Some of us appreciate the bustling noise of the city, or the chatter of our neighbours. Conversely, that means some of us would rather block noise from reaching our homes so we don’t have our peace disturbed. One of the most effective ways to reduce noise is through plants.
Some of the best plants to block noise in Australia include:
Using plants to block noise isn’t just good for your peace of mind – they make your garden look great, too! So if you’re looking to tune out the hubbub around your home, here are the best noise-blocking plants Australia.
Characteristics of Plants for Noise Reduction
If you want your plants to reduce noise, you’ll need to consider several important factors. The right plants will have several of the following characteristics:
- Thick foliage and dense growth
- Plentiful and thick branches
- Significant height at maturity
- Width and depth
- Evergreen growth
Fast-growing plants are a bonus, since this means the plant will reach maturity much sooner.
Flowers aren’t as essential, but they do look good!
How to Choose Noise-Blocking Plants Australia
In order to choose your noise-blocking plants, you’ll need the following information:
- Soil type
- Plant characteristics
- Local government or council regulations
- Maintenance requirements
Most species will need healthy soil in order to thrive. Some may need shady conditions, or may not tolerate drought or cold climates. Moreover, your council regulations may stipulate a maximum height for hedges and screening plants.
In terms of maintenance, be sure to check how often a plant will need pruning and watering. This is especially true if you select a fast-growing hedge, which will mature in a few years.
Taking all these factors into consideration will lead to better plant health and longevity.
Note that you needn’t choose just one type of plant – mixing and matching different ones with varying characteristics will lead to better noise reduction!
Before You Grow Noise-Reduction Plants
Once you’ve chosen your plants, you’ll need to prepare your garden. This generally involves tilling the soil and layering organic matter for enrichment, as well as clearing your planting spot of weeds.
However, one step you can take to grow a more effective hedge is forming a “berm.” This is a mound of soil that goes along the length of your yard, where the noise-blocking plants will go.
Do not use soil recycled from a construction site or similar dirt source. You’ll need fresh, healthy topsoil, whether from a garden centre or your existing yard. This way, there’s less debris that will interfere with the growth of the roots.
While building your berm, ensure you don’t make it too tall! This will cause water runoff to increase, which will make your plants dry out.
Best Plants for Noise-Blocking in Australia
From Australian natives to introduced species, there are several plants for noise reduction. Choose one plant among these options for your garden.
Also known as the Nordmann fir, this evergreen fir is native to the mountains around Turkey and Georgia. Its peak height in cultivation is about 15m, although gardeners can keep it shorter. The branches have dense, dark green needles and cylindrical seed cones.
Caucasian fir trees grow best in cooler, more temperate climates. They prefer moist, acidic, well-drained soil in full sun to partial shade. However, these trees take a long time to mature.
The Bottlebrush plant is from the Callistemon genus, which makes it a member of the myrtle family. It’s endemic to Australia, meaning it thrives perfectly in the hot climate. Most varieties have dense foliage with vibrant flowers.
Bottlebrushes are long-lived, very hardy, and low-maintenance. There are dwarf varieties available if you prefer a lower height for your fencing. And don’t mind the ground quality – a bottlebrush plant can thrive in damp or dry ground.
These are an introduced species to Australia, but the common Juniper can still thrive down under. It’s different from the Australian native juniper, which is not a juniper at all – just a nickname for Boobialla!
Mature junipers will have dense, scale-like leaves that release a pungent aroma when crushed. They can tolerate frost and temperate climates, while also being drought tolerant. In the summer, they need reliably moist soil to thrive.
The ‘Flash’ variety is an Australian native plant commonly used for hedging and screening. It has thick, lush foliage that grows quickly, although it produces no seeds or flowers. You can even grow Ficus hillii in pots if trimmed properly.
The plant prefers moist, well-drained ground and full sun to partial shade, but it can tolerate poorer conditions. Protect immature plants from frost when young. You can give Ficus hillii a boost in spring with a slow-release fertiliser.
The Fraxinus griffithii Evergreen Ash is a fast-growing but compact tree that fits anywhere in a garden – even small ones! It’s also an evergreen, which means it retains its foliage year-round. The dense leaves are glossy green on top and hairy silver underneath.
Grow Evergreen Ash trees in full sun with well-drained soil. Once mature, these trees are drought-tolerant and low-maintenance. In spring, you’ll get clusters of small white blooms.
There are many varieties of Lilly Pilly, many of which are perfect for hedging and blocking noise. From the dense and narrow Pinnacle to the fruiting Brush Cherry, you can choose which is best for your yard’s needs.
Lilly Pillies are hardy plants, and since they are Australian natives, they can thrive in hot and dry conditions. You can get miniature varieties or simply prune them to their desired size. Just watch out for psyllids, which can burrow into the leaves!
If you’re growing bamboo to reduce noise, it’s essential you use a non-invasive species, such as clumping bamboo. A dense growth of these plants can act as a screen, improve noise reduction, and break the wind.
Japanese hedge bamboo is one popular option. It’s fairly hardy and easy to grow, and can resist harsh weather conditions. The plant can tolerate temperatures down to –80ºC so long as it’s not subject to prolonged frost.
Balcony Noise-Reduction Plants
Of course, not all of us have large gardens that require plant fences.
For those living in the city but who still want to block noise from their apartment, you can grow these balcony plants!
The Boston fern is an evergreen plant that reaches about 1.0m in height.
Research has shown that these ferns can absorb up to 98% of incident acoustics around them. Since these ferns grow particularly dense, they’re great if you want to reduce noise.
Want some oomph on your balcony? Grow Begonia rex plants.
They absorb up to 97% incident sound energy while adding a pop of vibrant colour to a small space. Just remember they like a humid environment – but at the same time, don’t overwater.
The broad leaves of a peace lily plant make it excellent for diffusing and absorbing noise.
As a plus, it also filters out toxins in the air (although not so much that you can skip the purifier). Moreover, peace lilies are easy to care for and can take a little neglect.
Additional Plants to Block Noise
Besides your main trees or hedging, you can add a combination of ground cover, creeping plants, and/or low shrubs to maximise noise reduction. Layering foliage means more dense growth, which leads to a more effective sound barrier.
These plants won’t grow tall, but as their name implies, they’ll cover the ground and prevent noise from travelling underneath your main plants.
- Mondo grass
- Creeping boobialla
- Australian Harebell
- Grevillea Bronze Rambler
For plants that reach a more moderate height but still reduce noise, choose shrubs! These will need regular pruning so they don’t get too tall.
- Callistemon viminalis
- Hardenbergia violacea
Maintaining Your Plants and Garden
Keep an eye on the grass that grows in the shade of your trees or shrubs! Since the area can get shady, it might affect the growth of your groundcover.
As with your other garden plants and trees, any noise-blocking plants Australia will need proper maintenance. You’ll need to regularly prune and water your hedges – or get professional hedge trimmers to do that for you.
And of course, keep in mind that while these plants and trees will reduce noise coming towards your home, they won’t eliminate incoming sound completely. But the noise reduction should be enough that you can have your peace… unless the racket is inside your house!