Landscape Design Tips for Noise Reduction

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    An unpredictable part of owning a home and landscape in Kansas City is figuring out what the area is going to be like in terms of noise.

    Will you be able to hear traffic from your backyard? Do you have particularly noisy neighbors on one side?

    Unfortunately, noises that you don’t make can be out of your control. But you value your time in your Kansas City landscape and you don’t want noise to get in your way.

    We have some good news for you. There are some actions you can take to mitigate unwanted noises from making your outdoor experiences unbearable.

    Let’s review some noise reduction landscaping ideas and outdoor sound barrier techniques so you can better muffle those distracting nearby noises.

    2 Noise Reducing Landscaping Strategies For Your Kansas City Backyard  

    Sitting in your suburban Kansas City backyard enjoying a nice day can be such a great experience … as long as you don’t have to hear your neighbor’s dogs barking, listen to rush-hour traffic, or drown out the sound of the loud music wafting into your yard.

    You may live close to your neighbors, but that doesn’t mean you have to hear their gossip, music, or distracting sounds.

    Here are two key noise reduction landscaping strategies you can use to mitigate unwanted sounds in your garden. Either strategy can be used with all types of garden styles. The key is to use a combination of layers and techniques to soften or repel sound waves.

    Noise Reduction Landscaping Idea #1: Buffer Zones  

    Buffer zones can be fast and effective methods of addressing noise coming from many areas.

    Buffers – or walls – physically block sound waves. But they can come in various types of materials.

    They can be a decorative fence, tall hedges of trees or shrubs, or sound barrier walls.

    Whichever option you choose, it must be solid or else noise can travel through. A buffer wall will reflect back some sound waves toward the source, absorb others, and a little bit may travel through. Your goal is to maximize noise absorption.

    You might consider a wall or fence for immediate noise-blocking impacts, and then plant trees and shrubs in front of it to absorb excess sound over time.

    The best way to reduce overall noise is using an uninterrupted hedge of evergreen trees. In severe cases – near a highway, for instance – you can try a double row of trees for better sound deflection. Trees are excellent sound barriers because the plants can absorb the sound waves. Evergreen trees, particularly, have lots of branches and thick, lush leaves, making them your best bets for deferring sounds.

     Noise Reduction Landscaping Idea #2: Sound Diffusion   

    Another natural sound barrier for yards is to cancel out the bad noise with pleasant sounds.

    This strategy creates a background white noise effect. For instance, the trickling sound of water in a bubbler, a stream with moving water, or a waterfall are great examples of how the flow of water can diffuse sound.

    Other examples of noise diffusers are wind chimes or outdoor sound systems. Having a professionally installed outdoor sound system can connect your indoor and outdoor music seamlessly and have noise-cancelling abilities to allow you to escape the world outside of your yard and just focus on your landscape.

     Creative Options for Noise Reducing Landscaping  

    Your Kansas City landscape or garden is supposed to be a place for relaxation and entertainment.

    Unwanted noises can cause frustration and interrupt the peaceful feeling you want in your space.

    While not all noises can be 100% blocked, they can be softened to a more relaxing level.

    Try these creative ideas for outdoor sound barriers.


    You know trees and shrubs can be amazing at buffering nearby noises.

    But you can get more creative and add visual appeal by layering your hedges with different materials as landscaping to block road noise. This can still provide you with a solid hedge but add a creative look and feel to your space.

    If noise reduction is your primary focus when planning a hedge, ensure the hedge is solid. If there are gaps and breaks, the sound waves will funnel through the gaps and can often magnify. The downside of a solid hedge is that it can feel closed-off. A layering effect might help lessen this downside.

    Remember, a general rule of thumb is that more plants create more barriers for unwanted sounds. A sparse or barren landscape doesn’t have sound blocking ability and can funnel unwanted noise right to your patio.

    Tall Walls  

    When you want to try a solid fence or wall as an outdoor sound barrier, your visual impression of this might be pretty boring.

    Shake things up by using unique stone brick for a more aesthetically pleasing noise barrier. The goal is to make sure the wall is tall enough to reflect the location of the sound waves.

    Sink In  

    Instead of building up, consider going down.

    A sunken patio or lounge area can be a natural sound barrier for yards that buffers noise. The lower you are, the more sound will be deadened by the earth, walls and landscaping plantings surrounding the patio. This is a clever solution if you already have sloping terrain that needs to step down anyway. If designed well, sound waves will just travel over the top of this area.

    Another advantage to this type of space is that it creates privacy.

     Add Your Own Sound  

    An outdoor sound system is a great addition to your Kansas City backyard.

    Not only does it incorporate music and hours of enjoyment into your space, it can also diffuse unattractive sounds with relaxing melodies. And what’s more is the speakers can blend in with your landscape so they don’t stand out like eyesores.

    This option provides a lot of gratification because an outdoor sound system brings both enjoyment and functionality with the sound diffusion.

    Water Works  

    A water feature is such a relaxing backyard addition.

    The bonus: it’s also an outdoor sound barrier.

    Water features diffuse unattractive sounds, while providing you with visual enjoyment and soothing sounds.

    The more drop or elevation change your water feature has, the louder its running water sound will be to help cancel out unwanted noises.

    Custom Solutions  

    When you want noise reducing landscaping, a long-term solid fence doesn’t have to be your only solution.

    There are many custom ideas High Prairie Landscape Group can create in Kansas City based on your needs and unique space challenges.

    Anything you can dream up we can create. Think garden beds that use a variety of plants in a vertical growing platform to create height, privacy, and visual interest. Even sunken patios with  colorful containers can provide sound buffers and intimacy.

    Maybe you’re picturing a secret garden effect or a grand water feature that makes you feel like you’ve escaped to paradise.

    When you want less noise and a gorgeous vista to relax in, there’s really no limit to what you can do to create this kind of functional and fabulous space.

    Ready to Get Rid of Unwanted Noise in Your Space?   

    Whether you’re looking for a lush evergreen hedge or you want to hear the sound of trickling water or you want a place to nestle in for privacy and some peace and quiet, your neighbor’s noisiness doesn’t have to follow you. You can have your backyard moments and your outdoor sound barrier, too.

    Maybe you have an open backyard, and aren’t sure how noise reduction landscaping can work to limit your traffic and neighbor noises. Or maybe your unique property layout or elevation make determining your best approach to sound buffering more challenging than you thought it would be.

    Let High Prairie Landscape Group help. We have years of experience in creating landscaping ideas for noise reduction in Kansas City. We can review your needs and goals and provide you with a wealth of ideas to make your backyard the intimate nook you’ve always wanted it to be.

    Ready to see how High Prairie Landscape Group can enhance your outdoor areas with noise reduction landscaping? We’d love to share our design and installation expertise with you and deliver an elevated outdoor experience. Get started today with a free consultation. Together, we can create a solution that works best for you.

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    About The Author

    Robyn is a 2009 Graduate of the Kansas State University Department of Horticulture. She grew up in South East Kansas where she graduated from Humboldt High School. She was a Kansas State University Leadership Scholar and President of the Horticulture Club. She married Bret in 2009 and they have a daughter Ellie, born in 2021. Their family is completed by three adopted dogs.

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