Most activities happen in the backyard - barbecue parties, birthday parties, children’s games, and a lot more.
This is because it’s one place in our home that has a bigger space for several people to gather.
With houses close to each other, a neighbor’s yard can be next to our bedroom, living room, study, or office space.
Now, imagine if activities happen to their backyard every day, it would certainly be impossible to enjoy peace.
It's always a struggle if you have noisy neighbors. Combine that with the noise you can probably get in a crowded city, and it would be a headache every day.
Good thing that there are a few things that you can do to deal with this.
How do you block noise from your neighbor’s yard? It’s actually easy, and you can do this even on your own. Here are four things that you can do:
- Talk to your neighbor And Ask Them To Minimize The Noise
- Soundproof your house to Block Noise From the Neighbor's yard
- Take care of the noise before it reaches your backyard by installing sound barrier fences
- Masking the sound using White-Noise Machine or considered adding a water feature
The methods above are focused on soundproofing your house and your surroundings too. This means you might need to do at least two of the ways above for an effective solution to your noisy neighbor problems.
However, knowing these five methods is not enough. So, we included the different ways on how you can do it below.
1: Talk to Your Neighbor and ask them to Minimize the Noise
Talking to your neighbor is one of the simplest things that you can do if you want to get back the peace.
Because, sometimes, having the right conversation is all you need. You might be surprised that they weren’t aware of it in the first place.
So, pay your neighbor a little visit and talk to him about the noise problem.
Speak to them nicely if they may turn the noise down, especially if it’s an everyday thing.
This way, they might be able to find a way to lessen the noise and not cause you problems.
On worse occasions, this might not turn out well. If it does, chances are, it might only last for a few weeks.
Then, you might hear the same problems again. If this is the case, then you have to take matters into your own hands.
That means, soundproofing your home and blocking the noise out.
2: Soundproof your House to block noise entering your house
If talking won’t work is to soundproof your house. This means sealing gaps or spaces where noise can easily pass through.
It can also mean thickening some areas, so it’s not penetrable.
There are three areas that you would need to focus on if you’re soundproofing your house:
Now, let’s discuss the soundproofing techniques that you can do to quiet each area effectively.
- Sealants: To seal the small gaps in your window frame.
- Soundproofing Curtains: To effectively dampen down noise outside your window.
- Double-Paneled Windows: Better sound-dampening quality than ordinary windows.
- Weatherstripping Tape: To seal the gaps in your door frame.
- Door Sweeps: To seal the gap between the bottom of your door and the floor.
- Soundproofing Blankets: Thick blankets that can act as sound barriers by thickening the door.
- Acoustic Panels or Foams: Commonly used in music rooms to improve sound quality and prevent noise from outside to come in.
- Solid Doors: Better than hollow core doors in terms of soundproofing.
- Soundproof Paint: Thicket than regular paint which is great in absorbing sounds.
- Mass-Loaded Vinyl: Heavy wallpapers that can prevent sound from passing through.
- Drywall: Another layer that you can install to thicken your walls.
Soundproofing your Windows
The first thing you need to deal with is your windows. Windows are one of the thinnest areas in your house where noise can come in.
There is also likely a big chance that you have a window facing directly to your neighbor’s noisy backyard.
So, to prevent noise from coming in, we listed down a few ways that you can soundproof your window below:
Seal the Gaps and Cracks In the Window
Check your windows for some small gaps and cracks because this is most likely where the noise enters.
That’s why it’s important to seal these gaps if you’ve seen them. What you’ll need to seal these tiny gaps with a sealant effectively.
Make sure to seal them up correctly to ensure that no noise can get through.
Hand Soundproofing Curtains on Windows
After checking and sealing the gaps, you can now install soundproofing curtains for an additional noise barrier.
Soundproofing curtains are much thicker and heavier compared to ordinary curtains that can effectively absorb sound, therefore, reducing noise.
To install them, all you need to do is hang them on a curtain rod like ordinary curtains.
Just make sure that the rods can handle the curtain’s weight.
What’s great about this method is that soundproofing curtains come in various colors and designs.
This means you can match them with your house’s aesthetics as well.
Block the Window Completely
Block the window that is facing your neighbor’s backyard directly.
By blocking the area where the noise gets through, you will undoubtedly enjoy peace.
However, although this method is beneficial, the outcome is not helpful because you’ll be blocking light at the same time.
This is probably alright if you don’t use the area frequently. But if you do, then you might still opt to do a different method.
Replace old windows with Double-Paneled Windows
An excellent alternative for blocking out your windows is to replace your ordinary windows with double-paneled ones.
Double-paneled windows have two sheets of glass in a window frame.
They are thicker than ordinary window panes and are more effective in dampening sounds.
