By Dean Fosdick | AP
Landscape designers in cities are creating quieter living spaces by using trees to mute loud noises like sirens and air brakes. It’s called “soundscaping,” and it aims to restore peaceful, natural sounds like wind whispering through leaves, birds chirping or rain dripping from branches.
“Massive walls are often installed to quiet freeway noise in major cities, but there are more aesthetic ways to handle it,” said Tim Moloney, who teaches landscape design at the University of Missouri. “Use vegetation for minimizing the background clatter.”The denser a tree’s lower branches, the better it masks or deflects bothersome noise, Moloney said. Evergreens are the preferred vegetative sound barriers because they are densely branched and are attractive year-round. Ideally, shrubs would be a major component of any green muting mix.