Trees reduce noise pollution

Noise protection in the garden

Noise protection is an important issue in many gardens - especially in urban areas. Squeaking brakes, roaring trucks, rattling lawnmowers, they are all part of our daily background noise. Noise can be annoying without us even realizing it. Because we can't close our ears. They even work at night when we sleep. Even if you think you are getting used to the noise - as soon as 70 decibels are exceeded, this can affect your health: blood vessels constrict, breathing accelerates, the heart beats faster.

In brief: what helps against noise in the garden?

Noise barriers are most effective against strong noise, for example from a passing expressway or railway line. Depending on the material, these can either absorb or reflect the noise. There are noise barriers made of concrete, wood, glass or bricks, for example. The closer the protective wall is to the source of the noise, the better it works. If the noise is not too loud, it is sometimes sufficient to distract from it with soothing sounds, for example with a little water feature, wind chimes or rustling grass.

How can you protect yourself from noise in the garden?

Especially in the garden, where you are looking for a balance to a noisy and stressful everyday life, unpleasant noises should be left out. There are two ways to protect yourself from noise. You can reflect or absorb the sound. You know the first principle from within the company. Walls and soundproof windows keep traffic noises and the roar of a lively environment outside.

Soundproofing elements in the garden offer similar solutions. Anyone who has ever visited a walled garden or has stood in a patio in southern countries will remember the soothing silence. High walls effectively block outside noise.

This noise barrier is filled with UV-resistant geotextile and also filters fine dust. It is easy to assemble and can then be decorated with climbing plants

Noise barriers are more effective the higher and heavier they are. If the house is on a noisy street, it is best to protect yourself at the property line: the closer the distance to the noise source, the more effective the noise protection for the residents. There are gabion walls that are essentially filled with insulating material. That swallows sound. From the outside you can only see decorative stones. You will often find such combinations with soundproofing elements.

There are noise barriers made of concrete, wood, glass, fabric or brick. The material decides whether the wall absorbs or reflects the noise. Various tests have shown that noises are reflected back from smooth surfaces made of glass, concrete and masonry. Porous materials, on the other hand, pick up sound. If, for example, elements for privacy protection are additionally filled with noise-absorbing coconut mesh, planked with wood or covered with trees, this can increase the effect. The shielding by a planted earth wall is known from new development areas. Hedges alone primarily provide privacy.

Often, however, even the visual cover has a calming effect. If you live opposite the wall of your neighbors, absorption is cheaper, because otherwise the sound level there will increase by up to three decibels. Remember that a 10 decibel increase in noise is perceived by the human ear as a doubling of the volume. Rough surfaces absorb the sound, they are particularly suitable for residential areas. When concreting walls, wooden strips can be placed in the concrete formwork. After the shuttering has been removed, the concrete wall has a corrugated surface, which reduces sound reflection and serves as a climbing aid when landscaping.

Important: You have to shield the whole street along the property with a noise barrier. If interruptions are necessary, for example at the driveway, you should pull the walls around the corners.

The sound-absorbing construction made of sheet steel is assembled on site, filled with soil and greened (left). A stone look loosens up the reflective concrete fence. The bottom plank is embedded about 5 centimeters into the ground (right)

How can you distract from sources of noise?

The idea of ​​distracting from the source of the noise goes in a similar direction. Soothing sounds cover up unpleasant noises. "Soundscaping" is already being used successfully in shopping malls and public places. Surely you have already heard the soothing music or even the twittering of birds from the tape. In the garden it works in a very natural way: In addition to the rustling of leaves and the rustling of tall grass, water games and wind chimes provide a pleasant background noise.

In this video we show you how to make your own wind chimes with glass beads.
Credit: MSG / Alexander Buggisch / Producer Silvia Knief

Structural and plant-based noise protection measures

Peace is the magic word for a garden in which one has peace. In our example below, too, the entire garden is framed with prefabricated elements. But be careful: structural elements that ensure the peace of a property - hence the name "enclosure" - are subject to the building regulations of the respective federal state due to their execution and amount. Therefore, not only coordinate with the neighbors before building, but also ask the building authority whether you need a building permit.

Inquire with the building authorities on site what is possible according to the fencing statute before noise protection elements are installed. There are also regulations for hedges and tree planting. They set the limit distances to the neighbors and regulate what is customary in the area.

Observe the rest periods for the leaf vacuum and blower

While the rustling of autumn leaves is an almost welcome sound in the garden year, the noise pollution from the motor-operated devices is classified as high. For this reason, leaf blowers and leaf blowers should only be used on working days between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Other times are possible if the device bears the eco-label according to regulation 1980/2000 of the European Parliament, i.e. is not as loud as old devices.

Noise protection in the garden: petrol mower or robotic lawnmower?

Neighbors often feel disturbed by the roar of the petrol lawnmower (left), while robotic lawnmowers (right) are much quieter

Gasoline-powered lawnmowers usually have a sound power level of 90 decibels and more. Robotic lawn mowers are significantly lower at 50 to 70 decibels. But these devices are constantly buzzing across the site. With a petrol mower, the lawn can be sheared in a reasonable amount of time. It is best to talk to the neighbors, then an amicable solution can often be found.