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Dealing with road noise in potential new house and garden

Hi everyone,

We've seen a house we are interested in buying but the back garden runs parallel to a main road which gets up to 40mph. It's a huge amount of space in the garden but I found the noise from the road was louder than I expected it to be. The garden would allow me to have one of my dreams of mixed native hedging for the wildlife, and there would be room to have a thick run of hedging on the road side of the garden. There's currently standard 6 foot fencing so we'd plan to plant the hedging next to that. But my query is, would a tall run of mixed native hedging potentially do anything to reduce the sound? Has anyone got any experience of this? I know we'd probably get more used to it but we've never lived next to a main road before so to me it sounded really loud in the garden. 

The garden space and the house gives us several extra features and potentials that we just don't have at our current place, and the only downside really is the garden being next to the road.

Thanks for any advice, Lucid :)


  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Posts: 11,994
    My advice would be not to buy the house unfortunately. If it's a main road, then you are probably going to get commuter traffic starting about 6.30 am, plus buses and HGV's. Have you visited the house at peak times?  If it worries you now, I'd steer clear. There will be other houses, better situated.
    North East Somerset - Clay soil over limestone
  • You can't have it all with a house...!
  • B3B3 Posts: 27,018
    Im inclined to agree. I would find the noise at the front tolerable but i would want my back garden to be more peaceful. But everyone is different. You really do need to visit the area a various times of the day so that you can judge the noise levels. I suppose you'd get used to the constant hum of free moving traffic but a junction would be much noisier
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • MeomyeMeomye Posts: 902
    Unfortunately I to agree with the previous comments, don't do it! You don't get used to it and you can not enjoy the sounds of nature in the garden whether gardening or just having a cuppa. Sorry  :/  
  • PosyPosy Posts: 3,601
    It's a difficult choice: there are lots of main roads and people live close to them. It all depends on what you can tolerate. I think it's a really good idea to visit at peak times and just listen. However, I would also add that I once had a flat close to a busy airport. When we moved in, I thought I would never adjust to the noise, but after a few months, I didn't notice at all. Now I live in the country and city visitors ask me how I can bear the silence!
  • B3B3 Posts: 27,018
    When we moved from a main road, it was a while before I could get to sleep unless a car went past.

    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • FoxiesFoxies Posts: 60
    A difficult one for anyone.
    The house I'm in now fronts onto an old road which in turn open fronts onto a very busy B road of upto 60 mph (Yes - I know - we're trying to get this down) divided from it by a wide grass verge with open fields to its far side. There are only B roads in this area and this one leads right down the valley. The size of the back garden - and its wildlife - is to die for and it backs onto a mountainside. This is what sold the house to me - that and the walking/hiking paths right in front of the door!
    I came to see the house and the surroundings several times before deciding and I've lived here 6 years now and can honestly say that I don't notice the noise from the huge slate lorries and their like and have never regretted the decision. I have no front fence or hedge - my front garden opens onto the old road and the verge (which is lovely when covered in wildflowers). Nowhere is perfect but this takes some beating for me.
    I wish you luck in whatever you decide.

  • My first thought was about the pollution levels and the smell of diesel. I live in a rural village but both my children live near main roads and that is what I notice more than anything else. Can you carry on looking? 
  • NollieNollie Posts: 7,490
    Whether you can reduce the noise sufficiently/get used to it, really depends on the particular geography of the site as well as yourself. While you can mitigate, to a certain extent, for the former, the latter - your tolerance levels - is the big unknown.

    There is always a better house somewhere, even if you have been looking for a long time. However, if you really love the house and garden and it suits your requirements perfectly, apart from the road, I would consider a two-pronged approach. A new, noise-reducing fence then your hedge in front of it.

    A dense conifer hedge is better for both noise and traffic pollution reduction and still has some value for wildlife (Blackbirds nest in mine). Combining a noise-reducing fence with a native hedge might be sufficient, but these things are difficult to predict. Native hedging if largely deciduous offers less of a noise baffle in winter, but you will be in your garden less then anyway.

    Alternatively, if the garden is big enough, you could plant a conifer hedge and incorporate native hedging plants into a larger wildlife-friendly planting scheme - positioned to break up the large expanse of conifer, perhaps, as they can be pretty boring to look at.

    Whether there is a large verge between your boundary or whether it backs right onto the road, the direction of the prevailing wind and local topography all factor into noise levels and the ability to reduce them. My house and garden backs onto a minor road, right the other side of the conifer hedge, but the traffic is barely noticeable. The rest of my land rises in a series of woodland terraces and from the top terrace, the traffic is far more intrusive and noisy than down at house and garden level. 

    If you do consider a noise-reduction fence, designs and effectiveness vary hugely and the right solution will be site-specific (and expensive) so ideally get the input of an acoustics expert or at least a specialist decibel-reduction fence supplier who will do a site visit and make recommendations beforehand.
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
  • We live on an unrestricted A road which had a thick leylandii hedge running between the garden and the road. We decided that it didn't make enough difference to the noise level and replaced it with a noise reducing fence. This was very successful initially but not so much now as it has several gaps underneath as there is a slope down to the road and the soil has eroded. We're planning to do some remedial work to rectify this next year.

    You do get used to the noise though  - our main problem was that bikers use it as a racing route at weekends and when they were roaring past we literally couldn't hear ourselves speak.
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