angela_amell

sound barrier wall built behind my house. what can I do?

Angela Amell
5 years ago

A couple months ago an awful concrete wall was built behind our house because a highway Is going to be put in. What can we do to block the view of this wall? Its gigantic. I feel like I live in a penitentiary! Please help!


Comments (128)

  • celticdiva
    5 years ago

    If you are in the south, use wax myrtles - evergreen, plush, and grow fairly tall. They can mask many landscaping sins and noisy neighbors.

  • miacometlady
    5 years ago
    Create a mound of earth along property line, called a berm, and plant trees/ tall shrubs.
  • Related Discussions

    What should I do on the wall behind the tub?

    Q

    Comments (22)
    Have you considered a wall of candles? Perhaps even the battery ones if lighting them is too big a chore.....They would be especially relaxing backed with mirror. Another idea is extending the mirror all the way across which would unify the room and reflect light since you cannot have a light over the tub. Perhaps a row of smaller framed mirrors hung over the installed mirror for interest....
    ...See More

    What to do about the lava rock, and what color should I paint my house?

    Q

    Comments (20)
    Mark...it can happen. Problem is the adhesion and the way the windows work. If you have casements it won't be so bad. If they are sliders or double hung sash, the paint may have a tough time of it (all the sliding, either up and down or sideways means the potential for white to come through the paint). Thing is, vinyl casements are no that common. If you have a painter in mind for your project..or not, heck call a painter and get them out to give you a quote on the exterior, you need it anyway...get them to tell you if they can do it and stand behind their product. If it were me...I'd be replacing windows anyway. I'm no big fan of vinyl windows. I'll keep checking back, let me know how it goes!
    ...See More

    Help! What do I do with my 80's-era built-in entertainment center?

    Q

    Comments (34)
    First - Congrats on the new condo! Very exciting. I think the main thing for you to decide first is where and how large you want your TV. That may dictate whether you can salvage your existing cabinets or do something entirely new. I’m not good at mock-ups, but I also had an 80’s era set-up with a fireplace and a giant TV nook and ugly shelves. Mine was a bit different because it just put between two rooms, but the main point was the same to treat it as a full wall and reconfigure it. I did that on both sides and I’ve posted before and after photos of both in case they are helpful. Good luck!
    ...See More

    New house design - what do you wish you had/hadn't built?

    Q

    Comments (5)
    We like open floor plan living, but made a well-insulated separate room (not sure if it counts as a "keeping" room) with french doors for media and TV. The room also doubles as a playroom for our kids (6 and 8 yo). This keeps the great room peaceful. No formal rooms for how we live, so just one big space for kitchen, dining and living, but each area has a different style ceiling and are each separated by large cased openings. We didn't like an open loft 2nd story, because it's inefficient for heating and cooling, so only the stairwell is open. I highly recommend a big walk-in pantry (stores everything) and a mudroom setup with kids. Really, I would recommend as much built-in storage as you can afford and include, as well as closet organizers throughout. Good luck!
    ...See More
  • havingfun
    5 years ago

    I will make certain assumptions, since you are here and have not said otherwise. Money is limited, and you are not moving.

    I do not know how long the wall is, but it is a cool idea to make separate rooms if you can. Each room will have one concrete wall in it. Someone suggested a movie theatre, I just saw a design on a dime where they hung a giant screen on one side, the other side was a huge artwork. It looked like 6x8 ft or so. A dining room with a pergola and lights hung along the wall and maybe an herb garden made of painted concrete block, saw same show, but also have seen some other great wall gardens in diy sites. a relaxing area with either a patio or spiraling stepping stones with a beautiful built up fountain. Or a fire pit with comfy chairs around. 1 or all is a lot of fun.

