Soundscaping, the acoustics of landscaping

The crunching of gravel, the rustling of palms in the wind, the early morning chirping of birds and sound of falling water all contribute to the soundscape of a garden.

Noise pollution can be a massive issue in buzzing metropolises. Landscape architects often rely on vegetation to absorb the effects of noise pollution by planting big trees or hedges. In the offices or busy restaurants indoor plants are very effective at absorbing sound.

While plants play an important role in absorbing sound they can also be instrumental in creating pleasant and organic sounds in the garden, this is known as soundscaping.

Natural soundscaping contributes to the sensory experience of a garden from chirping birds to falling water and can be very nostalgic and therapeutic.

Here are six ways to add soundscapes to your garden:

  1. Gravel surfaces

The earthy crunch of gravel underfoot, is one of the many benefits of gravel garden paths or a gravel driveway. Walking barefoot on gravel has many benefits for reflexology.

Gravel is not only cooler reducing Urban Heat Island Effect, but is much more environmentally-friendly alternative to tarmac or brick as it reduces urban water runoff.

Maintaining gravel can be a pain due to stone losses and weed growth. BERA Gravel Fix, a honeycomb structure made from recycled polypropylene, mitigates all the negative effects of gravel reducing stone loss, divots and uneven surfaces, while preventing weeds from taking root. 

  1. Moving water

Fountains and flowing water is another charming way to create natural sounds found in nature. Like gravel it is also instant, as you can install a water feature relatively quickly.

The sound of flowing water is known to have a positive impact on mental health and is very calming.

  1. Wind in the palm trees

Palms are nature’s very own wind chime. The sound of the palm fronds in the wind contributes positively to a soundscape. Palms are also very attractive and are essential in Durban Garden. South Africa is has four indigenous palms.

  1. Croaking frogs

If you’re going to invest in a pond or a water feature, why not encourage frogs in the garden. Evenings will become alive with a chorus of chirping frogs.

Frogs are nature’s litmus test as they are incredible sensitive to chemicals and pesticides. To encourage frogs in the garden, stop using all insecticide and pesticides.

Also make sure there is a way for them to climb in and out the water feature to prevent them from drowning.

  1. Insects

Despite being pretty small insects are something to consider when soundscaping. By adding bug hotels and bee hives to the garden you will attract crickets and bees.

A healthy insect population, forms part of the basics of naturescaping, and will not only benefit the frogs but the birds too.

  1. Attracting song birds

Birds are attracted to gardens with lots of dense shrubs for protection and a reliable water source. Planting a dogwood near your water feature will help the birds feel safe when drinking.

Erect barbet boxes and bird feeders in the garden to attract birds.  Fruit baring trees will attract barbets, turacos and mousebirds. While veld gardens with indigenous grasses will bring waxbills, finches and canaries.

Produced by BERA BV