Landscaping Tips to Reduce Traffic Noise
The constant din of cars, trucks and other vehicles barreling down a nearby road can disturb sleep schedules, decrease your enjoyment of leisure time and substantially increase stress levels. Finding a way to reduce or cover up the noise can help you make your home into a relaxing sanctuary.
Construct a barrier wall between your home and the source of the traffic noise. According to Trafficnoise.org a barrier wall will be effective at stopping noise provided that it is directly between you and the source of the noise. For road noise made by cars, the barrier wall can be fairly low, because most of the noise comes from the tires. For road noise made by trucks it must be at least 8 feet high--high enough to block the engine exhaust systems' noise. Build a barrier wall out of concrete or stone or, for a more natural look, construct an earthen mound between you and the noise source. This will reduce noise on the ground floor, but may not help reduce traffic noise heard from upper floors, because it doesn't block the line of sight between the noise source and the top floor.
If you don't feel like building a tall barrier wall, consider putting up buildings to block the traffic noise Place a garage, a storage shed--or any other buildings you want to --between you and the sound source and fill in any gaps between them with solid fencing, walls or other solid obstacles. This will deflect some of the sound without requiring you to put up a full barrier.
Water features do not reduce traffic noise, but they provide a more pleasant background sound, helping to mask it. Putting a fountain in your garden may make you notice the traffic less because of the gentle tinkling sound of the water flowing down. Wind chimes, fluttering banners, rustling trees and other things that make pleasant background noises in the breeze can also help decrease the effects of unpleasant traffic noise. Putting up plants that attract song birds will also distract you from road noise.
Hedges are not dense enough to combat loud road noise on their own. According to the Federal Highway Administration, vegetation would have to be quite dense--and at least 30m deep--to make a noticeable difference in the noise coming from a highway. If you are combating more distant road noise or trying to limit the sound of an occasional passing car, however, a dense hedgerow may provide some degree of noise control. Because it isolates you from the road, it may also make you feel as if the noises are quieter, even if the volume isn't significantly lower.