Road noise is something that can plague even the nicest and most expensive of properties. If you want to live anywhere near civilisation, road noise is (unfortunately) part of the package. Road/traffic noise can be anything from, most commonly, the noise of tires against pavement all the way through to loud stereos, car horns and tire screeching.
Some people find the sound of traffic relaxing as it’s a little reminiscent of white noise, waterfalls or waves on the beach but if you’re not one of these people, here are a few methods for landscaping to reduce road noise.
This might sound like an obvious solution, but solid barriers are one of the cheapest ways to help deflect sound pollution away from your home, business or garden. A solid wall about 2 meters tall will effectively deflect and reduce traffic noise but it may not be feasible in your area, or cost effective. However, Solid wood fencing can be much easier to install, as effective, and uses less space than a brick wall.
Barriers don’t even need to be as high as 2 meters, a waist high wall can very effective if close to the source of sound, such as along the road. However, if you’re a little further away from the noise, it has already dispersed and the largest barrier possible is the most effective.
If you’re not in a position to, or simply don’t want to build a large wall to keep the sound out of your garden, a good option is to introduce some tall vegetation as a barrier. This works in 2 ways. Firstly it works as a physical barrier that stops the sound from reaching your ears by deflection. Secondly, the soft vegetation of the bushes or trees will diffuse and reflected sound. One of the downsides of solid barriers such as walls or fences is that if sound makes it into your garden, the solid surface bounces it around like an echo chamber.
Soft vegetation won’t be as effective as solid fencing or walls, but it will help reduce the overall ambient volume. Vegetation has the added benefit of not requiring planning permission, being cost effective and won’t be as intrusive looking as tall fencing.
An effective solution would be a good mix of the two; a solid wall to prevent sound from entering the garden and then soft vegetation to absorb any sound that manages to find its way in and stop it from echoing.
Another option is not to necessarily remove the noise, but to mask it. We mentioned earlier that some people like the sound of distant traffic as it’s often reminiscent of a water feature. A popular landscaping trick is to install water features and vegetation that produce natural and pleasing sounds that mask the sound population from roads. Water features will waterfalls or fountains can create soothing sounds that effectively mask the sound.
Alternatively, choose plants that are also particularly noisy from small breezes. Vegetation such as bamboo and pampass grass produces audible rustling from the slightest of movement and not only helps mask the noise, but reduces it (as mentioned earlier, in the vegetation section).
Ultimately, it’s extremely difficult to completely remove traffic noise and other sound pollution from your garden, home or business. People pay a great premium for tranquillity but with the above solutions, you can step that little bit closer.
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