Soundproofing a garden is relatively straightforward, as there are several effective ways you can reduce the noise to enjoy some peace. However, the distinct ways to reduce noise in your garden vary in their cost, techniques and installation.
But I am certain that they will deliver the superb results you are looking for. Keep on reading to find out more about the soundproofing process.
I really love to spend time and relax in my garden, feel the warmth from the sun, the cool breeze over my skin and delightful sight of nature around me. Nothing ruins this experience more than noise from incoming traffic or my loud neighbors.
In addition to my research, I also spoke to a soundproof expert- Ted Wiedman of Acoustical Surfaces Minnesota who has nearly 16 years of working experience on the subject and he gave me some incredible insights on the topic.
The result from my endeavors were incredible and I was successful in reducing the noise in my garden almost completely. In this article, I will share all my interesting findings with you, just in case you are experiencing the same issue. So let’s dive right into it.
How To Soundproof A Garden.
There are several ways for soundproofing a garden. You can choose any of them according to your choice, specific needs and budget. You might have to combine two or more depending on your garden plan, backyard noise and living area for more effective results.
- Use a fence.
- Erect a brick wall.
- Soundproof your existing fence.
Let us go through each one of them, including their features, cost, pros, cons and every other important information you need to know.
Using a fence to soundproof a garden.
A fence can help to absorb noise and block it from passing into another space. This fence can be made from different materials such as wood, concrete, and so on.
I had to get an experts input on the matter and Ted had some great insights.
He said that in a situation when there is so much air space that connects a noise source source with a garden, there will be a lot of air that sounds could use to come up and over a fence or barrier. So, trying to get a lot of sounds blocked by a fence takes a tall fence.
This information from Ted will come in handy under our discussion on the various factors to consider when choosing a sound barrier. But in the meantime, let us look at some fencing options for soundproofing a garden.
Build a sound proof fence.
A noise barrier or acoustic fence also known as a soundproof fence is a structure built from wood with an inner core comprising of special materials such as mass loaded vinyl or fiber wool. These materials are dense but also flexible enough to facilitate sound dampening and blocking.
Erecting a noise barrier is an effective way to reduce noise in your garden as it works by deflecting sound waves instead of absorbing it.
Noise barrier are increasingly becoming popular because of their ability to block and deflect different types of noise pollution regardless of their source and its distance from your garden.
These fences are also known for their durable, and weather resistant nature with appealing designs that can enhance the overall look and value of your home.
What to look out for in a soundproof fence.
Sound proof fence are available in so many different shapes, sizes and design. It is understandable if you are caught in a web of confusion over which option to pick.
However, before you make a decision, here are some things to consider:
If your sound proof fence is not high enough, sound will easily pass right over it. A standard sound barrier should have a height of two meters to sufficiently block out incoming noise and prevent sound from passing over the top.
It is difficult for sound waves to pass through thicker materials, unlike lighter ones that will vibrate on impact transferring the noise to the other side.
The sound proof fence must be thick enough to allow it absorb any incoming noise pollution regardless of where it might be coming from.
Make sure that the density of your fence is in line with your living area. For instance, a home close to a main road with high traffic, will need a denser barrier than a home adjacent to a smaller street.
Regardless of the type of soundproof fence whether it is a brick wall, modular or wooden fence, it should extend all the way to the garden floor.
Sound needs just a tiny area to pass through and any gaps or spaces in between or at the base of the sound barrier will allow sound to pass underneath or through it.
A sound barrier with full coverage can sufficiently reduce and block out any annoying noise from within your environment.
The position of your sound barrier can either enhance or reduce its noise reduction efficiency. Make sure that the placement of the sound proof fence is nearer to the noise source than your garden.
Placing a sound proof fence directly in front of the noise source will take the sound waves a longer time to reach your garden, which in turn lessens its volume and energy, making the barrier more effective in blocking the sound.
Pros and cons of soundproof fence.
If you are having difficulty deciding whether this noise reducing solution is the best option for your garden, here are some of its advantages and disadvantages of installing a sound proof fence.
- A soundproof privacy fence is the most effective noise solution for your garden.
- This type of fence is available in different appealing and durable designs that are resistant to the elements.
