or plants can make a pleasing, effective sound barrier.
  • Water Features – while not technically a barrier, these can be great at counteracting unpleasant sounds with pleasant sounds, like a waterfall, a man made stream that trickles into a pond or a bubbling boulder.

Noise Reduction Technology

  • Noise cancellation products that work in the same way as noise canceling headphones.  A company by the name of Comfozone, Inc. makes several products aimed at noise reduction including a “nature sound generator” with outdoor speakers, acoustic panels and noise traps.  Any one of these products may be exactly what you need to create a peaceful environment in your backyard.

The quest for quiet and solitude is something most of us search for at least some time in our lives.  The place we normally look for this is in our own homes, for this is where we find sanctuary at the end of each day.  Don’t we all deserve a little serenity?  Check with your local landscape company for your particular situation, or do it yourself but check out some of the options above for reducing the noise in your life.

The author of this article, Kimberly Aardal, is the publisher of EveryDayRockingChairs.com and enjoys writing about the many ways to create a more peaceful and relaxing environment.  When she’s not rocking in her favorite outdoor rocker, she is writing about outdoor wood furniture.  Kimberly loves hiking and exploring the magnificent Rocky Mountains with her husband, Jon, and their Yellow Lab, Ginger.

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