Isn't it annoying when you go out into your garden and all you hear are those massive trucks flying down the expressway? Well, there’s a solution. If you’re looking to invest some time in a great garden design project, consider hedges and plants.
For the best results combine a number of different plants and trees to dampen the noise as much as you can. For maximum effect, give the plants regular prunes, so they can grow thicker and denser. Anyway, on to some great plants for your garden that both look great, and are effective at blocking noise.
Holly trees are great for the coastal regions of Australia. They’re broadleaf evergreen trees and shrubs and make an attractive property boundary line that acts as a buffer against road noise.
Growing holly isn’t especially difficult. Give them around 1.5 metres of space between each tree to allow them room to grow. Also, ensure the soil is well drained and slightly acidic, a ph level of around 5 should be sufficient. After they’ve first been planted ensure you keep the plants well watered and the soil moist, this helps to let the roots stabilise and grow accustomed to the soil. Once the trees are well established, they’re pretty self-reliant and will only need to be watered if there is a dry spell or drought.
As for pruning, wait until late winter or the beginning of spring. Hollies are pretty resilient to pruning, just ensure the frost period of winter has ended, so as not to damage the new sprouts. Just keep in mind holly is quite sharp, so perhaps throw on your trusty old gardening gloves to avoid yourself some pain.
Cypress Tree (Conifer)
There is a wide range of conifers to pick from, and a number of them are native to Australia, such as the cypress pine. Most work great as a hedge, as they have thick growth, if pruned correctly. They’re also evergreen so you won’t have to worry about them dropping their leaves. Not only do they look handsome lined up along a property, but they’re a great sound dampener.
You can grow conifers from seedlings if you like, but for them to get to a reasonable size it will take years. You’re better off buying a young tree and planting it to reduce that waiting period. Give them about 1 metre of room for proper dense growth.
Trim off the overlong shoots the first year and continue each year. As the leaves start to get denser the tree will be more forgiving of harsher prunes. Before you begin pruning them, check for any bird nests, birds seem to love the thick close quarters of the tree.
Viburnum, or sweet Viburnum, is another great choice and it’s easy to establish in the mild to tropical regions of Australia. They’re a dense evergreen with little leaves that work wonderfully as a hedge. As the name suggests, in springtime they produce a very sweet smelling and wonderfully aromatic flower, which is a favourite among Australian homeowners. Thick and dense leaves are natural to the viburnum, but will still need some trimming.
Remember to keep them watered throughout summer, and even spring if your spring is a bit dry. Give them a decent mulch bed to encourage healthy root growth and establishment.
Pruning should ideally be done twice a year, for that dense sound-blocking hedge you need. But you can get away with being a little lazy and pruning them once a year.
If you’re in a warmer tropical climate, the murraya may be the choice for you. They’re robust and easy to work with. The murraya has dense little leaves and branches, and whilst technically a shrub, they can grow up to 4 metres in height.
The murraya is happy to sit in the full sun, but if you’re in a colder area they will need a lot of sunlight and a bit more pruning to keep dense. If you’re in a warm and sunny location a yearly prune will be sufficient, but if you live in a colder region of Australia, try to trim it twice a year, so it can establish a thick covering of leaves. A great indicator of when to prune the murraya is right after the flowers have fallen.
Yes, you may need to do more than just plant some plants. Think about the landscape you have. If you’re looking to really block out all that road noise, get a decent lawn. Dense grass such as the TifTuf Bermuda and Buffalo are great for Australian climates and at dampening noise.
It’s best to get your lawn professionally done by hiring quality landscaping services. Try to have your lawn butt up against a hedgerow, as sound will travel under the plants; and if you have a paved walkway running along it, the sound will only bounce back up. The landscapers will also have knowledge about blocking road noise, so ask them any questions or concerns you may have.