    I would get rid of the wood fence if you can, to add space. Definitely check on rules. Beware of fast growers, neighbor had poplars, 30 foot trees started crashing on her and my property, because they were 20+ yrs old. Also, many are aggressive. There is a way to plant bamboo and wisteria so you do not have to trim the roots, you plant it in plastic walls, you can look it up. All this you have been told from what I saw. My final big push is for esplanade fruits or berry vines, and easier, rose vines. I have a Sea Foam rose in my back yard. I had seen a full grown in FL. It was over 8 ft tall, grew in a corner and went 8 ft each way, if they had a way to tie it off higher, would have been taller. It is a yellow single petal. Lovely scent, but not overstrong. Mine was bare root, $3, less than 5 years ago.

    Hope we have helped, enjoy. Oh, and please let us see!


  • zebrariga
    5 years ago

    Solid concrete is very modern nowadays...But it seems you are not a big fun of it? How long is the wall?

  • Kivi
    5 years ago

    original poster has never come back to the discussion.. so they may not even be following the thread. We might be just entertaining ourselves here.

  • havingfun
    5 years ago

    well at least it didn't take us 2 years to figure this out like some of our discussions. I wish houzz would put dates next to the questions, polls etc.


  • slrslr
    5 years ago

    I do not know your gardening zone, but as gardener my first thought was "wow, what a cool background to work against". I also cannot tell the direction of the wall relative to your yard (North or East etc). My mother faced the development of land behind her yard (she lived in a long established subdivision) into dense public housing. My dad planted tall bamboo, and it has been a very effective visual and physical barrier over the years. You should check with a local expert about what types to use and how to keep the varieties happy and in check. (Mowing the boundary suffices for my mother). The bamboo is lovely, and you could put blossoming trees and evergreens or Japanese Maples in front of the bamboo, as your budget and energy allows. (And climate and sun.) You can make this better. Do not despair!!


  • lizc222
    5 years ago
    From a blank canvas to a beautiful painting. A vine would definitely be better than any kind of trees or bushes because as tall as that wall is, it would take years for a tree or bush to get tall enough to disguise it. Once you have the vine started, the possibilities are endless. I would love to have that wall behind my house if I had free reign over it. Much luck to you.
  • American Fart-Bully
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    chesapklady: "In my area, the company that put in the highway and sound walls, planted vines that are quite lovely, that climb the walls. So do check with whoever is in charge of that."

    You know, come to think of it, "a-month-ago" isn't quite that long in the grand scheme of things. The highway or whoever commissioned this thing might have additional effects to add to it, either plantings or painting or siding. Best to do some research, get into this process before it really gets underway. And talk to neighbors.

    Someone asked how long it was, plus the talk of $1 million/per mile; which got me thinking, as difficult as it is to get even a very small group of neighbors together on something, the more people that concur on a simple, basic-enough design (individual homeowner versus 4 or 5 lots versus 9 or 10 families versus +100 units) the more cost effective (as far as ROI) any kind of solution might ultimately prove. Regardless of who ultimately pays for it, or what proportion thereof.

  • American Fart-Bully
    5 years ago

    Kivi: "...original poster has never come back to the discussion.. "

    I think the topic has merit in its own right. There are probably lots of people who might well ultimately face a similar situation. Besides, a week or two is not really so long ago.

    I mean, how often do you think the average person visits a site like this? I'll admit, once signing on, I will indulge an hour or two at time. But, it's like candy, at some point I just have to push it all away and say "No! Too much!".

  • havingfun
    5 years ago

    yeah, but I've been getting some of that candy every day, good thing I can't put in a bowl. lol


  • Spartan32
    5 years ago
    If it's ok with the city, I would recommend painting it
  • chookchook2
    5 years ago

    If you have no dogs, plant table grapevines.

  • sjshel
    5 years ago

    I would enjoy the privacy and safety. To make it feel cozy, I would hang outdoor paintings, interesting object found in antique shops, garage sales,ect. You can be as creative as much as you want.A water feature would a must....

