Most people strive to make their yards peaceful. A place of chirping birds and kids playing in the yard. But, not one of noisy neighbors and sounds of bustling traffic. Yet no yards are perfect. There is bound to be a honking car, a yelling couple or a unsightly neighboring yard. Thankfully a new trend called, “soundscaping” is restoring some serenity.
Designers are using soundscaping to create quieter living spaces for homeowners. The effort to restore peaceful and more natural sounds like rolling leaves and dripping rain water is underway. Architects are designing quieter spaces using trees to mute the noises.
Soundscaping to the Fullest
Massive walls and tall fences are a thing of the past. Walls are commonly used to soften freeway noises, but are not aesthetically pleasing. Vegetation is a good alternative for minimizing the background clatter. Not just any vegetation does the job though. Trees with lower, denser branches masks and deflects noises best. A commonly used tree are Evergreens. These are the preferred vegetative sound barriers because they are densely branched and are attractive year-round.
Other plants such as shrubs also help with noise pollution. Although shrubs are dense, they lack the height of a trees. Although, they do grow more quickly which can help initially before the tree grows to desired size. The plants you choose should not only serve for functionality but aesthetic appeal. Choose a plant based on the fruit, flowers, canopy shapes, fragrance and fall colors.
Add a screen of vegetation as a barrier for noise, privacy and aesthetics. Adding a water feature can also aid in killing unwanted noise. The sound of running water easily adds tranquility to a space. No matter the plant you use, consider irrigation as well. Having a well designed irrigation system put in place will only allow the wall to flourish.
In addition to being noise barriers, vegetation gives us green spaces that get us outside, encourages exercise, helps reduce stress levels, helps us concentrate better and feel less fatigue. Other benefits of trees are improvement of air quality. Trees absorb many of the air pollutants through their foliage.
The cooling shade from trees also provides economic benefits. Among other things, we don’t have to run our air conditioners as much.
To create these noise barriers you have to have space. In urban areas, where soundscaping is most needed, there often isn’t enough space for planting trees and shrubs between the noise source and homes, especially for trees with low-hanging foliage. On the upside, foliage, branches and trunks also do a decent job of dispersing sound energy, especially in the high frequency ranges.
Consider adding more soundscape elements into your next design. It will enhance a landscape and show off the possibilities for an irrigation system.