Creating a quiet and private oasis in a front or back yard, one that will cut traffic noise, noise from nearby trains, barking dogs, the noisy generators and heat pumps in neighbors’ yards, and even the noisy neighbors themselves is an excellent investment, not only in your home’s value, but in the quality of your lifestyle.
Traffic noise is actually one of the most difficult soundproofing projects that any soundproofing engineer or acoustical consultant could ever have to tackle. In essence you are trying to soundproof the outdoors, from the outdoors. It is tough to accomplish, but there are methods that can block noise dramatically and give you the private and serene yard you long for.
A fence alone will do nothing to block traffic-generated noise. A fence or barrier made of stone or masonry will increase your chances of blocking the noise but depending on your budget, where you live, and your city’s ordinances, you may be prohibited from constructing this type of fence.
Some city ordinances also limit fence heights to six-feet, eight-feet or 10-feet. Since the “line-of-sight” rule says that if you can see the source of the noise by looking over the fence, you will be able to hear it; although attaching sound blocking fencing material to a six-foot fence will significantly decrease noise, a fence built eight- to 10-feet high with sound barrier fencing material attached will create a seriously quiet oasis in any back yard. Homeowners can enjoy family time, entertaining, and simply sharing a quiet meal outdoors without external noise infringing, and without disturbing their neighbors.
If you are planning to build a wooden fence (dog eared slat type) then all the gaps in the wood fence must be caulked in with a good acoustical caulk. After you have caulked the gaps between the slats, you will need to line the backside or the side facing the traffic, with a high quality outdoor noise blocking fencing material made specifically for this type of application.
Some noise reduction fencing material comes with anodized brass grommets across the top and bottom, allowing it to be easily hung over the existing fence (wood, chain link, or other structure) and secured with heavy duty nylon wire ties. It can be hung on the outside of the fence facing the noise source, or on the inside of the fence, facing the property, and can be removed and reused for special events, or kept in place permanently.
More and more landscape architects, gardeners, and homeowners are utilizing noise abatement fencing to create a private, peaceful backyard retreat. When choosing a noise abatement material to hang on an existing fence, installation should be easy, and care must be taken to install it properly so that no gaps remain between sections of noise reduction fencing material. Overlapping sections eliminates any worry of noise seeping through.
A sound abatement consultant can provide you with professional advice when it comes to choosing the best noise abatement fencing product and its application, according to the height of your fence and the level on noise control you wish to achieve.
When installing any sound barrier fence, curb appeal is an important factor, in addition to the product’s appearance within the yard. Acoustical fencing in itself offers no aesthetic value, but can easily be camouflaged with greenscaping that blocks the view of the fence. When designing a yard for acoustic comfort, there are plenty of options to use foliage as an aesthetic finishing touch.
Additionally, there are high-quality fencing attachments available that actually hang directly over the acoustical fencing, to camouflage an entire fence with scenic landscapes. These attachments can create the illusion that the fence blends in with the existing landscape, or they can create a whole new aesthetic. With hundreds of designs available, and the option to have a custom scene made, these landscape attachments, which are made of UV resistant solar shade material (the same material used in patio umbrellas and outdoor furniture fabrics) are an excellent option for hiding an acoustical fence. They can be hung to face the street, and they can be hung to face the yard, or both.
Your backyard should provide a tranquil and private retreat, where the grounds are shielded from external noise, and your family can have fun and privacy year round. Installing the right acoustical fence is the first step toward achieving that goal.
If you live anywhere near an arterial or collector street, you know that traffic noise is one of the greatest generators of noise in cities and suburbs. In fact, if your home is on a busy street, or close to one, traffic noise can actually become a quality of life issue, making it difficult to enjoy time spent outdoors and even inhibiting sleep. Add to that the fact that most municipalities have laws in place that prohibit the construction of walls and fences tall enough to provide an effective sound barrier, and you've got a real challenge on your hands.
Tall hedges, effective landscaping, smart backyard design, and natural sources of soothing white noise can all make a huge difference when used together effectively. Talking to a quality landscaper about developing the right landscaping for reducing city noise on your property is the best way go. Nevertheless, here's some tried and true ideas for combating that urban din.
One popular way to both provide an effective noise barrier and comply with city building codes is by planting hedges. Tall hedges aren't subject to height limitations, and when cultivated and planned properly, and in combination with high-quality sound abatement fencing, they provide beautiful and effective sound barriers between your yard and busy streets.
Hedges and trees are also an excellent way to provide your yard and home with more privacy, another common concern for those living on busy thoroughfares. Be sure to talk a landscaper or nursery about choosing the right plants for your situation, space, and climate. Ideally you want a hedge that grows up without growing out, and the faster it grows the better. You can enhance the soundproofing effects of this type of berm landscape by incorporating acoustical fence into the foliage. Acoustifence is easily hidden within foliage, providing a much more effective sound barrier than the foliage alone without, interfering with aesthetics.
Avoid plants that put off fruits or berries since they can make more mess than they're worth, and always look for vegetation that won't demand much upkeep or watering on your part. Choose low maintenance acoustical fencing as well; the best noise abatement fencing should be easily cleaned simply by hosing it off,
Besides vegetation and acoustical fencing, there are other options for landscape design that can help make dealing with city noise easier. Building a deck on the opposite side of the home from the road, for example, can seriously reduce the amount of city noise you deal with when you're grilling, entertaining, or just enjoying a good book on a warm spring day. If that isn't an option for you, building a privacy wall or hanging acoustical fence on the street-facing side of your deck can work wonders. And while height restrictions can limit their effectiveness, an acoustical privacy fence or a rock or brick wall bordering your property can still make a difference when used in conjunction with tall hedges and other sound reducing strategies.
Excerpted from an article by Matt Goering on Servicemagic.com.