- It can enhance the overall look and add to the value of your home.
- It is very expensive.
- A soundproof privacy fence requires professional installation from a team of sound proofing experts which can lead to additional labor costs.
Again, I had to bring in Ted on this one and he was most helpful in providing us with more valuable information on a privacy fence and its role in acting as a sound barrier.
According to Ted, “a privacy fence is typically just a wood slat fence that passers-by cannot see through and gives people within that space some privacy from bystanders. It is not typically a fence used to block sound, but sight. It is also not typically airtight, heavy or dense. A privacy fence is usually tall as an average man or woman, so it is not a very aggressive sound blocking fence at all. However, a well-built privacy fence with tight joints, without gaps or openings can significantly block out sound.”
A metallic fence works well for reducing all airborne or non-vibrating noise that is, a noise that passes through the air and atmosphere such as barking dogs, neighbors conversing, children playing, or TV/Radio sets.
However, a metallic fence is not effective at blocking or reducing vibration noise like road noises or heavy traffic.
The metal panels will vibrate on impact with the incoming vibrating sounds and depending on its thickness, can even amplify the sound waves.
If you want to erect a metallic fence make sure to first investigate and determine the source of your ambient noise.
Pros and cons of metallic fence.
Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of metallic fencing that you should keep in mind and consider before you choose to use metallic panels to block out noise from your garden.
- A metallic fence is cost effective.
- The installation of metallic panels can be a great Do-It-Yourself project. If you know how to operate a screw gun, handle metal panels, and align them then you are great.
- It is easy to install and great at blocking airborne or non-vibrating sounds.
- A metallic fence is tougher than a wooden fence.
- A metallic fence is the least effective noise barrier as it has a very limited ability to absorb or disperse vibrating sound waves.
- Metallic fences are susceptible to damage from high winds and not suitable for windy or coastal areas.
- The aesthetics of metallic panels do not allow for versatility.
Erect a brick wall.
A brick wall is a solid structure made from mostly brick or stone blocks piled up on top of one another along a specific location.
A brick wall can help to block out and reduce noise due to the fact that sound waves will typically bounce off dense objects along its travel path.
Apart from the building materials of a brick wall, its construction is also critical in dictating its efficiency against incoming sound.
It is crucial that the brick wall along your perimeter should be high enough and devoid of any gaps as the sound waves can sneak through such openings.
Ideally, the brick wall should also extend all the way to the garden floor, to prevent low-lying sounds like the sound of moving car tires to go underneath.
To prevent sound from flowing over the top, the brick wall should be six to eight feet high. At this height, the brick wall might strike a significant portion off traffic or other surrounding noise, which usually measures 60 to 70 decibels (dB).
Although the mass, height, and thickness of a brick wall make it a great and effective option, you need to check with the local building regulations of your area before building a wall on your property.
Pros and cons of erecting a brick wall.
Even though a properly built brick wall is one of the most effective ways to block out noise from your garden, it is not without its own downsides. If you want to go for this method, here are some of the pros and cons to consider;
- A brick wall can reduce noise up to fifty-percent (50%).
- A brick wall is highly durable.
- Local building regulation might prevent construction to sound blocking height.
- The building process can be lengthy, time consuming and very expensive.
- The construction of a brick requires professional help which can lead to additional costs.
- Exterior brick walls tend to wear and tear following long term exposure to different weather conditions.
Soundproofing your existing fence.
Soundproofing your existing fence is also another straightforward technique that you can use to soundproof a garden. If you have a wooden fence that is of the proper height (at least six feet high) and width, soundproofing the structure will be relatively simple.
Before you proceed, you need to consider factors like the location of your house and the type of noise you are up against to know which soundproofing material to use. This is because areas suffering from high sound levels will need tougher sound blocking materials.
The process of soundproofing an existing fence begins with the covering of any opening or gaps and the addition of special material like mass loaded vinyl or a sound deadening mat to soundproof the structure.
Although this can be an incredible do it yourself task, it is easier to fix a mass-loaded vinyl to a new fence being built than an old one, as It will take more time removing the fence panels and closing it after putting the soundproof material.
Best Materials For Soundproofing A Garden.
I was curious about what the best and most effective soundproofing materials would work in creating a quieter outdoor space and got some great insights from my interview with Ted.
