Living on a busy street has plenty of advantages, such as close proximity to great restaurants and shops. Living on a busy street is convenient and fun; one of the only issues is the noise. In fact, one of the greatest concerns regarding living on a busy street is how to block out road noise with landscaping elements.
Noise really impacts the human mind. It is one of the few things we can never actually drown out. Constant noise pollution has many negative impacts on you, ranging to include hearing loss from excessively loud sounds, to insomnia and anxiety. According to architectural designers, the following 5 ideas for landscaping on a busy street will make your property stand out in a good way and also help block out some of the road noise.
1. Install The Right Kind Of Fencing
All fencing is going to help reduce some road noise, but not all options are going to reduce noise equally. A plank fence, for instance, is not substantial enough to completely block out sound waves, as the sound can still escape through the slits in the planks. You need a fencing material that is so solid it actually blocks sound waves from traveling through. The density of a wall impacts how much sound it blocks, hence why solid building materials such as brick, stone, and stucco make for great options on busy roads.
Make sure your fence reaches down to the ground, otherwise you are going to hear the full force of car tires as they pass by all day, and maybe even all night. A fence that is too low is going to allow other noises direct access. The fence should be as tall as the source of the noise to help avoid hearing it. If you have a high balcony or deck attached to your home, even a fence measuring 8 to 10 feet is not going to substantially block out the noise.
Material is just as important as the actual construction. The fence should be built with attention to detail to prevent the formation of any holes or weak points where sound can slip right through.
The best suggestion is to build as tall of a fence as local regulations permit. In many locations, especially on a busy street, super tall fences are not allowed. If this is the case for your property, know that even a fence measuring 2 ½-foot-high is going to block out more noise than no fence. Also, any size fence helps make your home feel separated from the busy street. (Read here)
2. Add A Water Feature
You can’t make the noise of a busy street go away completely but you can help drown it out with a much more peaceful noise than speeding cars. A water feature provides a soothing, tranquil sound that is continuous and at the same frequency rate as the less desirable noises coming from the street.
Place the water feature as close to your home or patio as possible, the closer it is in proximity the more it will drown out the road noises. Since all of the sounds are going at the same frequency you will hear the sound closest to you, which is the water fountain.
Water features can’t block out a honking horn or other abnormally loud sounds, but for everyday peace of mind water features offer superior distraction. Plus, water elements look great in any yard, adding to the overall landscape design.
3. Plant Tall, Lush Trees
Trees make every landscape look better, and they also offer a lot of privacy if you live on a busy street. Although it is assumed that trees help reduce sound, they actually do little to nothing to absorb any noise. Psychologically though, the old-age saying ‘out of sight, out of mind’ really does exist. When we can’t see the source of the road noise it is easier to ignore it and forget it’s there. Trees also help absorb pollutants released by passing vehicles, improving your air quality.
A solid, tall wall is going to block out the noise much better than trees, but trees provide the perfect way to soften the look of a large masonry wall. Planting trees in front or behind the fence provides added privacy, beauty, and helps better separate your property from a busy street.
You don’t have to completely wall yourself away, and you don’t have to use trees either. Any rich foliage will act as a great barrier between your home and the street.
4. Keep Vegetable And Fruit Gardens As Far From The Street As Possible
If you plan to add edible elements to your landscaping you should find a place to do so as far away from the street as possible. Auto emissions release high levels of lead, which isn’t good for an edible garden. Keep ornamental plants near the road, and leave the spaces farthest from the street for edible foliage. Not to be a Debbie Downer, but you should also keep your edible garden at least at least 3 feet from the outskirts of your home and porch. The surrounding soil of a building foundation contains the highest levels of lead compared to other parts of the yard.
5. Attract Birds With The Right Plants
Grow trees and shrubs that attract birds and you can help remove some of the street noise in exchange for the sound of beautiful birds. The neighborhood birds will also appreciate your efforts; after all it’s not easy to find good sources of seeds and pollen when you are a bird living in a big city or crowded suburb.
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