We all want to enjoy our morning coffee, but, sometimes, traffic noise stops us. It’s nearly impossible to find a QUIET SPOT, especially if you’re in the middle of a city.
Noise pollution is everywhere. So, what is a person supposed to do to get some peace and quiet?
A question that often gets asked is, “how to reduce traffic noise in my backyard?” And, lucky for you, there are many ways to do so.
We have compiled a list of 5 foolproof home renovations you can easily do to reduce noise in your backyard. They can SAVE YOU from a lot of stress.
5 Foolproof Ways to Reduce Traffic Noise in Your Backyard
There are several strategies to reduce noise in your backyard. In fact, you do not only have to stick to one. Throughout this guide, you will learn 5 ways to effectively block out road noise.
So, save yourself from the trouble of road noise with these tips and tricks.
And, without further ado, let us get right into it. Here’s our 5 FOOLPROOF METHODS to end this terror!
#1: Walls and Fences
One of the first things that immediately comes into mind when you hear the word noise reduction is a wall or a fence. They are the primary forms of defense against noise pollution.
Fences are effective at blocking noise ― whether it’s road noise, loud music, or operations coming from a nearby construction site. You name it!
Below are different types of fencing methods that will help you to reduce noise.
NOTE: Its effectiveness varies according to the materials used.
Nothing beats a brick wall — literally, nothing. Because brick walls are THICK.
Brick walls are one of the MOST effective methods on how to reduce traffic noise in my backyard. Not to mention they give a wonderful aesthetic appeal!
Stone or masonry walls do not allow sound vibrations to filter in the yard. Perfect to block noise!
- $10-$45 per square foot
- $2,000-$10,000 per acre
NOTE: Brick wall prices vary according to the thickness of the material
- 50% noise reduction
- Very durable; can withstand all kinds of weather
- Lasts a long time
- Rigid material good for sound deflection
- Expensive to build
- Difficult to install
- Outdated look or aesthetic
If you are looking for an effective yet modern and sleek design, try an acoustic fence.
When it comes to complete soundproofing, an acoustic fence is fit for the job.
What are acoustic fences?
It is a fencing method specifically designed to reduce noise in your backyard. It is different from your ordinary fence because it LEAVES NO GAPS.
While an ordinary fence only serves the purpose of aesthetics and privacy, an acoustic barrier does not allow any sound to travel through. It is made up of thicker and denser materials.
These materials DEFLECT SOUND back to the source.
- $8-$30 per square foot
- $2,000-$7,000 per acre
- Can reduce noise up to 25dB (extensive noise reduction at 75%)
- Less expensive than a brick wall or a stone wall
- Sleek and modern design
- Easy installation
- Expensive compared to timber and metal
Not yet ready for such a big project? Then, try TIMBER FENCES.
Unlike the two previous options, it is more affordable and not as heavy-duty. You can easily install it in one lazy afternoon.
The only downside? Timber fences are NOT as effective in blocking out the loud honks of cars.
But…if you live in a densely populated village, then it should be enough. Just be careful in constructing it and LEAVE NO GAPS.
- $75-$120 per meter of pine paling
- $2,500-$3,000 per acre
- DIY friendly
- Inexpensive and affordable
- Stylish design
- Environmentally Friendly
- Not as effective as acoustic and brick walls in reducing noise
- Rotting and termites can occur overtime
- Fire hazard
- Prone to weather damage
A lot of people say that wooden fences are not effective sound blockers. While that may be true, there is a secret trick when it comes to choosing a wood fence.
Want to know?
It’s none other than choosing the right type of wood.
If you wish to REDUCE TRAFFIC NOISE, use wood types that are at least 60mm thick ― a good example is brushwood.
Remember: the thicker your wooden fences, the better it can ABSORB sound.
- $5-$16 per square foot
- $2,000-$5,000 per acre
- Accessible materials (ready-made wood fence panels are available in many local hardware stores)
- Rustic look
- Can reduce noise 60mm or thicker
- Fire hazard
- Rotting and termites can occur overtime
- Prone to weather damage
A metal fence is THE IDEAL option if you are on a really tight budget.
Steel is powerful and heavy. Therefore, it serves as a good protection, shield, and roof over your head.
However, as barriers against noise?
They are the least effective. As a matter of fact, metal fences are bound to make more noise than blocking them because metal is corrugated and flexible.
- $15-$20 per square foot
- $1,000-$3,000 per acre
- Most Affordable
- Easy installation
- Does not block road noise (little to no acoustic properties)
- Damages easily by wind
- Outdated look
There is a saying that goes, “good fences make good neighbors.” While this is true, fences are not the only effective solution to reducing noise from the outside.
