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Landscaping to baffle noise.

Landscaping to baffle noise

What can you do to baffle noise in a home garden? This remodel shows one good solution: a layered partition of wall, soil, and plants.

Studies reveal that plants alone won't do the job. By blocking your view, they only make noises seem farther away. To deflect sounds generated by street traffic or neighbors, it takes a solid barrier: a fence, earth, or--better yet--a dense wall.

With that in mind, landscape architects Eriksson, Peters, Thomas of Pasadena remodeled this side garden. To answer the owners' request for quiet, they built a concrete-block wall, mounded dirt high against it, then cloaked the berm with bushy plants.

To meet setback requirements, they placed the 6-foot-high wall (shown in the diagram) 9 feet in from the property line. The setback also allowed them to preserve several mature Pittosporum undulatum trees at the edge of the property.

New pool construction provided soil for the 5-foot-high berm, which starts 1 foot from the top of the wall and slopes down to the patio and a pathway bordering the house. While the mound hides the block wall, it also doubles the soundproofing effect.

The slope performs another function: it gives plants a boost. As a result, the owners didn't have to wait for them to grow up to block the view of the two-story house next door. The photograph shows the slope two years after planting.

Creating a screen, strawberry guava (Psidium littorale longipes) and Cape honeysuckle (Tecoma capensis) grow big and bushy on top of the berm. To cover the face of the slope, the owners planted agapanthus, "White Lace' azaleas, daylilies, "Needlepoint' ivy, and raphiolepis. Multistemmed bronze loquat trees add height about halfway up the berm.

Photo: From the patio, you see a steep slope densley planted with ivy, flowers, shrubs, and small trees, with tall trees behind to help screen out the neighboring house. Diagram shows how the berm masks a block wall and helps form a noise barrier between houses
COPYRIGHT 1986 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1986 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Oct 1, 1986
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