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Dealing with road noise in potential new house and garden

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  • TopbirdTopbird Posts: 5,985
    We moved from our previous house because of road noise after an orchard (which acted as a very effective sound bund between us and the A14) was ripped out.

    If you are aware of the noise now you’ll probably find yourself listening for it. You may get used to it (in that it doesn’t disturb sleep etc) but if it’s an irritant to start with - that probably won’t go away.

    Planting trees and hedges will help reduce the noise but not by much unless there are a lot. 

    What's the orientation of the road / house? If the road is to the south or west of the property then warm SW breezes will carry the noise into your house and garden on summer days and evenings. If, however the road is to the north then road noise will be carried away on the days you're most likely to use the garden or have windows and doors open.

    Think about sirens too. If there's a junction nearby and emergency vehicles put their blues and twos on to cross the junction - that will be quite annoying and may interfere with sleep if you like the bedroom window open and the bedroom faces that way and the wind etc etc

    On balance I would say, if you noticed this problem on viewing, it has strong potential to become a major irritant. 

    Heaven is ... sitting in the garden with a G&T and a cat while watching the sun go down
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 7,326
    I don't envy you this dilemma. You don't say how long you've been house hunting, and there are various other factors such as how big a search area you have and how desperate you are to move, that may be worth considering. Also the housing market in your area, is it fairly buoyant,  or do properties with your requirements and in your price range rarely come onto the market ? 
    With regard to this property, the suggestion of noise reducing fencing is a good one, and personally l find that you can get used to the road noise in time, but it's a hard decision .
    I wish you luck !  :)

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 26,606
    I guess the proximity of the busy road is reflected in the price ( ie a similar property away from the road noise is likely to be more expensive? ) 
    I've known people buy houses with the same concerns you have " Oh , I'm sure I'll get used to it ) some did , some didn't.
    A tricky one and I wish you all the best.
    Devon.
  • SkandiSkandi Northern DenmarkPosts: 1,005
    We moved from a house in the middle of fields with a railway (branch line) to a house on a main road, our house is set back about 18m from the road with a very large hedge 4-5 meters tall of mixed evergreen plants and I will say they do very little for the noise, they do add privacy, but the front garden is basically unusable if you want to hear yourself think. There's a few things that make the sound worse, wet weather you must go listen when the road is wet, it increases the noise at least to double the dry road.
    Rumble strip, is there a rumble strip at the edge of the road? Or catseyes in the middle. Lorries LOVE driving along these at 6am and that really makes a noise. When the fish lorries go through at 6.30am I can hear them coming from a half mile away due to the stupid rumble strip!
    In my house I can hear all larger traffic even through the double glazing, but I do not in general hear cars. I do have earplugs, because if I wake up at 5-6 in the morning I cannot fall asleep with the lorries going past at that time.  I don't really mind the odd noises, so the 40 motorcycles going past together every summer weekend day is ok, they are all cruisers so horrifically loud but at least slow and cool to look at. I have endless patience for the tractors, even the slurry ones going past every 20mins at 3am after running all day. I figure, it's not me having to be out.. I am in bed!
    In my experience noise at the front is not an issue, you get used to it and it is very much dampened by when inside (open windows are impossible) but noise by the garden? That is worse. I would not buy your house.
  • K67K67 Leicestershire Posts: 1,723
    edited December 2019


    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. 



    I wholeheartedly agree. We lived on the A6 with a restricted 30mph through our area, the motorbikes were the worst, upwards of 20 to 30 all together at times heading for Matlock Bath. Traffic and lorries weren't so bad and there was very little traffic after 9pm during the week but as the road went through the valley and we lived halfway up the hill you couldn't stop the sound rising
    Nothing would make me buy a house on a main road again unless I grew deaf with age
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen SpainPosts: 4,045
    I don’t mind rustling trees - and bamboo is another that gives good rustle, but gurgling water features in a garden I find more intrusive and annoying than traffic. Plus it makes me want to pee a lot!
  • B3B3 Posts: 15,934
    Ooh I love a nice drippy gurgle -especially if moss and ferns are involved!
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • madpenguinmadpenguin Isle of WightPosts: 2,248
    edited December 2019
    I lived on the edge of a busy roundabout for nearly 20 years.The back garden backed onto the fire station and they always put the sirens on right outside our house! The front of the house overlooked the river on the other side of which was a large Pizza Hut and an 11 screen cinema complex.My children grew up there and still wish they did and you never really hear the traffic as you get so used to it.
    That house and my current one also have streetlights right outside so the house is always light.When I go to stay at my Mum's and sister's houses I can't sleep because it is so dark!!!
    It is surprising what you can get used too.
    “Every day is ordinary, until it isn't.” - Bernard Cornwell-Death of Kings
  • Paul B3Paul B3 Posts: 2,912
    When we've all gone'green'and drive electric vehicles etc. ; think how quiet the road will be !!! ;)
  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 4,061
    edited December 2019
    Paul B3 said:
    When we've all gone'green'and drive electric vehicles etc. ; think how quiet the road will be !!! ;)
     :) Nope. Moving traffic will be much the same. Car engines are generally not the source of the noise - it's the tyres. Hence the big difference when it's wet. Buses have noisy engines. And HGVs cause vibration that you 'hear' as sound but also feel. 

    Intermittent noise is much harder to live with than continuous sound, so railways and airports are worse than roads but, as has been said, road junctions (especially traffic lights) are much worse than straight 'runs'. 
    I stayed in a hotel once with a level crossing outside. I'd be just nodding off and then there'd be 'bleep bleep bleep' as the crossing barrier came down. Silence. ROAR thadum thadum thadum (train goes by). Silence. Bleep bleep bleep - barrier goes up. Then revving engines as the traffic moved off. I didn't get much sleep.

    Sound travels pretty much in straight lines, so if you can deflect it away it works better than trying to absorb/attenuate it, which is why a solid earth bank will work better than any sort of fence or hedge. If you are above the noise, you'll generally hear it less than if you're below it until you're very close. Except if the road is in a cutting and the sound is bouncing off the opposite wall towards you (or if the neighbours opposite have an acoustic fence). But vibrations pass through the ground and there's basically nothing you can do to stop or reduce it. So the type of traffic makes a big difference - buses and lorries, I just wouldn't go there. Cars, maybe - depends how sensitive you are.

    When we lived bear the A38 we heard police/ambulance sirens and heard (or rather felt) HGVs but we only heard the cars after we moved and noticed the lack of noise.

    Noise is a fact of life in much of the UK. Not many places get really quiet. Background noise makes a difference too. In a town or city, it never gets really quiet, so you notice traffic noise less. 
    “It's not worth doing something unless someone, somewhere, would much rather you weren't doing it.” ― Terry Pratchett
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