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Encouraging Sound in the Garden

Sound is always present in the garden… the sound of birds, the rustling of leaves and trickle of water.


To some people these may only represent noise, but to others these sounds create music and are necessary components to the landscape. They can be as important as foliage texture or colour combinations in the overall design.


Natural sounds that may occur in a garden include:

  • Bird songs and other native fauna
  • Breezes whistling through trees, especially she oaks (Allocasuarina species)
  • Rainfall
  • Introduced sounds for a garden:
  • Piped music from the stereo system
  • Wind chimes
  • Water fountains, spouts and falls
  • Roofs, gutters and downpipes intercepting rainfall

These above sounds are generally encouraged in a landscape to assist in suppressing external noises like car traffic and neighbours. A simple water feature can potentially suppress significant road noise, even when living in an apartment within the city.


However there are other sounds created in the garden that may not only disturb your own peace, but also to others. Before installing any of the following, give due consideration to neighbours:

  • Pool filter
  • Air conditioning units
  • Garage and working shed
  • External speakers for the stereo system
  • Dog kennel

There are some sounds that can be distracting when plants interact with manmade structures, such as seeds falling on tin roofs or leaves and branches rubbing against the gutters and walls.


With the modern trend towards high fences and tall screening hedges it is unfortunate that one of the most important elements in a landscape can be eliminated – Breezes.


Breezes cool gardens and the surrounds in which we live. It is also important in creating movement and therefore directly influences sound within the garden.

To encourage peaceful sounds in the garden consider these tips:-

  • Plant a few tall growing fine foliage plants like she oaks and clumping bamboos
  • Reduce dense hedging and/or fences
  • Incorporate deciduous trees in your landscape as autumn leaves make great sounds when walked on
  • Use plants that encourage native animals
  • Consider a simple water feature with a trickle or gentle splash
  • Crushed stone pathways
  • Outdoor stereo music is an important component for any outdoor entertainment area. Ensure all wires and the speakers are weatherproof.



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