When the pleasure of having your very own small cottage is offset by the grit and rumble of traffic on the busy street outside front, landscaping for peace and privacy becomes a top priority. Due to fundamental laws of physics, achieving sweet silence is unlikely, but it is possible to create an oasis in which the traffic’s effect requires a back seat to the balance of the garden’s layout. Plants and their positioning, intelligent obstacles and provocative landscaping components reduce exposure to the hustle and bustle of vehicles zooming by.
Buffering Noise Beautifully
Placing a noise barrier between you and the offending source of sound lessens the decibel level in the garden. A tall wood fence installed close to the street and an adjacent high, well-manicured hedge of evergreens produces a visually attractive display that deflects and absorbs sound waves, and serves as a backdrop for a border of the flowering perennials and annuals favored in cottage gardens. Fraser photinias (Photinia x fraseri) are evergreens that boom in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 and 9 with thick, leathery foliage accented by bright-red new leaves which emerge in the spring. These photinias are suitable for roadside planting as a result of their tolerance to heat and fairly dry dirt when the plants have been established. Emerald green arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis “Smaragd”), which thrives in USDA plant hardiness zones 2 through 8, also hold up well to roadside conditions.
Luxurious greenery provided by a mixture of deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs farther attenuates traffic sound. Only inside the fence-and-hedge noise buffer, Leyland cypress trees (Cupressocyparis leylandii), which grow in USDA zones 5 through 9, promote the noise streaming with dense evergreen foliage. Around the garden’s borders, red laceleaf Japanese maple (Acer palmatum “Ornatum”), which rises in USDA zones 6 through 8, and also pink-flowering dogwood (Cornus florida “Rubra”) along with several varieties of little holly trees and shrubs (Ilex spp.) , booming in zones 5 to 9, bring wealthy cottage-garden-style color and texture through the seasons.
Flowers and Fragrance
Plants with evocative fragrances can counterbalance that the whiff of exhaust fumes that creep into the garden from a busy street. The lemon-scented blossoms of a small, evergreen “Baby Grand” magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora var. “STRgra”), which rises in USDA zones 7 to 9, along with the lemony foliage of dwarf evergreen “Wilma Goldcrest” Monterrey cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa “Wilma Goldcrest”), growing in zones 7 through 10, insert a little freshness. The sweet scent of lilies and “Cecile Brunner” climbing roses (Rosa x “Cecile Brunner”), a cottage-garden favorite in zones 4 through 11, add light and depth pink accents into the landscape ambience. Underfoot, spreading thyme (Thymus spp.) Groundcover plants add savory zest to gardens in USDA zones 5 through 10.
Sound and Light
The tinkling, splashing sounds of a little fountain placed close to a seating area can offer a sense of calm which overrides the hum of traffic just past the garden’s boundaries. Playing background music via outdoor speakers disguised in artificial stone put into the cottage garden layout can also mitigate noise from the street. The nighttime garden can be welcoming, in spite of the beam of headlights on the opposite side of this garden display, by redirecting the perspective having strategically areas landscape lighting set alongside pathways and tiny spotlights aimed up to emphasize vertical garden features.