According to Ted, there are a lot of misconceptions concerning “what product do what things”. Therefore, it is important for you to know the purpose for soundproofing before picking a material.
During this process, which in this case involves soundproofing a garden, you need to ask yourself questions like: Are you trying to absorb the echo in a room, or block out, and reduce the amount of sound coming into my space or both?
Once you have an idea of the purpose you are trying to achieve, you can then proceed to selecting the most effective soundproofing materials.
Below are some of the materials mentioned by our soundproofing expert Ted Wiedman.
Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV):
Mass Loaded Vinyl is commonly known as MLV, is a popular soundproofing material used to add mass to a wall, floor, and even ceiling without extra volume.
For more information on the installation of Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV) in a wall, do check out this amazing article on How to soundproof a gaming room (A Pro Guide).
Green Glue Soundproofing Compound:
Green glue is an odorless, non-hazardous noise proofing sealant that is used to seal gaps between two hard layers of material, typically a drywall.
It is not actually a glue, neither does it harden like an adhesive. In simpler terms, it acts as vibration dampener that helps to reduce the resonance and vibrations of a surface.
If you want to find out more about the use of green glue as a soundproofing material, you can check out this informative article on How to soundproof your Cubicle.
Alternative ways to soundproof a garden.
External noise from your surroundings can be loud, disturbing, and annoying. The good news is that there is no shortage of soundproofing methods and techniques to combat obtrusive noise.
This brings me to an alternative yet effective soundproofing option, which is to mask the unpleasant noise with a more pleasant sound.
These alternative soundproofing options are great especially if the noise is coming from a distant source.
Of course I had to ask our soundproofing expert his opinions on each of the available alternative soundproofing solutions.
According to Ted, while the use of trees, shrubbery, and vegetation, basically anything that you can grow from the ground won’t block much sound or noise pollution.
This is because trees and shrubs are mostly “air”-they take up a lot of volume but it is also a lot of air space through which sound can pass through.
However, here are some ideas you could use in your garden, that could do more in masking unpleasant noises, rather than blocking it outright:
Planting the right trees is an incredible way to create white noise as their leaves make a soothing and calming sound as breeze or wind blows.
The selection, arrangement, and planting of specific tree types are critical to its efficiency in creating a visual, wind, and sound barrier.
For instance, oak leaves will create a rustling noise when wind passes through them, pine needles will create a whooshing noise as breeze blows.
How trees reduce noise.
The noise reducing effect of trees is through noise absorption, deflection or a combination of both. Also, trees typically absorb more high-frequency noise than low frequency noise.
A plot of dense trees grown in the noises direction can help to convert the incoming sound into heat or bounce it away from your property.
For a plot of trees to be effective in noise reduction, they should be as close as possible to the noise source, have a height of 10 to 12 meters (m), with dense stems, branches, and leaves.
Apart from its own white noise, planting a lot of trees in your garden will attract birds, insects, and other wildlife that can contribute to the white noise effect.
Installing a water feature.
Running water creates a natural and neutral sound that is in sharp contrast to the distracting sound of moving cars or dogs barking.
Carefully placing a water feature such as a pond with a waterfall, running stream or stand-alone water fountain can transform your garden acoustics.
The burbling sound of running water can convert your garden from a loud space to an oasis of calm.
Installing these water features might require professional help, but if you are good with handling a spade, have experience with connecting pipes and know how to install a water pump, then this makes for an impressive Do-It-Yourself project.
Where should you position your water feature?
The placement of your water feature when a soundproofing a garden, dictates its efficiency to conceal annoying noises. Be sure to first consider where the sound typically comes from and the area where you hear it most.
Place your water feature in between the sound and that spot. For example, if you often hear moving cars on the road when you are in your living room, it will be a good idea to place the water feature between the road and your front entrance.
The water feature should be as close to your living room so that its sound is louder and more noticeable than the road noise.
If you are still unsure, you can seek advice from experts in your area.
If you want the noise to be quieter from the inside of your house, you can check out this article about how to soundproof Louvered Doors, Windows and More. . .
A hedge is a living wall of thick growing, ever-green, and broad-leaf shrubs such as hollies, junipers, spruce, and so on, grown to form a barrier, mark a boundary, or serve a decorative function.
