How to reduce noise in your backyard

A noisy environment has been suggested to affect our mental and physical well-being. It’s been linked to increased risk of hearing loss, generalised anxiety disorder, stress, disturbed sleeping patterns and can even reduce life span.

A 2003 study by Brown and Bullen found that up to 20% of dwellings in Australian cities were exposed to traffic noise well above the recommended by the World Health Organisation. This percentage has likely increased, due to Australia’s expanding population, advancements in infrastructure and the residential housing boom.

Here’s how to find the right solution for you to add peace and quiet to your backyard oasis.


Step One: Choose your method

  • Sound deflection is when sound waves bounce against a barrier back to the source. It’s the most effective way to “kill sound”, but harder and more expensive to achieve.
  • Sound attenuation is a more common solution, which lowers the intensity of the sound by absorbing it.


Step Two: Understand what sound barriers need

Height: Sound barriers should be around 2m high to sufficiently block out traffic noise and prevent noise from rolling over the top; block the line of sight to help block the noise.

Note: Be sure to check local council regulations about height specifications.

Density/rigidity: The denser the material, the more likely it’ll absorb noise. A highway-adjacent home with semi-trailers rattling past will call for a denser barrier than a smaller residential street.

Full coverage: A noise barrier should extend all the way to the ground; gaps at the base or in between sections will allow extraneous noises to enter underneath.

Proximity to the sound: Sound protection barriers should be constructed as close to the noise source as possible, such as by the road or around an A/C unit. Alternatively, the noise barrier could surround a spot where you frequently sit, such as your courtyard.

Type of sound: Your noise attenuation solution may be dependent on the noise type, and whether is it high or low frequency. For instance, an A/C unit will require a different solution to traffic noise.



Step Three: Choose your solution

Brick walls

Highly durable
Up to 50% noise reduction

Very expensive
Long and difficult installation
Older aesthetic won’t match modern homes


Modular walls and fences

Up to 50% noise reduction
Up to half the price of a brick wall
Sleek, modern aesthetic
Rapid, easy installation

Is cheaper than a brick wall,
but more expensive than timber or metal.

Brushwood fences

Found to reduce noise if 600mm or thicker
More affordable than a solid wall
Can last up to 30 years

‘Rustic’ aesthetic
may not work with architectural design
Not suitable to bush fire prone areas



Aesthetically pleasing
Psychological benefits
Studies show plants can reduce stress/anxiety

High maintenance
Maximum noise reduction is about 25%
Plants need to mature to reduce noise


Metal fences

Sturdier than wooden fencing
Cost effective
Easy to install in an Aussie backyard

Looks cheaper and not as versatile
Less effective noise barrier
Damages easily and not for high wind areas


Wooden fences

Easy to install – DIY friendly
Cost effective and material is easily accessible

Less effective as a noise barrier
Shorter shelf life due to damage /rot
Not suitable for bushfire prone homes


Written by Sophie Deutsch

For more information about ModularWalls’ acoustic walls and fences, get in touch with their in-house team on 1300 556 957,or simply enquire below.

Purchase your new wall or fence by 20 December 2017, accompanied by a creative outdoor living #hashtag for the chance to WIN the Ultimate Outdoor Lifestyle Pack, valued at $2000!


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