Elements of Landscape Architecture – Sound

Landscape architecture features several elements that must be balanced in a space to achieve harmony. Experts in this field have a special eye for using natural and manmade pieces to optimize the area. Though most people focus on the visual side of this type of architecture, one of its most important elements is sound.

How Sound Works in the Landscape

You sense a space with all your senses. Therefore, landscape architects must consider more than just how the area looks. They also need to consider what you hear. A beautiful garden with sounds of nearby traffic does not provide as relaxing space as one without such a distraction. By using various methods a landscape architect can create elements that can mask undesirable sounds that feel like you are worlds away from the worry of modern life.

Types of Sounds

Though many people just think of all sounds as the same, landscape architects understand the differences in various sounds. There are three main types of sounds, some of which are easier to harness in the landscape than others.

One type of sound is biophony, which comes from the prefix bio-, meaning life, and suffix -phony, meaning sound. Put together, this term refers to sounds made by living things such as birds, crickets, or frogs.

Another type of sound is one that everyone hears daily – sound produced by humans, called anthrophony. This type of sound is often one that landscape architects work to block out. Examples include traffic sounds, HVAC systems, lawnmowers, cell phones, and neighbor conversations.

Lastly, is geophony, which comes from the sounds of physical elements of the landscape interacting with each other. Examples include the sound of water trickling over stones in a stream, waterfalls, rain, fire, and snow.

Using Sound in Landscape Architecture

There are several ways that a landscape architect can use sound in the space they design. For instance, they could integrate a falling water curtain next to a seating area. The sound of the water falling provides a soothing backdrop while blocking out nearby noises from neighbors.

Another way to use sound is with fire. Fireplaces or fire pits provide light, warmth, and the subtle noise of flickering flames. In fact, the sound of a fire pit is quiet enough to integrate it into a conversation area without impeding discussion. However, it also provides enough sound for helping individuals to relax in quiet moments. 

Find Balance in Your Landscape with Help from Mark Scott Associates

Find a landscape architect professional who understands the use of various elements of landscape architecture design, including how to incorporate sound into the space. Contact Mark Scott Associates for more information about how you can get a professionally designed landscape that incorporates all the senses.