  • nancyburridge
    5 years ago

    I am a Master Gardener and I am not at all mistaken about Virginia Creeper! It is terribly invasive. We recently moved into a new home where the landscaping has been neglected. We are fighting both Kudzu and Virgina Creeper and finding it very difficult to get rid of both. Wisteria is a classified as both a vine and a weed.
    This gov site classifies it as a weed and lists it as invasive by two authoritative sources http://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=paqu2
    Check the map on this page that shows that it is native, but still invasive and growing in all but 12 of the 50 states:
    http://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=paqu2
    There are many well meaning individuals who like seasonal attributes of a plant and invite them into their landscapes only to find the plant wants to take over.
    I wish you success Angela in your project! Research the plants and select wisely and it should turn out to be a very beautiful spot!
    I am looking forward to the photos!


  • keenplanner
    5 years ago

    I don't speak without thinking. Many home-buyers are unaware of health hazards from highway pollution. While I understand that the homeowner may have limited choices about where to live, and dense landscaping tends to raise the air quality, there are many serious health problems associated with living adjacent to major highways, primarily affecting children and the elderly, and sound walls, while making the area quieter, doesn't decrease pollution.

    http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/361634

    I work for a state DOT. It's my job to know these sorts of things.

  • PRO
    JudyG Designs
    5 years ago

    Houzz does post the date.


  • havingfun
    5 years ago

    judyg, yes, I do see that on the main advice pages, but if you go through on advice page and there another a list, often there are no dates. Then I click on what seems interesting and it is from 2012 or something. Have you seen the toilet paper debate? you end up there, it is still going strong, then you realize it is 1.5 years old, and many never realize. lol


  • berczymom
    5 years ago

    I recommend an evergreen hedge which is suited to your zone. I planted white cedar along our property when our neighbor cut down over 20 mature trees on his property and put up a commercial size playground and elevated tennis court. At least you have privacy now. You just have to improve that view.

    We love our evergreen hedge which is now 15 feet tall. If you could paint the wall, a charcoal grey will make it disappear behind your plantings. Good luck.

  • bobolinkskink
    5 years ago

    Paint
    it terracotta and hang baskets of trailing vines on it or install trellises with
    climbing plants or both.

  • havingfun
    5 years ago

    If you are gonna paint so it vanishes, I would go with the greenblack that P allen smith loves. I t will look like you are part of a deep forest. have to go hunt werewolves and vampires! lol

  • pplante
    5 years ago

    Just removing the wood fence would be an improvement. i live along side a highway without a sound barrier and would love to have your "problem". good luck


  • kassieopea7
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Isn't there an organic solution that you can spray or paint that would allow you to grow moss on it? As an artist, I might take sidewalk chalk and do a lovely landscape w/ one point perspective. On a vertical surface, it may last a while, even in rain. Or do a gigantic drawing on it. If not needed, I'd lose the fence.

  • buster57
    5 years ago

    Arborvites. Don't know if I got the spelling right.

  • havingfun
    5 years ago

    i do like the moss idea. and yes there is a solution, i saw a show where they painted clay pots with milk, then applied moss too it. you could even makes a picture or pattern I am sure. how about a giant bunny leaping across a green lawn under a green moon. The mind is filled with wonderfully unlikely scenarios, but I am sure you get my drift. this is a blue ribbon idea! lol


  • patly
    5 years ago

    We had a similar problem, except that the walls were of concrete blocks. I planted Boston Ivy at the base of the walls. It grows quickly, but it is easy to control. If it grows too thickly, every few years I cut it down to a few vines at the bottom and then as spring approaches, it starts covering the walls . In a month or two, the wall is practically covered again. Look it up, it is easily grown and easily found in nurseries. At one time I planted trees, but they became too large and cumbersome. It started lifting the ground with roots. I paid $$$ to remove them. This ivy is noninvasive and pretty. Good Luck.

  • Sarah
    5 years ago

    As a DFW native, anyone who says that you should move doesn't understand the value of being close to a freeway. Find a way to embrace it. I like the idea of planting ivy in the hopes that it will cover it.

  • agillesp11
    5 years ago

    I love the Oleander plant. It is not expensive. It is pretty and it is sound dampening (maybe more so than the wall). Just be sure to get the 20ft tall variety.

