Nothing is more annoying than living next to noisy neighbours, whether it is a family, a business or a roadway. One of the most effective methods of blocking out noise is to grow a barrier using sound-absorbing plants. This will allow you to enjoy your outdoor environment again. It also makes an attractive privacy fence.
A tree can absorb up to 40 per cent of neighbour noise. The source and frequency of noise helps in selecting appropriate barrier trees. Fast-growing evergreen trees like thuja and cypress grow several feet per year and quickly fill in. These evergreens have thick, lush foliage that makes them ideal as a noise buffer. If the noise is only during the summer months, select thick foliage trees such as willow, ash and maple.
Fast-growing tall shrubs are similar to growing trees for privacy and sound absorption. Cypress, holly, yews and junipers can be grown in natural form or trimmed for a more formal, thicker barrier hedge. Privet and oleander are used between highways and roadways in milder climates, specifically to diminish sound and make an excellent noise barrier for homeowners. Barberry, boxwood and holly bushes are also used as privacy and noise barriers, but do not reach the height of other fast-growing shrubs.
When you already have a fence or live in a multi-family complex with a patio or balcony, growing a thick, dense vine can decrease neighbour noise. Vines can cover an open-type fence or be grown in planters or hanging baskets to create a solid barrier. Star jasmine, wisteria, thunbergia, creeping fig, honeysuckle and ivy varieties have dense foliage, grow rapidly and are easy to care for.
The best plants for blocking out sound and creating privacy while enhancing your landscape design are ornamental grasses. Miscanthus varieties, also referred to as maiden or silver grass, are hardy, fast-growing and reach heights of 8 to 10 feet with a spread almost as wide. Pampas grass with tall, feathery, long- lasting plumes create a tall, attractive sound barrier within two years.