Highway noise can be a nuisance and affect your quality of life. It can be difficult to enjoy time outside when you’re constantly hearing the sound of cars speeding by. However, there are ways that you can reduce highway noise in your backyard.
By understanding how noise travels, identifying the sources of highway noise, choosing the right plants, or installing barriers you can take steps to create a quiet outdoor space to enjoy.
7 Steps to Reduce Highway Noise in Your Backyard
You may be looking to reduce traffic noise in your yard for a number of reasons.
Maybe you live close to a busy highway and the noise is constantly disrupting your peace and quiet.
Or maybe you’ve recently created a relaxing outdoor space, but the sound of traffic is keeping you from enjoying it.
There are a few common challenges that people have when trying to reduce road noise in their backyard.
One of the main challenges is identifying the sources of highway noise.
It can be difficult to determine where the noise is coming from and how to best block it.
You can spend a lot of money trying to block the traffic noise in your yard, but if you don’t understand how sound works and how to effectively stop it, you might be throwing money out the window.
While many homeowners become so frustrated by the constant, bothersome noise from nearby traffic that they consider moving, before you start looking for a new place to live, it’s important to know there are ways that you can reduce the amount of highway noise in your backyard and finally have some peace, quiet, and enjoy your outdoor space.
1. Understand How Noise Travels
Noise is a type of energy that travels through the air and can be heard when it reaches our ears.
When trying to block road noise in your backyard, it’s important to understand how noise travels. By understanding how noise travels, you can better identify the sources of highway noise in your backyard and take steps to block the noise.
Sound waves are created when something makes noise. The sound from a car horn, or tire tread against the road for example, create sound waves that travel through the air. These sound waves can be heard by people nearby.
The closer you are to the source of the noise, the louder the noise will be.
This is why highway traffic can be so disruptive if you live close by. The sound waves don’t have far to travel in order to create road noise pollution in your nearby yard.
How Does Sound Travel?
Sounds waves travel through the air in all directions. It’s a ripple effect, just like when you drop a pebble into a pond.
As they travel, the sound waves dissipate, but if you live very close to a highway, freeway or main road the sound waves may still be very strong when they enter your space.
Reflection vs. Absorption
When considering noise reduction strategies you’ve got two options.
Deflection is when you block the sound waves by installing fences or barriers around your property. The sound waves will hit these obstacles and bounce away in the opposite direction.
Absorption is when you use specific soundproofing materials that are typically porous and have sound dampening properties.
To greatly reduce traffic noise, your best bet is to use both strategies together.
2. Identify the Sources of Highway Noise in Your Backyard
When trying to reduce highway noise in your backyard, it’s important to identify the sources of highway noise. By understanding where the noise is coming from, you can better block the noise and create a more peaceful backyard space.
There are a few common ways that people can identify the sources of highway noise in their backyard:
The easiest way to identify the sources of highway noise is to listen.
Spend some time outside and listen for the specific sounds that are bothersome. This might include the sound of cars speeding by, busses stopping to pick up passengers, or jake breaks from semi-trucks driving by.
Once you know the specific sounds that are causing the problem, you will know exactly what you’re dealing with.
Use a Sound Meter:
If you have a lot of traffic noise, you may want to consider purchasing a sound meter to get an accurate reading of how loud the noise is. Having this information will help you to know how severe of a noise pollution problem you have and identify the best strategies to block the sounds.
No meter? No problem!
You can enter your address into the U.S. Department of Transportation Road Noise Map and see what the noise level is in decibels where you live.
Determine the Direction:
If you can identify the direction the noise is coming from, you can better block the sound. For example, if the noise is coming from the east, that is where you will want to focus your efforts.
Locate the Nosiest Areas:
Not all areas of your backyard may be impacted by highway noise equally. In fact, you may be surprised to discover areas in your backyard that are much quieter or louder than others.
Identifying these areas can help you to focus your noise-reducing efforts on those specific spots that are the most troublesome.
3. The Power of Plants
Possibly the easiest and most cost effective method to reduce highway noise in your back yard is by using plants to absorb or deflect the sound.
By choosing the right plants, you can create a natural barrier between your home and the highway that will provide sound attenuation.
Since you can head down to your local nursery or home improvement store and purchase mature trees and bushes, this can be an almost instant solution.
There are a few things to consider when choosing plants to deflect highway noise:
–The height of the plant
Plants that are taller will help to deflect more of the sound than shorter plants. Choose plants that are at least six feet tall to create a noise-reducing barrier.
–The width of the plant
The wider the plant, the more sound it will absorb or deflect. Choose plants that have a width of at least three feet for best results. You will want to plant them close together, but be sure to leave space for future growth.
–The density of the leaves
Plants with dense leaves will absorb more sound than plants with sparse leaves. Choose plants that have thick, overlapping leaves for the best noise-reducing results.
Deciduous vs. Evergreen
Deciduous plants lose their leaves in the winter, while evergreen plants keep their leaves year-round.
In order to make sure your efforts to block the sounds work consistently, you’ll want to choose evergreen plants and plant them densely to provide a constant sound barrier.
4. Install a Barrier
Installing a barrier can be an effective way to reduce the amount of noise that is entering your backyard from a busy road.
