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Those who have their own garden can consider themselves lucky. For many people, the green oasis is an ideal retreat and place of rest and relaxation. Here you can enjoy nature and unwind.
Unfortunately, annoying noise pollution can also occur in the garden, which massively disturbs the well-deserved rest. Frequent sources of noise are annoying traffic and sometimes the dear neighbors.
But fortunately there is something you can do about it.
In this article, we present some practical options for effective noise protection in the garden.
Noise and its effects
In addition to being uncomfortable, noise can also have some negative health effects. Scientific data shows that traffic noise increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, according to the EU-funded QUIET study .
And the Federal Environment Agency also writes in an article on the subject of stress reactions and cardiovascular diseases that the question is no longer whether noise makes you ill, but to what extent.
Irrespective of this, every garden user is already aware that relaxation and tranquility in the garden is hardly possible if it is unprotected on a busy road.
So there are many good reasons to keep noise pollution in the garden as low as possible.
Noise protection for the garden – what options do we have?
So what options do we have to protect ourselves from noise in the garden and to keep unwanted noise out?
In practice, noise protection elements such as noise protection walls, which are available in different shapes and made of different materials, have proven particularly effective.
Such noise protection elements can reduce the volume by shielding the garden a bit and thus ensuring more peace. You can also try to distract from noise with a few simple measures.
Of course, both methods can be combined for even better results
How do noise barriers work and what material are they made of?
Noise barriers are made of different materials. The respective material determines whether the sound is reflected by the wall or absorbed.
Noise protection walls made of glass, plastic, aluminum and concrete have a smooth surface and therefore reflect the sound that hits them. Walls made of rough and porous materials such as wood, brick and fabric absorb the sound.
Each material has its individual characteristics and certain advantages and disadvantages. However, there are also noise barriers with a combination of different materials.
If neighbors live opposite, it is better to absorb the sound, otherwise it will be thrown to the neighbors and the noise level there may increase by several decibels (dB). That could quickly cause trouble.
In general, sound-absorbing building materials are the better choice in most cases.
Green noise barriers
Naturally planted noise protection walls are extremely popular, as they cut a fine figure in any garden and blend harmoniously into the overall picture.
An excellent example of such a wall is the Rau R3 climate wall.
This is a trapezoidal partition whose individual elements each consist of a pluggable steel basket with an outer mat made of fleece and quilted coconut fibre. The wall itself is simply filled with soil.
After the wall is erected, it can easily be planted with climbing plants such as ivy. After a while you can no longer see much of the steel structure, but can enjoy a dense wall of green climbing plants.
The wall itself is quick to assemble, has a long service life and offers the highest sound insulation values.
How such a noise barrier looks like and how it is set up can be seen in the following video:
Gabion walls are also very popular when it comes to sound insulation. Gabions are baskets made of metal mesh (wire baskets), which are filled with stones and absorb the sound.
Gabions can be used not only as a noise barrier, but also as a privacy screen and as a garden fence around the property. An advantage of these stone walls is that they are relatively easy to install and attractive to look at. If you have some manual skills, you can build a gabion wall yourself.
Of course, gabions can also be greened with climbing plants.
- This stone basket, also known as a gabion, was specially designed as a decorative and soundproof garden boundary.
- The gabion basket offers you a simple and attractive way to build a strong retaining wall, while protecting you from wind, weather, street noise and prying eyes. Made from rustproof and weather-resistant galvanized steel, the gabion basket is particularly strong and durable
- In order to guarantee high resilience, the transverse and longitudinal wires were spot-welded at every intersection
By the way: If the garden is on a busy street, then the respective noise protection wall should always extend over the entire length or property boundary in order to ensure the most effective noise protection possible. The higher and heavier the wall, the more effective.
Some basic considerations for soundproofing
The following principles apply to all noise barriers:
- The closer the soundproof wall is to the sound source, the better the soundproofing effect.
- The higher and heavier the noise barrier, the greater the soundproofing effect.
Can hedges also be used for noise protection?
Of course, one could ask oneself whether the complex construction of a noise protection wall is actually necessary, or whether it would not be enough to simply plant an evergreen hedge instead.
In fact, according to a report by the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics IBP , hedges can basically be considered similar to conventional noise barriers in terms of their acoustic effect.
However, an insulating effect only sets in above approx. 1000 – 2000 Hz. In the low and middle frequency range, hedges offer almost no soundproofing effect.
In terms of human auditory perception, the report found that traffic noise modified by a hedge was judged to be less annoying. Of course, a psychological factor can also play a role here, since the property boundary with opaque hedges offers the feeling of a certain protection.
If you would prefer to use a hedge to protect against noise instead of a noise barrier, you should definitely take a look at the linked report. Because it describes how a hedge should be designed in order to achieve the best possible protection against noise.
However, one should not expect that hedges and shrubs can compete with special noise protection walls or gabions in terms of noise protection. They are simply not dense enough for this.
Distract from sources of noise
Another way to make the garden quieter is to distract from sources of noise. This does not actually reduce the incoming noise, but an attempt is made to cover it up to a certain extent and thus distract from it. That can also provide some relief.
The following sounds are used to try to distract from the noise source:
On a hot summer’s day, there’s nothing better than lying in the cool shade of a beautiful tree in your own backyard. But not only the shading effect is pleasant, but also the quiet and very pleasant rustling of the leaves in the wind.
This rustling of leaves also distracts our hearing from potential sources of noise, such as some traffic. Trees are therefore a must for every garden and indirectly help to distract from disturbing sources of noise.
Just like the gentle rustling of leaves, the chirping of birds can also distract us from street noise. Trees in the garden are also very helpful for this, as birds feel very comfortable in their dense foliage.
Hedges, shrubs and bushes also provide an important habitat for various bird species and should therefore not be missing in any garden.
We can also attract birds to our garden by putting up nesting boxes, installing a birdbath and providing suitable bird food.
Water features such as spring stones, bubbling stones, garden fountains and fountains not only look great, they also ensure a relaxing splash in the garden and can in this way be wonderfully distracted from unwanted sources of noise and ensure relaxation.
Also suitable are wind chimes or chimes, which inspire with their soothing sounds and can also distract from annoying noise.
Arrange with the neighbors
A point that is often forgotten when it comes to noise protection in the garden is the relationship with the neighbors. Because if all the neighbors treat each other well and are considerate of one another, then quite a bit of noise can be avoided from the outset.
For example, big celebrations and loud work in the garden can be discussed with the neighbors. Responsible neighbors don’t mow the lawn when the other person is just relaxing in the garden and taking a nap.
If you maintain a good relationship with your neighbors, then any building measures that may arise, such as a noise protection wall or new greenery on the property boundary, will not immediately become an insoluble dispute.
A good neighborly relationship is worth its weight in gold and has only advantages for everyone involved.
Building permits, regulations and guidelines
Before implementing the planned enclosure, you should ask the building authority of the respective city or municipality which legal regulations and guidelines apply to the construction of a noise protection wall. Building regulations can vary from state to state.
This involves, for example, questions about the permitted height and the distance to the property line. Depending on the planned execution, a building permit may be required for such a project.
Before you start, you should not only contact the building authorities, but also your neighbors. In a personal meeting, the planned project can be discussed and any reservations can be taken into account.
In fact, fencing can raise legal questions about civil law, neighbor law, building law, and even criminal law. Therefore, the legal issues should not be taken lightly and should be thoroughly examined.
Once everything has been sufficiently clarified, nothing stands in the way of starting the project.
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