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My house backs up to a street, with 3 lanes in both directions.

Even though there is a good 30 feet from the back fence to the road, the street noise can get pretty loud during peak traffic times.

I'm looking for a solution to reduce the noise in the backyard.

The fence is currently an old wood post type (5ft. in height) with gaps between it - so I am sure it is not doing anything to reduce noise.

Is there anything I can put on the fence to drastically reduce street noise?

Is there a different type of fence that does this really well - that you have tried?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

To provide even a little noise reduction, you need to eliminate air gaps in the fence. If wind can blow through, sound can come through too. There is little you can do to improve the fence without first sealing the gaps. Adding foliage (i.e. shrubs or vines) will do nothing.

To seal the gaps you need to

After sealing the gaps, the next steps would be to increase the barrier height and/or adding mass to the barrier (usually done by adding extra layers)

Here are some US govt documents related to barriers.

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You seem to have missed out the part where you explain how to seal the gaps. Did you mean to come back to the answer? – ChrisF Apr 30 '14 at 8:34
We have a 4 lane parkway, the cure was a 20' concrete slab wall between slotted columns that the city installed. No penetrating openings!! Sound bends over the top, but it's higher than the noise sources so what comes over is tolerable. Slat fencing with slots works similar to light experiments, refraction produces a planar noise source behind the grid which defeats the purpose. – Fiasco Labs Apr 30 '14 at 15:05

Plant a hedge. You want something 10' or more, with density throughout its height, but trees'll help too.

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