Having a quiet place to relax and unwind after a long, hectic day can help lower stress levels. Imagine if that secluded spot existed right in your Bristol, RI, backyard! Updating your landscape design to reduce the sounds of traffic, construction, or nearby neighbors will make your backyard feel more serene. Create a quiet outdoor escape with these landscape design ideas.
Reducing Noise in Your Backyard
When you’ve decided to expand your living footprint to the outside with inviting outdoor rooms, you’ll want peace and quiet. Otherwise, it’ll be hard to relax and enjoy your surroundings if you’re overwhelmed by unpleasant sounds.
Two common methods can be deployed to combat noise pollution. They are known as sound deflection and sound attenuation. Knowing the difference between the two can help you decide which method is best for your landscape design.
Sound deflection uses a barrier to deflect sound waves back to their source. This can be very effective to block noise but requires a large obstacle (such as a wall or building) to deflect the sounds. Sound attenuation helps lower the intensity of the sound by using materials that absorb and dampen noise.
When looking for ways to create quiet areas outside, there are a few things to keep in mind: Sound travels in waves that usually move upward from the source. Plants can effectively absorb, deflect, and dampen noise. And pleasant white noise can help mask unpleasant sounds.
Plant a Privacy Border
Trees and shrubs not only look beautiful, they can also help muffle neighborhood noises. Planting a row of thick evergreens such as cedar, spruce, or juniper will create a barrier that can increase privacy and reduce an unwanted sound. If you’re dreaming of more color, ask your landscape design specialist about combining different varieties of evergreens. Or, for an even more colorful option, consider trees that have large canopies with colorful blooms to help dampen surrounding noises.
Layering plants creates a more natural looking landscape and also helps block out unwanted noises. Combining trees, shrubs, and ornamental grasses creates a natural vertical barrier that offers sound-dampening effects. Columnar trees should make up the back and tallest layer, while shrubs and grasses can act as the middle layer, with shorter plants and groundcover along the bottom. If you are working with a smaller landscape, live walls and hanging gardens can also provide a sound-dampening layer.
Include a Water Feature
If you aren’t able to block all incoming noises, masking them with a pleasant sound can also be effective. A stream with a waterfall brings the soothing sound of flowing water to your property, to help cover unwanted noises. It will also invite birds and wildlife to your yard, further enhancing your tranquil space. For more effective sound coverage, place the water feature near your quiet area and add in a fence or plant barrier.
Add a Wall or Fence
A tall wall or fence can be very helpful in deflecting neighborhood noises. Solid materials such as brick or stone will redirect sound waves back toward the source. In order to block noises effectively, the fence or wall has to be high enough to prevent the sound waves traveling over it.