Plants are also a good wall material that reduces traffic noise. Surprised?
Planting and growing tall evergreen trees, shrubs, hedges, and other forms of vegetation in your garden go a long way in absorbing and deflecting unwanted sound in the yard. Plants create their own kind of noise, and unlike the honks of cars and traffic jams, the sound is soothing and pleasing.
Vegetations, especially if PLANTED DENSELY, are prime examples of how we can fight noise with noise ― or what is known as white noise.
White noise helps mask city sounds, and white noise can actually be very beneficial to everyone in the house. And if you didn’t know it yet, air conditioners actually emit a type of white noise too.
By throwing plants into the formula, we get the best of both worlds:
- An added layer of protection aid to reduce the noise while also…
- transporting us into a calming environment bursting with greeneries.
Some vegetations that you can plant in the garden are:
- Leyland cypres
They are effective sound barriers because their foliage reaches the ground and grows upwards. Make sure to plant them NEAR THE SOURCE of the sound as possible.
Overall, these are the key things to remember when it comes to VEGETATION.
- $1,750-$2,350 (using Leyland Cypress for a 1/4 acre of lot)
- Effectively reduce noise if plants are thick enough
- Good for mental health (calming and de-stresses)
- Cheaper than building fences in the house
- Takes time to grow
- Garden planning is required
- Pests and insects can linger
#3: Water Feature
If you have a large yard with space to spare, why not try incorporating water features. If you’re asking “how to reduce traffic noise in my backyard?”, installing a water feature is a method we highly advise.
A water feature can be any of the following: a water fountain, a tiny pond, or even a mini pool inside your own yard. It sounds lovely, does it not?
Having to relax and unwind in your yard at the end of the day… Lounged in your COMFIEST sweatpants, you sit, sipping on a tall glass of iced tea…
You watch the plants sway as the wind blows, then you can hear the soothing sounds of running water from your water feature INSTEAD of the traffic jam right outside your backyard.
That is what water features are for!
Water features (like running water) DROWN OUT ROAD NOISE and are, basically, a form of white noise that overpowers annoying noises.
#4: Noise Reduction Landscaping
Aside from water features, you can also do LANDSCAPE REMODELING for your yard.
Landscaping is an excellent strategy to reduce the noise coming from all around, whether from traffic or your noisy neighbors.
You can hire a professional landscaper to create berms, raised hills, and construct pavilions in the yard. The added structures act as a border that DEFLECTS traffic noise before it can reach you.
However, be warned that it can take up a lot of living space. Also, It is a much bigger commitment than the other alternatives.
But, hey, the results are pretty rewarding.
#5: Place Outdoor Speakers in the Back Yard
Of course, if you would rather not clutter, then the EASIEST and SIMPLEST noise reduction solution is to bring out the speakers.
Let Bose amp and drown out all the traffic noise in your area!
Mount them on the SIDES AND CORNERS, and click play! You can listen to your favorite albums all day with just one click.
Doing so creates a playlist of your favorite sound/s or tracks and effectively gets rid of unwanted noise in the yard. You can even try a white noise playlist on YouTube or Spotify!
But if you want to go for something more traditional, then you can also try installing outdoor wind chimes. The sound of the wind chimes will also be able to drown out unwanted noise.
Types of Noise You Encounter in Your Backyard
The steady stream of cars weaving in and out of the road is a common noise that can fill your backyard. If you live near highways, then you probably know how loud and annoying it can get.
Aside from the sound of engines running, traffic noise is accompanied by screeching tires, honking, and sirens. What a huge pain!
Houses located near main roads are its most susceptible victims, but even if you live in a pretty dense suburb, other noises can also penetrate.
You also have to deal with loud sounds from shops and businesses, while the shrill cries and laughter of children are noises needed to be blocked out.
Neighbors are also a BIG PART of the problem. Don’t even get us started. Lawnmowers and even the petty family dramas from the house next door can get in the way of your much-needed quiet time.
Is it Expensive to Soundproof Your Yard?
With renovations come EXPENSES.
You are probably wondering (and worried) how much it will cost you to reduce traffic noise in the backyard.
Well, we have GREAT NEWS!
Soundproofing your yard DOES NOT have to be expensive. Yes, there are home renovations that can cost you a large sum of money, but at the same time, there are also several options and cheaper alternatives you can choose from.
And we’ve already detailed them above!