Plant A Thick Hedge.
A thick hedge is also a superb way to soundproof a garden, especially if you are looking for a more Eco-friendly noise reducing solution. Hedges typically work by trapping sound waves as it passes through, reducing its volume and quality.
The thicker and higher the hedges are, the fainter the sounds passing through it will be.
This makes it sort of like the natural version of acoustic foam, only much greener and natural.
Apart from noise reduction, a thick tall hedge can provide you with privacy from nosy neighbors or bystanders, allowing you to enjoy your now serene garden.
Pros and cons of planting hedges.
The use of a hedge in soundproofing a garden is rising in popularity as it is an Eco-friendly option with extra perks of durability and design.
However, planting and using a hedge also has its own pitfalls.
Below I have put together some of the benefits and downsides of using a hedge to reduce noise in your garden.
- Blocks heavy noise from traffic or A/C unit.
- Durable and Eco-friendly option.
- Green sight can help to reduce stress and anxiety.
- Gives your garden a natural look.
- The maximum noise reduction of a hedge is around 25%.
- A hedge requires a top level of maintenance.
- It takes a long time for a hedge to grow to the right thickness necessary to reduce any noise.
Using Wind Chimes for soundproofing a garden.
Using wind chimes does not provide a steady white noise like a water fountain or flowing stream.
Wind chimes only produce a tinkling or clanging sound when the wind blows through its tubes.
A wind chime is not really an adequate solution for many people living in an area with constant loud noises.
However, if you live downwind of a residential street and only receive occasional disturbance from road noise picked up by the wind blowing in your direction, then a wind chime is a marvelous low-cost noise solution.
As road noise flows in a powerful rush of wind towards your garden, the wind chime will collide producing a pleasant sound and help fade the road noise into the atmosphere.
The specific range of sounds a wind chime produces depends upon the material used to make it and the length of the tube.
Install a garden shed.
Another alternative option available for soundproofing a garden is by the installation of a garden shed.
A garden shed made out of wood, metal, or plastic material can act as a solid barrier to deflect any incoming sound waves and prevent direct entry into that area of your garden.
The placement of a garden shed can determine the acoustics of your garden.
A suitable location to build a garden shed would be at the end of the passageway leading to your garden or an opening in a wall closer to the noise source.
If a garden shed is not set in the proper position, it might create echo instead of reducing the noise level.
With this in mind, make sure you build your shed at the end of a sound passageway, to deflect the noise away from your garden.
Pros and cons of installing a garden shed.
Here are some of the merits and demerits of installing a garden shed for the purpose of soundproofing your garden;
- If set up in the proper location, a garden shed can help to deflect incoming sound waves.
- A garden shed can be built in a specific position to reduce noise levels coming from that area.
- A garden shed can improve the look of your garden.
- Unique types and design that can be custom built in line with the function it needs to serve.
- If a garden shed is built in the wrong position, it can create an echo, amplifying the sound coming into your garden instead of reducing the noise levels.
- A garden shed can only block out noise in a particular portion of your garden and not the entire space.
- The installation of a garden shed requires specific tools, materials and expertise which can be expensive depending on the size and type of material.
Most common mistakes when soundproofing a garden.
Noise pollution is a major problem in our environment, whether it is from loud neighbors, dogs barking or road noises.
This unwanted noise can cause disruptions and loss of focus. The good news is that there are a lot of soundproofing solutions to help you deal with this noise pollution. However, mistakes can arise during the installation of these soundproofing solutions.
Here are some of the most common mistakes when soundproofing a garden.
- Ignoring your noise problem.
- Buying the wrong soundproofing materials.
- Not fully soundproofing.
If you experience a lot of noise in your garden that disrupts your focus and prevents you from enjoying your space, then consider one of more of the soundproofing methods in this guide.
As you already know, there are so many soundproofing solutions that you can choose from.
Each one has its pros and cons, but the end goal is; you will block out noise from your garden almost completely.
Regardless of the soundproofing method you choose for your garden, ensure that it matches your budget, the type of noise you are dealing with and living area.
The most important thing is that you follow the right steps that will lead to maximum soundproofing results.