Do you find peace and quiet in your garden?

Pigeon in birdbath

With the weather improving, many of us will be heading out into our gardens. But do you find that noisy neighbours or pesky animals ruin it for you?

Ah, the spring! The first flowers are open and the weather is mild enough to tempt us into the garden.

And there’s nothing better than sitting in your garden on a sunny afternoon, cool drink in hand, listening to the birds singing… or the neighbours cutting through a huge pile of logs with a chainsaw… or dogs incessantly yapping.

In February we asked over a thousand Which? members which noises they loved and which bothered them in the garden. The results really got us talking.

Nuisance noise

Of the people who told us they’d been bothered by noise in their garden, almost two fifths had been bothered by a dog or dogs barking. Road and traffic noise were a big irritant too along with neighbours’ garden parties.

A fifth who’d been bothered by noise found the sound of someone mowing the lawn irritating. But a lot of people also said they found the same sound restful.

Bird song was reported as the most restful sound – but not seagulls, cockerels, rooks or wood pigeons.
As for me, I don’t mind the gentle tinkle of a wind-chime, but my colleague describes her neighbour’s wind chime as ‘infuriating tuneless dissonant clanging’.

But cats fighting, foxes yelping and in one case, cannon fire from a medieval festival, all seem to jangle our nerves.

Combatting unwelcome noise

Some noise you can never get rid of, but can fade into the background once you’re used to it, like traffic. Other noise can be dealt with after a quiet word with the neighbours.

So what do you do to combat unwelcome noise in your garden? Do you retaliate or retreat inside? What noises are the most irritating for you, and which do you find restful?


Loads of anecdotes about Germany, Belgium, France et al having sensible regulations re Sunday noise, but it seems very hard to find definite info. Googling gives little success.

Anyone got links to some definitive info?

And yes to all suggestions that we need a national campaign!

I voted for Blair [sorry!] because he promised to ban noisy car stereos – nowt came of that one! But a concerted campaign might [?[ make some politicians see a few more votes.

One can live in hope….

Noise pollution whatever day of the week can have extremely damaging effects on ones health and if the council refuse to take action on your behalf a solicitors letter, although it may cost you financially but well worth it if it restores peace and quiet into your own home. If the offender rents the property a word with the landlord who has the power to threaten eviction if the problem persists but he/she is under no legal obligation to do so. Some developments stipulate no businesses are allowed to operate within them so this is another option worth pursuing.

We had to put up with a family with children and lots of their friends that screamed and shouted all day long in their garden, complete with air horns, footballs in the garden, using our garden when we were out, leaving their TV on at full volume all day on their patio! and a frequently barking dog that would snarl at me in my own garden when it broke in. The parents made no effort to consider us and our family. I asked the Council for help but the dog barking wasn’t considered enough of a problem and you couldn’t do anything about the children’s noise. I had a breakdown.

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Duncan – be careful.

I presume other neighbours were also disturbed, so your remedy would also upset them, duncan. Retaliation solves nothing. If the noise and intrusion persists then the authorities can take action, but it seems a prolonged process (if you watch “neighbours from hell” anyway.

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First establish whether the neighbours house is rented or owner occupied. If all polite requests fall on deaf ears, then for your own sake you need to take action. The key is to let your neighbour know (politely) the extent to which their noise is affecting you.

Contact the landlord if they are tenants, otherwise threaten legal action. A solicitors letter usually works as noise pollution can affect the value and also the saleability of your own house. A surveyor will now ask about troublesome neighbours if you decide to sell up and move away.

In the meantime buy a pair of noise reducing headphones and play your favourite music to drown out the noise, and if possible wear them outside in your garden so your neighbour can see for themselves the effects of their inconsideration. Constructive action can sometimes speak louder than words Duncan. Retaliation only plays into the hands of the perpetrator and just prolongs the agony.

Christine says:
16 January 2017

The mystery to me is that why do noisy people with screaming children, who spend all day bouncing on the trampoline or jumping and screaming into the inflatable pool, always move next to a quiet family? It seems that Fate dictates that noise should be inflicted on the calm quite people from all quarters. Has anyone ever complained about it being too quiet or silent? I think that people who enjoy a great deal of noise are never made aware that the sound doe not cease where the fence is.

Dog barking! This is not just in the summer. I want to know if anti-barking devices work. Even if they do work, would they work from my garden to the next? Has Which done any research into them? I wish they would. Anyone else?

Ross Jeal says:
13 June 2018

Dog barking is a nuisance in my rural location also. The owners of noisy dogs just do not seem to be aware that their pet’s incessant barking is a source of irritation to neighbors. I have neighbors on three sides of my property and each has at least one dog, one of which will bark all night. I should like to learn of the most effective device that can be positioned in my garden to deter the dog’s incessant noise. Is WHICH to carry out testing of available audio anti-barking devices? Please do so soon.

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