Come Friday, most of us are anxious to pull away from the demands of modern life, and relax in our own private sanctuaries. You know when you’re ready to unplug from the noise: find peace in your outdoor living space with these ideas in Granville County and Caswell County, NC.
1. A Water Feature
The soothing sounds of water have been scientifically proven to encourage relaxation. The white noise helps drown out sounds of traffic. Depending on the intensity of the water flow, this relaxing background noise could be subtle or dramatic.
Water features to consider include water walls, rain curtains, artificial streams, fountains, and waterfalls; with water walls being the most subtle and waterfalls being the most dramatic.
A water wall allows water to flow down a smooth or somewhat textured vertical structure which could be made from opaque glass, metal, or masonry. The sound effect will be different depending on the texture and the catch basin.
A waterfall is the water feature to choose if there’s traffic noise you want to drown out.. Like a water wall or artificial stream, a waterfall can be fine-tuned through the use of materials placement and the drop between each water level.
A rain curtain (a perforated pipe that allows water to fall into a catch basin) offers a relatively subtle sound, which can be amended to some degree by choosing a pond catch basin for more pronounced sound, rather than a pondless catch basin which is more subtle.
Both water walls and rain curtains can also do double duty in increasing privacy in your backyard.
2. Sound-Absorbing Plants
The sound-absorbing qualities of plants is something you can take advantage of to boost the tranquility of your backyard.
Plants are the most visually appealing way to make your backyard quieter. Wherever noise is reflected off a hard surface, it will bounce, creating a cacophony of noise. Plants are actually amazing at absorbing high-frequency sounds, which are the most annoying.
Plant sound absorbing plants in the same way you would install a hedge row. The key is in the spacing so that when they mature, there is no gap between plants. Of course this is a longer-term solution; but planting noise-blocking plants on a 3-4’ tall berm will help, as will planting a double row of plants in a zig-zag pattern, if you have the space.
Plants that offer the best noise blocking include broadleaf evergreen shrubs and trees such as cypress, juniper, or holly, whose branches start at ground level.
A lush, layered landscape will absorb sound better than a lawn fringed by a few trees. The key is to vary the height and the density of plants so that sound can’t travel in a straight line from the source to your ears: the more soft surfaces are in the way of the path of the sound, the quieter your space will be.
3. A Privacy Fence or Wall
A privacy fence - typically wood or vinyl - or a masonry privacy wall will also help block noise. Add to the wall’s sound-dampening quality with climbing vines and/or sound-absorbing broadleaf evergreens planted along the wall.
4. Sound-Absorbing Materials
On your patio, sound absorbing materials such as textured wood, soft furnishings, and outdoor curtains on a pergola can also help absorb noise.
5. An Outdoor Sound System
When all else fails, installing an outdoor sound system (weatherproof speakers) will let you play the sounds you find most soothing.