Traffic noise impacts the quality of life that people experience in their home whether that home is an apartment, a condominium, a duplex, a townhouse or a single-family home. Neighborhoods traditionally experience growth and change patterns every five to 10 years. When a neighborhood is growing, traffic noise can grow as well. How homes are built, the landscaping choices, the presence of fences and more can impact the severity of the noise.
A neighborhood's history plays a large role in determining the level of traffic noise. For example, have new homes been built? Are there fewer or more domesticated animals? Have traffic patterns in the neighborhood changed? Are there fewer or more people living in the neighborhood? Is a school nearby? Do school buses frequent the neighborhood? Is the neighborhood population primarily young, primarily older with young children or primarily older? All of these factors contribute to the noise level created by traffic noise.
Psychologically, traffic noise can directly impact a person's environment. Environmental psychologists examine the levels of stress that traffic noise produces in neighborhoods. A historical housing area called Lincoln Park in Maryland continues to struggle against the rising industrialization that contributes to the noise, air and land pollution around a neighborhood known for large backyards, personal wells and historic homes. A proposed wall that would help reduce the noise of local highways stagnates in committee as the residents seek solutions to maintaining their way of life despite the area's noise.
Privacy fences are erected around properties, particularly backyards, to provide a refuge from the rest of the world. Theoretically, a backyard can be as private as the indoors. Well-constructed backyard fences can provide noise reduction to local traffic. In particularly dense traffic areas, a concrete or stone wall may be erected between the residential areas and the road to reduce the sounds of passing traffic. Large noise barriers are being erected in the construction of super highways and byways that bisect residential areas as suburban sprawl continues to develop areas further and further from the urban centers.
A multitude of landscaping options are available to homeowners who want to reduce the sound of passing traffic and create a stress-free zone and respite from the outside world. Shrub walls are simple method of reducing exterior traffic noise. Planting shrubs along a fence line that grow quickly requires only general caretaking. A second type of traffic noise reduction is the water pond and stone pools that can be installed in the backyard. A pricey choice, most backyard pond and waterfalls require minimal maintenance past their initial install. The sound of running water acts like an ideal white noise reducing all neighborhood noises and creating a tranquil spot right in the backyard.
Reducing traffic noise is ideal for suburbanites who spend a lot of their time running from errand to work to school to home. Creating an idyllic setting in the backyard or home can allow people to relax--mentally, physically and emotionally. Psychologists note that regular sleep and relaxation are important to a person's overall health. Landscaping options provide a range of solutions from the simple to the complex that ultimate benefit the homeowner as she enjoys a respite from the world of noise.