Walls and Masking in Murin-an

Noise from urban surroundings can be problematic for gardens, but the negative effects can be mitigated by walls. Garden walls do not (like noise screens can do) suggest a problem, as they are perceived as being part of the aesthetic expression. The effects is optimized if screens are combined with masking water sounds, like here in Murin-an in eastern Kyoto. A road passes just outside the garden, but owing to the combination of walls and a masking waterfall, the passing of cars is not intrusive.

Masking the E10 in Abisko

In this clip two cars passes, but the sound from the stream masks them almost completely.

The river Gavleån

Sound is more than just levels. The loud surge of Gavleån is completely draining the noise from the crossing road, but the levels are still not regarded as intrusive.

Södervärns bus station, Malmö

Masking / Audio sounds at Södervärns bus station, Malmö

A room of water sounds creates variation in this traffic-dense location and moves focus from the noise.

Gatukontoret, Malmö stad

Masking the highway

A simplified simulation of how noise in an area close to a highway can be experienced, depending on masking. In the following clip, the same traffic sound was used in two different scenarios. The rustling sound of aspen was added in one of the cases to illustrate the potential of masking. By use of species that are good rustlers, like aspen and other poplars, the masking effect can be enhanced in design situations. A further effect can be achieved if the trees are located in windy positions, such as hills or along wind tunnels. Visual aspects are also important. A noise barrier that is a completely straight raises associations to the straight and fast road on the other side. By creating small and more natural spaces,  the masking is more likely to be successful.