Silence is Golden…Why You SHOULD Soundproof Your Backyard
The backyard is supposed to be a place where you can rest after a long tiring day at work, a little piece of heaven on earth. However, noise pollution can easily disrupt and negatively impact health.
Wait… but it’s just noise problems, right?
Although it might not kill, exposure to excessive noise pollution has been shown to cause a number of health problems.
These include interrupted sleep, stress, high blood pressure, and Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL). Not to mention that it is a source of headache.
Are we just blowing this out of proportion to scare you and convince you to make home renovations and sound proofing purchases?
Maybe. Maybe not.
But, it still does not change the fact that traffic noise is stressful. As super introverts, we relish in the peaceful quiet moments alone, and the best way to do this is to put up a noise barrier or a sound barrier in our very own backyard.
You can also just build a soundproof shed if you really want to go all out. You can convert it into a home office or sleeping area during the day.
How to Reduce Road Noise: Deflection vs. Absorption
It’s important for you to learn how noise is being blocked and how sound waves move to choose the right weapon from the 5 foolproof ways we showed you above.
For this, there are two types of sound blocking.
Type 1: Sound Deflection
The first one is sound deflection. It’s THE MOST effective method to reduce traffic noise in the area.
It “kills” road noise by building high walls or a high fence that make the sound bounce away from your backyard and back to the source of the noise.
How does it work?
Imagine a large brick wall.
When a car honks and its sound wave hits the surface, it won’t vibrate. This means that the road noise will not carry over.
Instead, it is deflected by the sound barrier. As a result, the noise is sent back to the source. In this case, the source is the road.
It sure sounds great, right?
However, it does have downsides. This method is more challenging and trickier to handle. It REQUIRES the noise barrier to be as close to the source of the noise as much as possible.
Why? Because there’s a huge possibility that the noise can travel ABOVE the fence. And if you use a flexible barrier such as metal, it can vibrate, causing more noise and trouble.
Type 2: Sound Absorption (or Sound Attenuation)
On the other hand, sound attenuation is an EASIER and CHEAPER solution. It involves having to absorb sound waves.
What do we mean by that?
Sound attenuation simply reduces the intensity of the sound so there would be less noise. Sounds from the neighborhood and passing cars ARE MUTED, but you would still be able to hear it…slightly.
Picture yourself punching a sandbag.
Once your fist hits the surface, the sandbag absorbs all the impact and also absorb sound. Notice how there is as little noise as possible. That is how sound attenuation works.
Noise Reduction 101: What Makes an Effective Noise Barrier?
Back to basics. Now that you know how noise barriers work, let’s look at the qualities that make them fit to reduce traffic noise.
Here are 4 things to consider when building a barrier:
Sound and noise can travel UPWARDS, which means the higher your barrier is, the more effective it will be in making any sound bounce off.
An excellent barrier should be around 2 METERS HIGH to effectively block traffic noise from entering your backyard.
If 2 meters seem like it is too much for you, a rule of thumb to follow is to build fences that cover your line of sight.
Pro Tip: Always check with your local regulations. Some cities and municipalities have height restrictions and require a special permit for homeowners. Failure to comply can land you to pay hefty fines.
Remember what we said about flexible materials? Well, stay clear of it.
It can cause sound vibrations that add to the noise. Instead, opt for DENSER and RIGID ones. They are better at noise reduction because they absorb sound rather than reflect it.
Plasterboard and vinyl are good dense materials you can use to soundproof your backyard.
To reduce traffic noise in the backyard, make sure there are NO GAPS in your fences.
It’s important to have high noise barriers, but it’s also important for gaps and cracks on the ground to be well taken care of.
When you build a barrier, make sure that it covers the ground evenly. Little holes and corners allow noise to filter in. Absolutely no gaps allowed!
As much as possible, you should place your barrier close to the source of the traffic noise.
That is because it acts as the physical barrier between the road and your backyard. The closer it is to the noise source, the more effective it can to reduce the noise.
Relax, Enjoy, and Unwind in a Peaceful Environment
This is a sign for you to finally carry out those house renovation plans you have been putting off and enjoy your backyard.
A yard is a place where you can unwind and destress after a long day, but sometimes there is no way to escape the noise.
So, in this article, we have gone through a quest to bring back peace and silence by answering the question of “how to reduce traffic noise in my backyard.”
You can do so in many ways: fences, trees, shrubs, fountains, landscaping, and even loudspeakers!
Now, there is no need to frown. Go have a slice of paradise in your very own backyard with these helpful tips.
July 8, 2021 – updated article links
June 29, 2021 – updated featured image, updated 1 article image, fixed article formatting, updated article links, optimized content