Another great advantage of having double-paneled windows is that they make excellent heat insulators.
A small space between the two pieces of glass is responsible for this.
So, other than having a better sound quality in your own home, you’ll also get to save more energy.
Soundproofing your Doors
After you’ve dealt with the windows, it’s time to focus on your doors, which is another thin area in your house.
Most doors, other than your exterior doors, have a hollow core. This is what makes it easy for noise to pass through.
There are two things that you need to do to soundproof your doors: Seal the gaps and thicken the door.
Below are a few ways to achieve that:
Seal Gaps on Door Frames with Weatherstripping Tape
Similar to the gaps in window frames, you also need to seal the door gaps in door frames.
No matter how small it is, it is still a way for noise to come in.
One way that you can do this is by using a weatherstripping tape.
This is probably one of the most efficient ways to do it. It’s cheap and easy to install.
All you need to do is stick it on the area where you needed it, press gently, close the door, and leave it as is for a few minutes to seal the weatherstripping tape in place.
There are self-adhesive weatherstripping tapes available on the market that makes the job easier.
But if you’re using the non-self-adhesive, then make sure to use a high-quality glue that can resist vibrations.
Seal the Gap at the Bottom of the Door with Door Sweeps
You need to seal the big gap between the bottom of the door and the floor.
However, this gap is too big that you can’t use a weatherstripping tape. Instead, you can use door sweeps to prevent the noise from coming in.
As the name implies, it sweeps the floor as you close the door creating that barrier you need. It’s also very cheap and easy to install.
The most common door sweeps are made of rubber, and they are cheap.
However, the disadvantage of this is that they might create a squeaking sound when you move the door. Also, it can damage a carpet if you have one).
An excellent alternative would be your old blankets, t-shirts, or any other cloth you have.
Just stick them all to fit on the gap below your door and make sure it’s tight so no noise can enter.
Thicken Door with Soundproofing Blankets
Sealing the gaps can already dampen out the noise. However, if you want to improve it, then thicken the door as well.
You can do this by putting up soundproofing blankets to your door.
Soundproofing blankets are much thicker than regular sheets and are effective in dampening noises.
To install them, you may need to have assistance as they can be pretty heavy.
They are also affordable choices for soundproofing. However, soundproofing blankets don’t look good in terms of how it looks.
If this is something that will be an issue for you, then you might want to try other door thickening alternatives.
Thicken Door with Acoustic Panels
Another excellent way to thicken your door is to use acoustic panels.
These are usually used for studio rooms to absorb noise and improve sound quality.
You can use this same acoustic panels to thicken and soundproof your door.
They are straightforward to install. All you need is a glue or adhesive tape and stick them gently to the door.
They can be more expensive than soundproofing blankets; however, there are many designs and patterns that you can choose to match your home’s aesthetics.
Replace Hollow Doors with Solid Ones
The best way to soundproof an area to your house near your neighbor’s backyard is to replace your hollow doors with solid ones.
It’s harder for noise to penetrate solid doors, plus, you won’t have to spend so much time doing DIY too.
This option, however, may cost you more money than the other two options above. So, it’s only really recommended for those that have the budget.
Also, there are a lot of door patterns and designs that you can choose from, which will match your home’s style.
Soundproofing your Walls
Lastly, you also need to thicken your walls. As we’ve mentioned before, the thinner the area, the easier it is for noise to pass through.
Your wall is the area most susceptible to the sound coming from your neighbor’s yard.
Below are a few ways that you can soundproof your walls:
Use a Soundproofing Paint
Sound-proofing paint is typically thicker than ordinary paint with latex as the main ingredient.
It also has a rubbery texture, which helps in their noise-reducing capability.
There are also a lot of colors to choose from that would match your home interior.
This method can only work with certain noises, and it’s not a foolproof solution.
In other words, it might only block 30% of the sound coming from outside.
Install Acoustic Panels or Foams On walls
Another great way to soundproof your walls is to use acoustic panels or foams.
These are foams commonly used for music studios.
They work as sound absorbers and can improve sound quality inside your home.
At the same time, they can prevent noise from the outside from coming in.
Just like how you would install them to your door, all you need is a glue or adhesive tape.
Make sure to measure your walls first before buying the panels.
Since they come in different sizes, you would want to be sure that you buy the right panel size.
Once you got your panels, tailor-fit them to your walls. Then, you can easily install them using glue or adhesive tape.
Just one simple reminder, don’t use regular glue as it can melt the foam.
Try to get a foam tack or ask the store what type of glue you can use to install your panel.
Install Mass-Loaded Vinyl
Aside from acoustic panels, you can also install mass-loaded vinyl.
It resembles a wallpaper and is made of vinyl material. It’s also infused with metal particles, which increases its mass.