A properly installed fence or wall will help to absorb or deflect the sound before it has a chance to enter your space.
There are a few things to consider when installing a barrier to block traffic noise:
Types of Barriers
There are a few different types of barriers that can be used to reduce road noise:
-Fences are easy to install and can be made from a variety of materials, such as wood, metal, or plastic.
-Walls are more expensive to install than fences, but they are typically much taller and can provide better sound reduction.
– A trellis can also be a great way to deflect sounds from nearby roads. By planting vines on a trellis, you can create a natural looking barrier between your home and the highway, that combines the acoustic effects of a fence and plants.
Location of Barrier
When installing a fence or wall, be sure to place it in the location that will provide the best acoustic barrier.
You will also want to consider how the barrier will affect your view and whether it will be an eyesore for your neighbors.
Sound Reducing Ability of the Material
Some materials are better at blocking, deflecting or absorbing sound than others.
When installing a fence or wall, be sure to choose a material that is known for its sound-reducing properties.
Materials with high density, such as concrete or brick, are the best at blocking highway noise, which is why they are used in many noise barriers along highways.
Wood may not be as effective at blocking noise, but it is a more affordable option and can be a great way to add some privacy to your backyard.
Use Soundproofing Materials
If you have a serious noise problem, or if the previous methods aren’t a viable option for you, it may be time to consider soundproofing materials to block the traffic noise in your backyard – or add them to already existing structures like fencing.
Soundproofing materials are designed to absorb or deflect noise before it has a chance to enter your space. By using soundproofing materials, you can significantly reduce the amount of noise that is intruding into your yard.
There are a variety of soundproofing materials available on the market, but the most practical to use in an outdoor space is sound curtains.
Sound curtains are a type of soundproofing material that can be used to reduce the amount of noise that is entering your backyard. Sound curtains are made of a thick, absorbent fabric that helps to soak up noise.
Sound curtains are a great option for people who want to reduce unwanted noise in their backyard, but don’t want to install a fence or build a brick wall. They are also a great way to block out noise from other sources, such as lawnmowers and barking dogs.
If you’re looking for an easy or semi-permanent way to reduce road noise in your backyard, sound curtains may be the solution for you.
Acoustic panels are a type of panel that is designed to absorb sound. They are typically made of a porous material, such as foam, that helps to soak up noise before it has a chance to enter your space.
In a backyard, acoustic panels are best used in an enclosed area, like a screened in porch or outdoor living room.
If you’re looking for a more permanent way to block noise in your backyard, acoustic panels may be the solution for you.
Mass Loaded Vinyl
If you’re not interested in installing a permanent barrier, or if you need to reduce the noise from a different direction, mass loaded vinyl (MLV) could be a great choice.
Mass loaded vinyl is a type of soundproofing material that can be installed temporarily or permanently. It is made of a thick, vinyl material that is designed to absorb sound.
Mass loaded vinyl is helpful for people who want to build their own acoustic fences. MLV can be added to the back of fence panels to help reduce the amount of noise that is entering your yard.
6. Cancel Out the Traffic Noise
Noise cancelling sounds can be an important part of your strategy to reduce highway noise in your backyard.
By introducing sounds that you enjoy, or white noise you can help to drown out the noise from cars and make your backyard more peaceful.
There are a few different ways to introduce noise canceling sounds and make your backyard more inviting.
-Install an outdoor sound system to play your favorite music.
-Add a water feature, such as a fountain or pond.
-Plant trees and shrubs that help to reduce noise and also produce calming sounds, such as rustling leaves.
-Consider purchasing a white noise machine. These machines create a calming sound that can help to drown out other noises.
There are a variety of different white noise machines available on the market, so be sure to choose one that is best suited for your needs. Some machines come with a variety of sounds to choose from, while others create a static sound that is designed to block out noise.
There are many different ways that you can reduce highway noise in your backyard.
By understanding how sound travels, identifying the sources of traffic noises, and choosing the right plants to absorb or deflect highway nthem, you can take steps to reduce the amount of noise that is intruding into your home.
You can also install fencing or barriers, use soundproofing materials, or introduce noise-canceling equipment into your backyard. These solutions are affordable and easy to implement, so you can start enjoying your backyard again in no time!
Q: Will soundproofing materials reduce the amount of noise from other sources, such as lawnmowers and barking dogs?
A: Yes, soundproofing materials can help to reduce the amount of noise from all sources. Sound curtains are a great option for people who don’t want to install a fence or wall. MLV can be added to the back of fence panels to help reduce the amount of noise that is entering your yard.
Q: How do you drown out street noise?
A: You can drown out street noise by installing a sound system to play your favorite music, adding a water feature, planting trees and shrubs, or purchasing a white noise machine. These solutions are affordable and easy to implement, so you can start enjoying your backyard again in no time!
Q: Do acoustic fence panels work?
A: Yes, acoustic fence panels can help to reduce the amount of noise that is entering your yard. By installing these panels on the back of your fence, you can help to reduce the amount of sound that is coming from the highway. acoustic fence panels are a great option for people who want to reduce the amount of noise in their backyard without installing a permanent barrier.