We live on the corner of two busy 2-lane city streets near downtown Tucson, Arizona. Our backyard is almost too noisy for entertaining. Are hay bale fences the best thing for noise abatement, and if so, how high does it have to be to reduce the noise level?
Anna ~ Tucson, Arizona
Anna, straw bale fences can mitigate noise problems, and when constructed correctly a straw bale structure can be very durable and strong. Although the bulk of the fence is made with bales of straw, concrete footings and steel re-bar are also necessary when building straw bail structures. If you want to build a straw bail fence, then you will need to completely cover the structure with a vapor barrier and a cement or adobe finish.
You should check with your local building department or home owner's association to see what types of regulations are in place that dictate the height of fences on private property. I would guess that a 5 or 6 foot fence would be adequate to block out the unwanted noise, but you also want the fence to be code compliant and look appropriate with the surrounding landscape. I think that an earth-toned adobe finish will look great with the surrounding Tuscon desert environment and should help to visually reduce the mass of this large fence. Good luck with the project and I hope it solves your noise problems.