When we think of gardening, we usually think about different plant varieties and how they look, smell, and feel. But have you ever thought about how your backyard sounds?

Landscaping is about more than just improving curb appeal. When you take the time to think about the sights, smells, and sounds in your garden and how they interact with one another, you can create a harmonious sensory experience with your landscape design.

Soundscaping is an often-forgotten but extremely important piece of the puzzle. There are even health benefits to soundscaping. Listening to the sounds of nature can improve our physical health, reduce stress, and even sharpen our cognition. Keep reading to find out how you can soundscape your garden to create a sweet-sounding outdoor experience!

The Science of Landscape Sounds: What is Soundscape Ecology?

Soundscape ecology is the study of the symphony of sounds that emanate from landscapes. Put simply, this field helps us understand how our auditory surroundings impact us in our outdoor spaces. 

The sounds you might hear in your landscape typically fall into one of three categories:

  • Biophony: Sounds made by non-human animals (birds, bees, etc).
  • Geophony: Sounds made from the non-living natural environment (wind, rainfall, etc.)
  • Anthoprophony: Sounds made by humans or human-manufactured technology (music, talking and laughing).

The natural soundscape in your garden will depend on where you live. For example, if you live in a condo downtown, you’re more likely to hear a variety of anthropogenic sounds. On the other hand, if you live in a remote cabin, your soundscape will most likely include more biophonic sounds. But regardless of the setting, a carefully designed outdoor soundscape can provide a beautiful and unique auditory experience.

The Benefits of Soundscapes in Outdoor Spaces

The Benefits of Soundscapes in Outdoor Spaces

What we hear has a profound impact on our overall sense of wellbeing. Music is a great example of just how much sound can affect us. The right piece of music can calm our anxieties, lift our spirits, or even make us cry. 

While our outdoor soundscapes may not have quite the same impact as our favorite songs, they can certainly influence how we think and feel. Effective soundscaping can:

  • Reduce feelings of stress and anxiety
  • Improve our happiness and overall mood
  • Reduce the impact of noise pollution
  • Increase property value by creating a pleasant experience for potential buyers

Natural and peaceful sounds are great for healing and overall health. By combining soundscaping techniques with universal design principles, you can even create outdoor spaces that are comfortable for neurodivergent folks or those recovering from physical or psychological trauma.

What Sounds Do You Want to Hear in Your Garden?

Bird Sounds

Bird Sounds

There’s nothing better than sitting outside on a spring day and listening to the gentle birdsongs that surround you. If you want to draw birds to your yard, prioritizing biodiversity in your landscape design is key. Installing birdhouses and bird baths and incorporating native plants to provide a natural food source can help attract a variety of bird species to your yard.

Other Wildlife Sounds

Other Wildlife Sounds

In addition to bird species, you can encourage other wildlife to visit your garden – or even make their homes there. A skilled landscape designer can help you make plant selections and design built structures that can attract bees and other pollinators, chipmunks and squirrels, butterflies, or even deer. 

Water Sounds

Water Sounds

The sound of moving water is known to help us relax and forget our troubles. From birdbaths and ponds, to bubbling fountains, streams, and backyard waterfalls, water features are one of the best ways to create a calming, soothing soundscape. They’re also a great way to reduce sound pollution in urban environments.

Windchimes

Windchimes

Windchimes date back to ancient China, originally constructed from natural materials like bamboo and bone and used to welcome positive energy and deter evil spirits. Today, you can find windchimes made from metal, wood, glass, and a variety of other materials depending on the style and type of sound you want.

Music

Music

Outdoor sound systems allow you to play your favorite music or listen to a podcast while you enjoy a morning cup of coffee or an evening glass of wine out on your patio. 

Whether you install a professional system or simply take your headphones or a bluetooth speaker outside while you sit by the fire or tend to your garden, music can certainly be part of an outdoor soundscape!

The Sound of Silence: Why Noise Control is an Important Part of a Soundscape

Depending on your desired soundscape, outside sounds like lawnmowers, car horns, and loud neighbors can negatively impact your auditory experience while spending time in your garden. Unfortunately, we can’t always control the noises that occur beyond our fences. But we can make some changes to limit these unwelcome interruptions.

There are a number of effective ways to help block out unpleasant noises in your landscape. Walls and fences, privacy hedges, windchimes, and water features are just a few methods of incorporating sound control into your landscape architecture. 

An experienced landscape designer can help you evaluate your space and recommend effective noise control techniques and features. With the right approach, you can make your time outside more peaceful, relaxing, and private.

Create a Full Sensory Experience in Your Landscape

Create a Full Sensory Experience in Your Landscape

Sounds are an important ingredient in creating a pleasant outdoor experience. To get the most out of your soundscaping efforts, you should also think carefully about the other elements in your landscape and how they interact together. 

In addition to selecting healthy plants and building hardscapes and outdoor living features to make your garden beautiful and functional, consider the other sensory elements in your space. 

With the help of a knowledgeable landscape designer, you can combine color theory, aromatherapy, and soundscape acoustics to create a soothing backyard oasis. You might also want to integrate calming outdoor lighting, play relaxing music, and incorporate other smart landscaping technologies to add to the atmosphere.

Turn Your Outdoor Space Into a Soothing Soundscape

Turn Your Outdoor Space Into a Soothing Soundscape

Your landscape has the power to engage all of your senses. Sound is a deeply impactful element of a relaxing and beautiful outdoor experience. Soundscapes offer a number of mental and even physical health benefits. The right approach to your design can have a major impact on your quality of life. 

At Blessing Landscapes, we take an integrated approach to landscape design. We take the time to truly understand your wants and needs so we can help you create an elevated outdoor space that inspires you.

If you’re ready to create your own auditory oasis with an outdoor soundscape, we’ve got you covered! Contact us today to speak with our award-winning team and browse our project gallery to take a look at our past work.