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How to Reduce Traffic Noise in The Backyard

How to Reduce Traffic Noise in The Backyard

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I don't know about you, but sounds are vital to me. I get refreshed by the sound of birdsong and uplifting music, and the same goes with opposite sounds. I also love silence - and in nature or garden, that means a multitude of soothing sounds that fill the space softly like the natural rhythm of breathing.

Natural silence can't be taken for granted or isn't even possible when living in an area with lots of roads, and there is that constant humming background noise of traffic.

When you start tackling the noise pollution in your backyard, it's interesting to notice that the traffic noise is a low-frequency sound. On the contrary, we as humans prefer listening to higher-frequency sounds.

You can't entirely mask low-frequency sounds with high-frequency ones, but you can distract yourself from the low background noise by adding layers of variable, pleasant high-frequency sounds into your garden.

Next, you'll discover four ways to absorb noise and add pleasantly distracting sounds into your garden.



Use Needle Evergreens to Absorb Noise

Did you know that needle evergreens are the best plants to absorb noise along the roads? The older the tree and the rougher the bark, the better they absorb noise. You might not be able to plant a full sound barrier belt into your backyard, but it might be good to add some needle evergreen plants for year-round noise reduction.

The other positive way they help reduce traffic noise is maybe quite surprising that you haven't come to think of - when the wind blows, the stiff needles of conifers create a high-pitched gentle sound that helps hide noise pollution. 



Plants That Move in The Breeze

Other plants that mask the noise or divert our attention from it are the plants that move in the slightest breeze, and their parts create rustling or gentle sounds. Good examples are the uplifting whisper of aspen leaves (Populus tremula) or rustling sounds of grasses with flexible stems like silver grass (Miscanthus sinensis). Bamboos, birches, and giant feather grasses (Stipa gigantea) are also great at masking noise.

All in all, all rough-textured surfaces and soft plant material absorb noise and help you to restore quiet.



Attract Birds to Your Backyard

I don't know about you, but I love birdsong, especially blackbirds' clear flute-like sound in early spring evenings just before dusk. It makes me happy and peaceful.

Studies even prove this as birdsong is one of the most effective natural sounds to reduce our stress levels. High-frequency birdsong is also a very effective way to distract you from traffic noise.

To attract birds into your garden, plant shrubs with red or black berries, and add a bird feeder for the winter months, and you can enjoy most of the same visitors during the summer when they feed on garden pests and help keep your plants healthy.



Moving Water Creates a Rhythmic, Calming Sound

You can't control wind or birds, but you can add a small water feature or a mini waterfall to your outdoor living area. Choose a one with a splashing, trickling, spilling, or bubbling water movement to create relaxing sounds that make the atmosphere calming and distract from the background noise.

There are many options that you don't even need to dig to the ground. You can mount a water feature to a wall or use a container with a pump. Your water feature can even be a ready-made, standalone piece that you place on a hard surface, for example, on your decking. Then all you need is a power socket.

There you have it! The four ways to absorb noise and add pleasantly distracting sounds into your backyard. Do you feel ready to take action? Start by adding and testing these ideas one at a time. Then move on to one more and another, and soon you'll see how they add to each other, and you have created a calm oasis in your backyard.

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