An EarthWall is essentially a vertical set of trays which can be filled with growing material and planted. Although the tray system initially looks like a set of horizontal galvanized metal fence rails, after plants or ground cover takes root, the planting trays become grown over and the galvanized railings are hidden from view. If need be, the galvanized side can be painted or covered with wood to temporarily obscure the galvanized material from view.
The point here is that an 8’ sound wall could be made out of concrete, but this does not make for a natural look. However, an 8’ EarthWall can be planted and become quickly overgrown with ground cover that ends up looking like a large hedge.
General preference for an 8’ sound wall, is for a 3’ fence on top a 5’ berm, not for a 5’ fence on top a 3’ berm. Even a 4’ fence on a 4’ berm feels too top heavy.
A 5’ berm can be made with 1:1 slopes, provided the soil is well compacted. Leaving a 1’ flat section on top for the EarthWall means the overall 8’ sound barrier is about 11’ wide. This is in comparison to the standard architectural version of a berm, which has a 2:1 slope and for 8’ high, would be 32’ wide.