  • havingfun
    5 years ago

    having grown up around oleanders please be careful they are highly poisonous, all parts and even worse if they get burned. not wise with children or pets.


  • anitacza
    5 years ago

    All of these are great ideas, except for the bamboo. Do not plant bamboo!! It will never stop spreading and it will spread into your neighbor's yards and you'll have to spray poison to kill it and your neighbors will complain. And it is invasive and you will get really tired of trying to maintain it.

    Painting sounds like a great idea but I wouldn't want to worry about maintaining it as it starts to weather and peel in a few years. Trees and hedges in different heights would be good. Tall trees will help to block out more sound and pollution in the future. Shorter trees and hedges will help to hide the wall.


  • wildrosa
    5 years ago

    personally , I would LOVE a sound barrier wall! We live on the edge of the interstate; when I bought the house 30 yrs ago, there was not much traffic but for holiday weekends; now the traffic noise is constant. While the barrier walls may not be the most attractive things in the world, you can certainly plant and hardscape the back edge of your property so the wall is less noticeable.


  • Ting Nmn
    5 years ago
    I would love that wall! But understand your concern. Using your segment of the yard, plant arbovitae every 12 ft. In between plant small trees such as flowering dogwood, white or pink, Japanese maples, etc. keeping in mind a sweepjng flow to the trees. Thers is still sunshine, grass and a lot less noise.
  • PRO
    Diana V. McLean
    5 years ago

    "Tall, short, wait for everything to grow and mature." All this depends on your age. For me, I don't buy cheap wine or short trees.
    It looks like the wall is about 15'-20' tall. Leland cypress purchased at about 6' tall would cover the height in 5 years. I wonder about any water flow you would get from this wall. Where does all the water go from heavy rains? Lelands don't like their feet to stay wet nor do most evergreens.
    I wish you well on this project.

  • Ting Nmn
    5 years ago
    the idea is not to wait for growth but use the up-down-up etc to bring some dimension to your view. Small but flowering trees add a layer vs one sight line. Small and dwarf trees don't need to fill in.
  • Lynne Mysliwiec
    5 years ago

    It seems our poster posted and ran ... has any question to her been answered? I see nothing from her except the original post - not even a like...


  • karelina
    5 years ago

    Lots of good suggestions! I'd plant all native trees, vines, trellises. But I'd think more important is a noise buffer, white noise to hide the traffic sounds. Perhaps a noisy fountain or waterfall in a stream coming from behind the new wall of greenery.


  • gr8daygw
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    This looks amazing, will take some time and $.

    Chelsea Flower Show 2015 - The M&G Garden Retreat · More Info

    or this:

    Outdoor Living Area · More Info

    Traditional Country Garden · More Info
    Retaining and Decorative Walls, Fences, Columns and gates · More Info

    I like the idea of planting along the top of a wall that would go in front of the huge wall or building up the back part of the yard to decrease the visual difference in heights. Still do the leland cypress behind. Adding steps would be interesting too.


    Retaining and Decorative Walls, Fences, Columns and gates · More Info


  • Anna Flury
    5 years ago
    So many ways to decorate that wall. Think outside the box. Use a water feature, add pictures, mirrors, use garden art,
  • Anna Flury
    5 years ago
    In our backyard we have this weeping larch it's been trained to go on a rebar that is bent in an arch shape! Makes a big statement!
  • gr8daygw
    5 years ago

    I agree that focusing more on the foreground and mid ground will divert the attention from the wall beyond. But I must say, I feel for you, I doubt you were planning on having to do all of this because of a gigantic wall placed behind your house!