Mass-loaded Vinyl will act as a second layer of your wall that would reduce the noise that can come through.
You can choose over panels or rolls. Just be sure to measure your walls before buying the material.
Installing mass-loaded vinyl is similar to applying acoustic panels. The only difference is that you can use regular glue.
But, for better sticking, you can use green glue. Just make sure to be careful when using green paste as it can dry quickly.
Add a Extra Layer of Drywall
Lastly, you can also add another layer of drywall. This method costs more than the other techniques mentioned above; however, it’s one of the most effective.
Installing another layer of drywall will take a lot of time. Also, it would require a lot of planning, as you would need to do some re-wirings.
You would also have to make sure that you get the right measurements.
It’s also best to combine this method with the other techniques above, such as painting with soundproofing paint and installing mass-loaded vinyl.
This way, you’ll be improving the sound-reducing capability of your wall.
3: Take care of the Noise before it Reaches your Yard
Of course, soundproofing your house is not enough. If possible, you should block the noise even before it hits your home.
This way, little to no sound can be heard inside your home. So, how can you do this? Below are two things that you can do:
One way to block noise before it reaches your yard is to plant some noise-blockers.
It’s not only environmental-friendly, but it’s aesthetically pleasing to the eye as well.
It’s nice to wake up and enjoy the view of your yard from your window.
Plants can absorb high-frequency sounds. These are the sounds we find most annoying, and that may include your neighbor’s yard activities.
Hedges are one type of plant that you can use as noise-blockers.
However, you would need to research about their height and width when they mature so you can space them accordingly.
Shrubs are another plant that can be excellent noise-blockers.
Evergreen plants, in particular, are the best because they can provide noise protection for a whole year.
If you prefer trees, then make sure to choose those that have dense branches that can reach the ground.
You can plant hollies or junipers that have thick branches level to the ground for that excellent noise protection.
Build a Fence
If your house doesn’t have a fence yet, then perhaps it’s time to build one, especially if you have problems with your neighbors every day.
For excellent sound barrier fences, you would need to use thicker boards.
You need to nail these boards on heavy rails, which are also supported by heavy posts.
In other words, a heavy fence is what you need to block sounds effectively.
However, before you start building a fence, you need to check with legal to be sure that you’re not breaking any laws.
This way, you would also know your limitations.
4: Mask the Sounds
If you can’t install a physical barrier or if you’ve already done everything, but the noise can still penetrate, don’t lose hope yet.
Because there’s still one thing you can do so, you can achieve a peaceful environment: mask the sounds.
This means creating or providing a more calming and relaxing noise that is near you, so you won’t hear the irritating noise coming from your neighbors.
Here are a few ways that you can mask the noise:
If you find the sound of a water stream or a splashing waterfall relaxing, then you may want to consider installing some water features.
You can place a water fountain, waterfall, and other artificial flowing water sources in your yard or even inside your own home.
In other words, put it in locations where you need to be relaxed.
For example, you can place it in the yard right outside your bedroom or next to your patio.
Just make sure not to put it near roads or your neighbor’s backyard as this deflects from the original purpose of the water feature.
It should be close to your ears. This way, if your neighbor has activity on their yard or their kids are playing, you would hear the stream of waters instead.
Get A White-Noise Machine
Other than water features, you can also invest in some white-noise machines.
The best advantage of white-noise machines is you can place them right next to you.
There’s no installation needed. If you want to read and there’s a party at your neighbor’s, you can simply place the machine on a table beside you and turn it on.
You can also invest in furniture that comes with white-noise features, like your air conditioner or air humidifier.
If you have a baby, then you can place it right beside them to keep them sound asleep even during the day.
Babies love white noise, and you might find this very useful.
As you can see, there’s no need for you to tolerate the noise from your neighbors.
Moving out should also be the last in your options, especially if you find the place convenient for your needs.
With the methods mentioned above, for sure, you’ll be able to get the peace you deserve to relax every day, especially on a weekend if you don’t have work.
Combining as many of the techniques as possible is not bad at all if it makes the soundproofing better.
Remember, creativity goes a long way. If it solves your problem, then feel free to go the extra mile.
Jessica is a Acoustical Engineer, currently based in the San Francisco Bay Area in California. After graduating from her degree in Master of Engineering degree in Acoustics from Solent University in 2014, Jessica worked for a few companies before She will be blogging about her past and current experiences in the studio and sharing her journey as she pursues her career goals. She enjoy the balance of work inside and out of the office, solving practical problems on a daily basis as every project is different and requires a different solution, the variety of work (sound insulation testing, background noise survey, mechanical plant commissioning, external plant assessment, plant room breakout assessments) and the mix of independent and team work.