Add some Peas and Quiet into your garden…
Noise has become so much of a bugbear in our lives and we can’t seem to escape from it even in our own back yard. The garden should provide a tranquil escape from daily life. But whether it’s the telly blaring from the house, traffic in the street or screaming kids, there’s just no peace. Get up very early one morning and listen to the difference.
That’s what your garden should sound like. But there are some easy ways that you can reduce noise through planting and fencing. Many firms sell timber acoustic barriers that soak up unwanted sound, using the same technology as fencing along motorways. It’s more expensive, but you’ll reap the benefit for years.
The further away the noise you’re trying to avoid, the higher the fence should be. An eye-level fence at 1.5m or 4ft 11ins can instantly reduce sounds from next door. If you have very noisy neighbours, a street or park nearby, try a 3m-high barrier.
Plants too – especially conifers – can play a significant part in sound insulation while also providing visual privacy. A nice-looking shrub with deep emerald foliage that smells of pineapple if you crush it is Thuja plicata atrovirens. It won’t grow quite as uncontrollably as a leylandii but still makes a lovely dense, soundproof hedge.
Bamboo not only soaks up sound but its rustling acts as a sort of white noise distraction. And Nandina domestica, sometimes known as heavenly bamboo, although not of the same family, can be used to create a thick, flowering barrier. Talking of distraction, another tactic is to add a water feature. You’ll find the delightful sound of trickling and splashing reduces everything else to background.
You’ll need to fence your entire garden because noise can travel around a barrier. There’s also a new Quiet Mark of approval, pioneered by campaign group the Noise Abatement Society, for garden tools such as lawnmowers or trimmers, which create notably less racket than other models. They’ll certainly make your own garden quieter when you’re working in it.