9 Ways to Reduce Highway Noise in Your Backyard

Hoping to enjoy a nice sunny weekend in your backyard only to hear cars honking? Noise pollution is a real thing, and it’s stopping a lot of homeowners from enjoying time outside. If you too have this problem, allow me to show you how to reduce highway noise in your backyard.

What is Noise Reduction Landscaping?

Noise reduction landscaping means customizing the perimeter of your yard to block as much noise outside of it as possible.

Your landscaping should interrupt the line of sight between your living area and the noise source to successfully block noise. For instance, if you live on a busy roadway, your barrier should be taller than the tops of the enormous trucks that travel through your neighborhood on a daily basis.

Additionally, noise-reducing landscaping gives privacy, which is especially beneficial in metropolitan regions with densely packed housing. While no amount of gardening will fully eliminate adjacent noise, there are ways to mitigate it and reclaim your outdoor area.

Why Is it Important to Reduce Noise in your Backyard?

Soundproofing your backyard might benefit you in a variety of ways. You get to be a good neighbor by hosting barbecues without bothering the others.

Additionally, it helps your neighbors to be more considerate of you by maintaining your privacy and avoiding you from being disturbed while enjoying your backyard by their noises.

Soundproofing can help dampen loud noises, allow you to talk to the people around you, and a quiet environment to fully enjoy your garden.

It’s critical to consider the impact of excessive noise on our mental and emotional wellbeing. A quieter setting helps to alleviate stress, hearing impairments, and hypertension, all of which can be exacerbated by prolonged exposure to excessive noise.

How to Reduce Noise in Your Backyard?

1. Water Features

Adding a water feature creates white noise

Running water generates white noise, which is pleasant to the ear and helps to mask unpleasant sounds. Rather than using a hose to fill water features, use recycled fresh water from rain buckets or within the home.

While you await the arrival of the hot shower water, fill a bucket with cold water. Then fill your water feature.

Additionally, the water component does not have to be enormous to be successful. Nonetheless, it must be close to the listener to have the greatest impact. Place it near outside seating areas or close proximity to the house, depending on the noise level.

Many pumps are equipped with timers, while others are powered by solar energy, which may not be sufficient to power the pump for an entire 24-hour cycle.

Fountains can effectively drown out lawn mowers, constant traffic, and other noises with the same frequency range. They are helpless against honking horns, sirens, and the like.

Adding a water feature creates white noise that drowns out the sound rather than diminishing it, but the end result is the same. Substituting more calming sounds for unpleasant noise.

The water feature might be as simple as purchasing a tabletop water fountain or as elaborate as establishing a small water creek on your lawn.

2. Plant Trees

tree in yard block noise

Trees use the power of sound attenuation to act as noise-blocking barriers. They help dampen the sound because the sound waves dissipate over long distances. Vibrations get lost the further sound travels.

The more surfaces in the tree, the better the noise suppression. Tanaka et al. discovered that broadleaved plants block noise more effectively than needle-leaf trees. Additionally, some studies indicate that the greatest noise attenuation occurs at ground level, particularly in woodlands.

3. Build a Masonry Wall

masonry wall backyard idea

Having a brick wall can solve the problem of exterior noise polluting your yard. The combination of brick and mortar should provide you with a massive and dense surface.

Granted, it’s a tad more expensive than other ways of reducing highway noise in your backyard, but it’s worth it. Material cost is pretty high, and you could end up paying a consistent sum of money if you have a large enclosure.

Also, factor in the costs of hiring professionals to put up the wall if you don’t have the tie or expertise to do it yourself. Note that some locations require a permit for building a masonry wall.

4. Install Wind Chimes

wind chimes backyard hanging bush in background

Wind chimes, one of the most affordable ideas on this list, have been utilized in zen gardens for ages to improve the energy in a space. Wind chimes’ soothing tunes cover undesirable sounds and are said to have a variety of beneficial effects, from reducing idleness to welcoming prosperity into the home.

Select a wind chime material to complete the look of your yard. For instance, you can soften the appearance of metal by adding wooden wind chimes. Alternatively, if you wish to adhere to feng shui rules, the precise location of the wind chimes will be critical.

5. Plants that Block Noise

plants block noise

If you choose to utilize plants, a row of dense hedges is the most effective way to block sound, but layering plants in front of that is even better.

Ascertain that the hedge picked has branches that extend to the ground, as any holes will allow sound waves to pass through. Boxwoods are frequently employed as noise-blocking hedges due to their ease of shaping.

Many homeowners like to incorporate hedges into stone or paver ornamental or retaining walls due to the more aesthetically attractive appearance. Additionally, tall hedges are not subject to permit requirements.

Your sound-blocking plant options include Siberian Cypress, ivy, hosta, creeping juniper, laurel, holly, and others.

