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ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

Will a water feature help block outdoor noise?

Asked by ItalianPrincess1217 (11657points) December 26th, 2018

We packed up and moved to a beautiful new location. It’s only been a month but so far we love it here. It’s the middle of nowhere but the closest town is a few minutes away and a large shopping center is only 20 minutes from us. We’re surrounded by mountains and valleys. I’m in love with the scenery already. We don’t have any close neighbors but the road noise can be loud and sound carries far out here so the neighbors that live several roads across from us, we can still hear sometimes. Not a big deal but I’m wondering if maybe a water feature would help drown out some of that noise. Would it be worth it to build a fountain or waterfall in the yard? I’m trying to think of a way to make it sound as peaceful as it looks.

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16 Answers

chyna's avatar

When the leaves and foliage come back, that will muffle a lot of the noise. Also, you will get used to it and be able to block it out.
I would wait until spring to see if you still need a water feature.

elbanditoroso's avatar

The other thing to consider is cost.

Over and above the capital expense to move the earth and guide the water down (which,, depending on terrain, can be costly) you’ll also have the ongoing cost of the electric pump to recirculate the water. If you’re running the pump 24/7, that’s a constant draw of electricity. The cost of the electricity will depend on the power needs of the pump.

And pumps don’t last forever. So figure on replacing it every couple of years.

I live less than ½ mile from Interstate 85 – lots of trucks and other traffic. I got used to the sounds of heavy trucks after the first month; now I barely hear them. Now my gripe is the sound the drums from the high school marching band doing their rehearsals late in the afternoon in fall. That’s about ¾ of a mile away.

Honestly, I wouldn’t worry about it. As @chyna said, the leaves in spring will muffle the sound.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

Another possibility is wall. Not as picturesque and romantic, but a lot less expensive to build and maintain. You see them along expressways where subdivisions are right alongside the road.

canidmajor's avatar

Evergreens like firs or rhododendron that keep the foliage are excellent sound mufflers.

rojo's avatar

Most definitely agree with @chyna. We live by a highway, actually we are a ways away with buildings and a large barrier of wooks but for some reason the acoustics here (maybe the wetland watercourse?) seem to amplify the road noise. Not bad, just a constant background hum/buzz. It bugged me for the first few weeks but after that I don’t even notice it anymore.

The one time that really brought it to my attention was an ice day when there was no traffic at all. It was not the noise but the silence that caught my attention.

Also, as a college kid I lived a block from a railroad track. Friends would come over and ask how I could stand all the noise when trains passed by and my roommate and I would ask “What noise”?

If it bothers you inside or keeps you awake then I would suggest some type of white noise generator. Small water fountains work for me but drive my wife crazy. She uses a small fan.

janbb's avatar

I have a train station four blocks from my house. When I first moved in, I heard the trains all night, now they don’t register at all. Save your money and wait a while.

JLeslie's avatar

I agree with @chyna that spring and summer foliage will muffle the sound.

I also do agree that a water feature would create white noise that would drown out the road noise, and if the water feature is actually a soothing noise for you it might very well be worth the investment, but I would wait to make this decision, don’t do it in haste. Also, can you run the feature during the coldest months? I’m assuming you are talking about a water feature outside.

The coldest months are when you perceive the road noise the most. Not only because of the bare trees, but because the forest is very quiet. Birds are south, insects and other living things are asleep, dormant, or hibernating. When the all the creatures come back to life their noise will also create more white noise.

Does the noise only bother you at night when trying to sleep? Or, only when outside trying to enjoy your backyard? If it’s during sleep time you can get a white noise machine or run a fan in your bedroom.

Response moderated
Zaku's avatar

Sound carries quite well over still water, so no.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@elbanditoroso I live on a state route and it’s not nearly as busy as the highways are, but it gets heavy semi-truck traffic. At first I noticed it a lot, but it’s getting less and less noticeable each day. I knew when we did the walk-through that it was one of the things we would have to accept and I was okay with it. We also have train tracks across the way. I barely notice them. My husband notices them more. I agree, the traffic bothers me a lot less than human noise! On the occasions I hear actual neighbors outside I notice that a lot more than semi-truck cruising by. Strange. Cost of electric to keep it running was one major thing on my mind though.

@Call_Me_Jay we currently have a fence up at near road, the kind with no gaps in between the panels. Although it doesn’t touch the ground and we sit up on a hill much higher than the road, so the road noise surely gets under a little and goes right over top of it too. If we built a wall it would have to be as tall as Trump’s.

@canidmajor We are actually surrounded by trees. We sit back from the road a little bit behind pine trees and a bunch of other kinds of trees mixed in there. We’re hidden for the most part.

@JLeslie When we’re outside is when it’s noticeable. Inside I don’t mind/notice. I keep thinking come spring it would be nice to have something to drown out the sound of the road and the neighbors when they’re outside. During winter I wouldn’t mind if we didn’t have the water feature running but I’m not sure what’s involved in that.

JLeslie's avatar

I hate road noise, especially when I’m trying to sleep. If I couldn’t hear the noise in my bedroom at night I’d be ok with it overall.

I like an occasional train though.

Is there any chance you will put in a pool at some point? I only ask because it’s easy to incorporate a water feature on a pool.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@JLeslie I always use an app on my phone with rain sounds to fall asleep. I don’t think I could sleep without some sort of white noise! Even total silence drives me insane. I don’t plan on putting a pool in. I have seen online kits for water features but I’m not sure what you do in winter with those.

JLeslie's avatar

I would guess you don’t have to do anything in the winter except drain the line. Luckyguy would know.

My current house is dead quiet at night. My husband and I love it.

Caravanfan's avatar

Get a water feature only if you want to enjoy a water feature.

MrGrimm888's avatar

I have an aquarium. It’s filter makes a fairly loud dripping noise. I have a major roadway about 100 yards from my house. I rarely hear it over the aquarium.

I plan on putting a smaller aquarium in my bathroom. That way when I have a girl over, we can’t hear each other using the restroom.

A privacy fence might work really well. I would prefer that. But an aquarium can help add a sort of white noise, to help drown out other noises.

Kardamom's avatar

Double or triple paned windows will help more, and save you money in the long run, as opposed to paying constantly for a water feature, and will keep you warmer in the winter, and cooler in the summer.

Replacing windows is a good investment.

Outside, in the yard, walls and foliage will help.

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