  • kpappal
    5 years ago
    Please check out the Green Giant Arborvitae trees. They grow very very quickly and grow practically anywhere. Our home is on a lot with no privacy in the back yard, so 4 years ago we planted a row of 5 of these trees in a zig-zag configuration on 2 sides of our lot. We planted pink Knock out rose bushes in front of the arborvitae. We now have living walls that provide privacy, beauty, and attract the birds! We put river rock around our groupings for ease of mowing.
  • sydney c
    5 years ago

    i hate to revive but I feel I must put in my two-cent about bamboo to anyone reading and considering it. NEVER PLANT BAMBOO. I know there are different varieties, but the whole species is awful to me and disgusting because of real experience living with it for five years and then selling because it was ruining our lives. Yes, they say you can install rhizome barriers, good luck with that and look at the expense. It never stops. It causes lawsuits, divorces, you name it. People joke about the fact that the only thing they know that will kill it is agent orange. When we were looking at new houses that is the FIRST thing I looked for. I got out of the car and scanned everywhere for bamboo. If we saw it, get back in the car. It is hideous. It will grow so fast at times, you go out every evening knocking down the new growth and then it reappears the next couple of days. you go on vacation and you return to a yard full of DAMBOO that is 10+ feet high. it will destroy your property value. you will hate or be hated by your neighbors. it will spread across your property and grow under your deck even, around your a/c units, on the OTHER side of your house! It should be illegal. I don't care if you do plant the clumping kind, it is still disgusting and ugly, and someone will like it and decide to plant it themselves, not realizing to avoid the running kind and start wwIII.

  • chookchook2
    5 years ago

    I'm so sorry you went through that, Sydney.

  • organizedsarah
    5 years ago

    Sydney...sorry you had such trouble with bamboo. Hubby and I wanted more privacy while in our hot tub, so we built a berm to the east side of the hot tub and planted bamboo. The berm is about 3 feet tall and is surrounded on all sides by concrete stones. We buried metal sheeting around the bamboo at the roots, sticking out of the soil about 3 inches. When a runner starts, it hits the metal sheeting and turns UP (our of the soil), making it very easy to snip off with a pruning shears. If we miss one, it will grow straight out from the top of the concrete stones, again easy to find and easy to cut with garden shears. We haven't had ANY trouble containing ours, and we've had it for over 20 years.


    It grows just outside our bedroom window, and I LOVE the sound of the rain filtering through it, as well as the sound it makes in the wind. It is a safe place for birds to perch and sing us awake in the mornings. I have never fertilized it, and I rarely ever even water it. It's a lovely yellow-green hue which makes a nice contrast to the other green plants in my yard. And, it makes a nice barrier for the hot tub! I love everything about it! I would happily plant bamboo in front of the concrete wall, but would leave enough space between the wall and the bamboo to put in the metal sheeting and have space to walk between the sheeting and the fence so you have control over the bamboo as it grows.

    My other vote would be NOT to paint the wall. Paint isn't permanent, and you'll eventually have a peeling, fading mess.

  • bellelime
    4 years ago

    REJOICE, you may be able to hear yourself think! Traffic ruins a yard; conversations are impossible; the kids never hear you calling them; you can no longer hear birds chirping; tranquil water features splashing and gurgling are drowned out by gravel trucks and school buses! ... With a lovely, enduring neutral-toned sound barrier, you have PRIVACY, SILENCE and a beautiful backdrop for a raised planting of shrubs and flowering plants. Enjoy! Fortunate You!

  • keekee9
    last year

    I feel your pain. However, it's better than listening to traffic from the Ohio turnpike or whatever the case may be.

  • Kim Weaver
    last year
    Old post
  • Huyen Linh Ho
    3 months ago

    It is easy problem to solve. Put your house up as quick sale and move to another dream house. Your house is right behind a new built freeway, so it must now locate in a convenient area. Take advantage of the high price.

  • Roy Cagle
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Sound walls are a relatively NEW urban invention. They do not work as well as intended as SOUND travels and traffic FUMES move with the air. There is air above them of course. To me, they are an eyesore and add an unnecessary COST to the construction or addition of a highway. It is quite easy to remember when the stupid concrete monoliths did not exist.

  • mindshift
    last month

    To Roy and Huyen, if you click on a Related Discussions item, it is likely to be OLD. This one was started 5 years ago. The age of each post appears right below the poster's name. When you add a comment anyone else who posted in that discussion gets notified. I really, really wish Houzz would put a time limit on adding comment to old posts.