You might live next to a busy road, have noisy barking dogs nearby, or are unfortunate enough to have neighbors that play their music too loudly. I’ve been there! My bought our first house right next to a closed down racetrack. A few months after we moved in, it opened back up! One thing is for sure, you’re here because you wish you could make your patio quieter. Outdoor spaces are much more difficult to soundproof than indoor spaces, but there are still many effective things you can do to make sure you can spend time on your patio in peace.
How Do I Soundproof My Backyard?
The short answer is that you really can’t “soundproof” your backyard without also turning it into an indoor space. However, you can employ a few noise mitigation techniques like planting noise muffling plants or white noise speakers. More effective options like sound-proof barriers exist, but at a major financial cost.
How Much Do Sound-Proof Barriers Cost?
Sound-proof barriers cost a lot! You’ll likely spend between $40 and $80 per square foot if you decide to install one. To illustrate exactly how much this is, let’s take a real world example. If you want the fence to be 6 feet high and 20 feet long (this isn’t a terribly large fence), you’ll be spending a minimum of $4,800.
So, if sound-proof barriers are cost prohibitive and it’s impossible to completely block out the noise, what options do we have left? Well, it depends on specifically what type of noise you want to block out.
How Do I Block Road Noise On My Patio?
Trees! Gorgeous, lush, eco-friendly trees. If you’re trying to block directional noise (like that coming from traffic on a busy road), trees can muffle it by 3-5 decibels! This effect can be compounded if you’re able to plant the trees in a staggered row formation, like so:
This is the kind of setup we ended up going with when the racetrack opened back up. It didn’t completely eliminate the noise, but definitely muffled it enough to where we weren’t tearing out hair out every Saturday night.
White Noise Is a Great Alternative
If the noise you’re trying to block is quieter than the 130 decibels of a race car, you can use an outdoor white noise machine. While this doesn’t make your patio quieter, the white noise has a “masking” effect that allows the human brain to ignore the problematic sounds.
If you’re looking for an outdoor white noise machine to try out, we can recommend the LectroFan line of products. In addition to being the highest quality noise canceling machines I’ve encountered (We use their micro units in both of our children’s rooms), they’re also an economical way to help your outdoor noise problem. You should check out the current price on Amazon.
Do Privacy Fences Also Reduce Noise?
No, not really. While it may muffle conversation level noise, privacy fences are mainly concerned with blocking line of sight (not noise). Additionally, this article was written with cheap, easy noise mitigation options in mind. A privacy fence is neither cheap or easy!
How to Handle Noisy Neighbors
Often the source of the offending noise in your outdoor space is one of your direct neighbors. This can be especially frustrating. Noisy neighbors can appear inconsiderate and rude, and no one wants to start drama with someone that lives close to them.
However, it might be worth tactfully bringing up the noise to them if you see them outside. It’s possible that your neighbors aren’t even aware that this is happening (or if they are, they might not know it’s disturbing you). A good way of bringing this up would be the following:
Hey Jim, I heard you working on that Motorcycle engine last night. I hope it’s going well, but could you maybe close the garage door next time?
Folks are generally nicer than we assume them to be, and this would be one of the easiest ways to help fix your noise problem (not to mention the cheapest).
The Tips For A Quieter Patio
So, without further ado, here are all of the tips we just discussed to make your patio quieter.
- You can’t really soundproof an outdoor space without turning it into an indoor space.
- You can reduce directional noise by planting staggered row trees between your patio and the source of the sound.
- For noise with a lower decibel count, using a white-noise machine is an effective and economical option.
- Privacy fences are ineffective at noise control.
- If the source of the noise is from your neighbor, simply talking to them about the problem is probably the cheapest/easiest option.
Did I miss any tips? Do you do anything differently that you’d like to share? Leave the information in the comments!