6. Install Outdoor Speakers

installing outdoor speakers to drown noise

You can always turn to a set of outdoor speakers to replace some of that street noise with enjoyable tunes. You can pair those speakers with an outdoor TV if your setup allows it. This will allow you to watch your favorite shows outside while getting some fresh air.

However, the role of these speakers is to add sound to your backyard that could mask unwanted noises coming from beyond your property.

Adding a pleasant sound to your yard is one technique to cover noisy noises. Additionally referred to as making white noise, this technique generates a quieter, more serene ambiance.

Other sources of masking white noise include wind moving through plants, leaf rustling, bamboo and quaking aspen, and pleasant animal sounds. If your property lacks these sounds naturally, consider purchasing an outdoor white noise machine that replicates them.

7. Hedges and Shrubs

Hedges and Shrubs

Through plants, you can assist limit the quantity of sound transferred to and from your yard. Feel free to plant shrubs, hedges, and other dense vegetation to reduce noise levels by up to ten decibels.

Broad-leaf dense evergreen hedges that remain green and thick all year are ideal for sound reduction, as are junipers with dense branches. These plants are more successful at blocking sound than plants with narrower leaves. Additionally, they can aesthetically balance out and soften up an otherwise frigid fence look.

8. Build a Fence

fence to block noise and vision

A fence designed to act as a noise barrier will typically be constructed of thick tongue-and-groove boards to provide an impermeable barrier. These planks are fastened to substantial rails, which are supported by substantial support.

As a general rule, mass dampens sound the best. This means that fencing intended to block road noise must be heavier compared to regular fencing.

Likewise, brick barriers are more successful at isolating road noise than even the greatest wooden fences. Earthen walls (referred to as “berms”) also produce excellent noise barriers if built high enough, which requires a lot of dirt.

However, if you insist on utilizing wood, aim for a tall and strong fence. A soundproofing substance called “mass-loaded vinyl” can be added to a timber noise-barrier fence to increase its effectiveness. Make sure that you use vinyl that’s suitable for outdoor applications.

It is easier to apply mass-loaded vinyl during the construction of a fence than after it has been installed. While the latter is undoubtedly doable, it would require removing fence panels and reattaching them afterward.

Installing mass-loaded vinyl is straightforward provided you’re familiar with the fundamental components of a wooden fence.

Consider a PVC privacy fence if you’re looking for a less-maintenance option than a wooden fence. PVC fences come in various colors to complement any home’s design plan. Noise reduction PVC fences include an interlocking tongue-and-groove design that efficiently blocks sound waves.

9. Pour a Concrete Wall

concrete outdoor wall idea

Concrete walls attenuate noise by around 50%. Additionally, it is costly and time-consuming if you do not make a profession doing this. Ascertain that you obtain the necessary permits. If you are forced to dismantle your fence for any reason, it is costly, inconvenient, and you will still need to replace it with something.

Backyard Noise Reduction FAQs

What is White Noise?

White noise is a sort of noise created by mixing sounds of varying frequencies. White noise is created by combining all of the tones that a human can hear.

What Should Expect it to Cost to Soundproof Your Backyard?

The cost will vary greatly depending on what you intend to do. For instance, building a brick wall is going to be way more expensive than purchasing a white noise machine and some outdoor speakers. Mass-loaded vinyl usually costs between $2 and $5 per square foot, while wind chimes cost between $6 and $100.

What is Sound Absorption?

Acoustic absorption is how a structure, object, or material absorbs sound energy rather than reflecting it. A portion of the energy received is converted to heat and the remainder is delivered through the absorbing body.

What’s the Difference Between Sound Deflection and Reflection?

The term “sound deflection” refers to sound waves that are reflected, dispersed, diffracted, or refracted by an obstruction. It depends on the size, composition, density of the barrier, and wavelength of the sound.

Sound reflection occurs when a sound wave collides with an obstruction’s uniform surface, deflecting all or part of the wave in the direction of the region of incidence.

When a sound wave in a medium reaches a stiff impediment that is larger than the wavelength of the sound, the obstacle reflects the majority of the sound. When an obstacle’s dimensions are minimal, the sound wave bends around it, and the reflected sound is negligible.

Can a Pergola Help Reduce Traffic Noise in My Backyard?

You can convert an inner corner of your yard into a noise-free haven. Adding an enclosure to your backyard helps to further reduce noise pollution. This enclosure could be a pergola or a gazebo.

Can a Swimming Pool Help Reduce Traffic Noise in My Backyard?

Water features are a good way to reduce traffic noise, but a swimming pool won’t have the same effect.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know how to reduce highway noise in the backyard, weighing all the options is important. First, decide how much effort you want to invest in soundproofing. 

The subjective perception of sound, which is studied in the science of psychoacoustics, varies from person to person. That means there is no one-method-fits-all to best soundproof your backyard.

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