Relaxing Water Features Drown Out the Crowd

It’s five-thirty PM—and if you’re like most of the inhabitants of Chicago’s urban and suburban sprawl, you’ve been hearing honks, whirrs, and whistles in your backyard area for the past half-hour.  And although there may be something zen about the bustle of a big city crowd, most of us would agree that the peak hours of tranquility in our yards and outdoor spaces are those hours that don’t coincide with rush hour traffic.  Luckily, there are some often overlooked landscaping options that can completely transform your space and supply it with a newfound peace in those key hours.  Not to mention, add an unparalleled aesthetic appeal.

The best option for this job is a water feature.  Water features create what acoustic experts call “white noise,” which has been scientifically proven to have a calming effect on the brain.  Read on for a peek at the different water feature options that serve as good solutions for reducing ambient noise.

Outdoor Water Features



Cascading over a naturalistic ridge, a waterfall can be an excellent source of white noise.  Whichever kind of waterfall you decide on, speak with an expert landscaper or landscaping team that knows the relative volume level you’re looking for and the kind of sound you want the splashing water to make.

If you work with a landscaping team that works frequently with water features, they’ll know that the sonic goal is to combine the sound of a babbling stream with the gentle falling of water a small distance off.  Combining multiple gentle sounds keeps the noise from sounding monotonous, and adjusting the water flow to just the right amount keeps it from getting loud enough to disrupt your backyard.


Fountains are suitable for areas that require slightly less noise than waterfalls.  But when you’re choosing a fountain, it’s usually wise to choose one that produces more sound rather than less—this way you can turn up the pressure at the times with the most noise pollution.  You can then save the calming, bubbling effect for later in the evening when things have quieted down.


One of the main problems with water features in noise reduction is localization.  The do-it-yourself approach, while sometimes workable for more temporary landscape features, often leads to the creation one water feature that drowns out traffic noise in one small portion of the space, but does little for the other areas.

The best option for these cases is to use a stream to spread the pleasant white noise effects throughout the yard.  With streams, creativity is key; they can be set to encounter obstacles like rocks and gravel, or go over mini waterfall ridges—all of which add to the beautiful sonic palette of your yard space.  Mimicking the beautiful artistry of nature, you can find yourself with features like rippling brooks, babbling rivulets, and cascades—the possibilities are quite literally endless.  To start adding beautiful water tones and features to your landscape area, consult with a qualified landscape specialist.  Get in touch with Botanical Concepts Chicago for price estimates and location assessment.