Knowing is growing.
You know what is great about knowledge?
The knowledge that’s the most profound is applicable to life. Now, an outdoor soundproofing fence isn’t life-changing. But for audiophiles, you never know.
Another man’s trash is another man’s treasure and it applies here.
Even for those neighbors who always complain about the sound will appreciate a soundproofing fence.
In this post we’ll teach you what makes a great outdoor soundproofing fence and more.
PHYSICS OF SOUND
We won’t get too technical here because this isn’t our expertise. But we believe understanding some sound physics will help you in understanding sound and why it acts the way it does.
Also, it’ll help when you’re either purchasing or constructing your fence.
Sound waves come about by a vibration. That’s why when you see a subwoofer vibrate, it creates waves.
When the vibrations hit the air, human ears perceive them right away. Our ears are so sensitive we can hear a variety of different frequencies.
Whenever there’s a high-pitch then that means there is a high-frequency wave and vice-versa for low frequencies.
How does this relate to soundproofing walls?
Since sound has different frequencies, this means sound waves take different forms.
Their ability to vibrate at different frequencies makes them hard to contain. Long waves of sound can manipulate themselves around shapes and walls.
The difference between waves and light is waves are hard to completely shut down.
There are 3 ways sound can be stopped and 2 of them don’t apply to our soundproofing situation. The one that does apply is about stopping the sound wave from even getting close to your ear.
But with a soundproofing fence, your objectives are to mitigate the sound waves from escaping to other areas and have other sounds come into your area. Preferably your neighbor’s backyard.
So how does a soundproofing fence work its magic?
Let’s find out.
WHY GET A SOUNDPROOFING FENCE?
Understanding that your neighbors don’t appreciate loud noise while trying to sleep shouldn’t be stated.
It’s common sense.
But what about those times when you’re trying to celebrate something? Sometimes you just want to have a good time.
And the best place for that celebration is in your backyard.
We get it…
And the win-win solution for both your neighbor and yourself is to get an outdoor soundproofing fence.
Throwing a party is one of the main reasons as to why you should have outdoor speakers.
THE QUALITIES OF REFLECTION
Relating this back to sound physics, let’s talk about how sound reflects. Reflection of sound has 2 results.
Reverberation and echo.
Whichever result happens depends on the environment you’re in.
What we want is for sound to stay inside our general area without any reverberance or echo affecting sound quality.
Since we’re dealing with outdoor speakers we have to be realistic about our expectations. We’re just not going to have the same sound enclosure as an audiotorium or room.
But what we can do is make the sound as lively as possible.
How do we do that?
By having a rough wall.
And this is where it gets fun. This is where someone who’s looking into an outdoor soundproofing wall can get creative.
Just remember, the first principle to having a spectacular soundproofing wall is to make sure it’s rough.
WHAT DO WE MEAN BY ROUGH?
We mean “rough” literally. So foam and rubber walls won’t do. What we want are wooden and cemented walls.
Next time you go to the movies or watch an opera performance, what do you notice about the room?
It’s always enclosed by solid walls.
Do you know the reason why we want solid walls?
Because we want a lively environment. And a lively environment has the sound bouncing everywhere in a contained area. Rough walls bounce sound waves off itself and that’s why we want them.
Anyone in the radius of the outdoor speakers shouldn’t feel like they can’t hear anything if your walls are set-up right.
THE NUMBER ONE QUALITY OF A GREAT FENCE
There are factors to consider when making or purchasing a fence.
The number 1 quality which drowns out and reflects sound is “mass”. Mass isn’t easy to define if you don’t like science.
One way to explain it is mass is the resistance against acceleration. Stated as a question, how much force does it take to move something.
This equation illustrates how mass is applied in the physical world.
Another example we can use is comparing the mass of a paper against a foam. When you scream through a piece of paper, there isn’t much distortion. When you scream on foam, your voice gets muffled.
Foam has more mass making it a better absorber of sound.
While we strayed away from why mass matters when picking the right fence, explaining mass and the way it interconnects with other things helps you understand it better.
Mass is the best indicator on whether or not a fence will be successful or not.
UNDERSTAND HOW ENVIRONMENTS AFFECT SOUND
When deciding on a fence, either go with wood or cement because they reflect sound. Even though this is critical, it’s only a part of the formula.
The other half of the formula depends on your environment. If you live out in the midwest where you can get acres of land relatively cheap, then only consider what type of wall you’re getting.
If you’re in a suburban area or live anywhere next to neighbors then understand the environment’s noise also affects sound.
Remember the first principle of soundproofing walls?
We want rough walls which reflect sound.
But rough walls are all around your environment and they reflect sound too. The problems arise when you live in a dense area where cars, people, and other factors which produce sound appear.
Those sounds from the environment will reflect onto your backyard where you’re throwing your party and muddy the sound.
If your walls or fence aren’t high enough then you can have car sounds penetrate your acoustics.
Who can build walls high enough to block those sounds out though? Well, there is something that can help, but it’s not what people are thinking.
Another part we should mention with walls is they have regulations. Although the regulations depend on your location, most, if not all states have laws to abide by.
But the x-factor we’re going to talk about has far fewer restrictions.
The x-factor to absorb your environment’s sounds are plants.
This is something we suggest you implement in the construction of your wall. The ideal place to put them would be in front of your wall making the wall the last resort for blocking sound. This makes it look like you have a sound barrier fence.
Using plants as a noise barrier has high upside and low downside.
What we mean is a plant keeps on growing. Obviously, its length depends on the type of plant and your care, but the higher it gets, the more sound it absorbs.
An upside to using plants is they’re easy to look at and provide oxygen. This makes your backyard more comfortable and more pleasing to be around.
Who wouldn’t want that?
HOW TO PLANT NOISE BLOCKING PLANTS
If you want to add aesthetics to your plants then we recommend berms.
Berms have multiple benefits and one of them is they give additional heights to your plants.
A berm is when you use filling material such as sand, gravel, or dirt and create an area which looks like terrain on a map.
There are specific guidelines you need to follow, but we’ll pass because we want to show you how to plant noise blocking plants.
To start planning, know that you should put the plants as close as possible to the unwanted noise. Another thing you should plan for is knowing how much space you want between each plant. You don’t want them interfering with each other as they grow.
In addition, getting them as close as possible with each other without interfering makes them denser.
The denser it is, the more noise protection you’ll get.
Even though it isn’t necessary, try to place the best-looking plants in the front row. You don’t want your guests looking at out of place branches.
NOISE BLOCKING PLANTS
The type of plant you want are broadleaf evergreens.
There are different types of broadleaf evergreens, but what they all share in common is their color.
They keep their colors all year long which makes them great for aesthetics. More importantly, they provide noise absorption all year long as well.
What lets them block noise effectively?
Evergreen plants have long branches which go all the way to the ground. Their branches are thick which gives them the surface area (mass) to block out noise.
Here are some noise blocking plants we recommend.
- American Holly
- Common Juniper
- Japanese Holly
Keep in mind these are only 3 out of many broadleaf evergreens.
There’s a lot that goes on in a soundproofing wall. Every detail shouldn’t go unnoticed.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
If you were to take anything away then remember these 2 things.
Number 1 should be you need rough walls. They reflect sound and make your party more lively.
Number 2 is mass. A rough wall with mass is usually assumed, but make sure. A common unit of measurement for mass is grams. Just don’t confuse mass with weight.
Other than these 2, everything else is ancillary.
But we highly recommend plants because they’re helpful.