Investing in your peace and quiet is a crucial step toward a healthy, happy home in our busy world. From traffic noise to loud neighbours, here are our expert tips on how to reduce noise in your backyard!
Why you should reduce noise in your backyard
A 2003 study by Brown and Bullen found that up to 20% of dwellings in Australian cities experience traffic noise well above the World Health Organisation recommendations. This percentage has likely increased due to Australia’s expanding population, advancements in infrastructure and the residential housing boom. Furthermore, the study suggests noise affects our mental and physical well-being. Effects include increased risk of hearing loss, generalised anxiety disorder, stress, disturbed sleeping patterns, and even reduced life span.
Noise reduction, therefore, can positively affect more than just your Sunday morning sleep-ins.
How to reduce noise effectively
The first step to effective noise reduction is understanding the noise source and noise type. This way, you will know if you need to absorb the noise or reflect it.
Our handy guide to acoustic fencing goes into noise source and type for extensively, but generally:
- To reduce noise from passing cars, you will need a road noise barrier.
- For reducing neighbourhood noise (vocal noise from neighbours or animals, lawnmowers, music), acoustic fencing is the perfect choice.
- To reduce low-frequency noise like air-conditioning units or hot water heaters, an acoustic enclosure (typically sound-absorbing) will be best.
What to look for in a road noise barrier
Here are the key factors to effectively reducing road noise in your backyard:
1. Fence height:
Noise barriers should be around 2m high to sufficiently block out traffic noise and prevent noise from rolling over the top. A good rule of thumb is to block the line of sight to help reduce the noise.
Note: Be sure to check local council regulations about height specifications! There are usually exemptions for homes affected by traffic noise, so let them know your situation, rather than just going off standard fencing regulations.
The denser the material, the more likely it’ll reduce noise. So, for example, a highway-adjacent home will call for a thicker barrier than a smaller residential street.
3. Full coverage:
A noise barrier should extend to the ground and be air-tight all over; openings at the base or between sections will allow noise to enter through the gaps.
4. Proximity to the sound:
The noise wall should be as close as possible to the road, acting as a physical barrier between the house and noise. Additionally, if you live on the high side of the road, you may need a taller wall. Generally, noise moves in straight lines for the first 10m, then changes into vertical waves. However, if the barrier is higher, the fence or wall can still be effective 20-30m away.
5. Proximity to your backyard:
Furthermore, the closer you are to the other side of the noise wall, the better the acoustic barrier will perform!
6. Reflected noise:
Also, keep in mind that noise can bounce off hard structures, so consider roof lines (pergolas, balcony, etc.) that are higher than the noise wall; noise might pinball its way through! Ideally, these rooflines should be lower than the noise barrier.
Overall, the best barrier to reduce noise in your backyard will be one that suits your home’s aesthetic, meets your budget and can be easily maintained. Then all you need to do is sit back and enjoy the serenity!