If you live near a busy street, noisy neighbors, or have an external air condition near your patio, you may be considering a fence that buffers noise. When considering which fences will provide the most sound reduction, it may help to think of a fence like a house. A thick, solid wall in your home is going to block sound better than a wall made of single-pane windows. Open a window, and the noise will be even louder. It’s the same with fences. A solid fence will let less sound through than one with slats or holes, and a thick fence will absorb more sound than a thin fence.

Wood fences block more sound than other fence types. There are several styles of wooden fences. For the best noise reduction, you’ll want one with very little gaps between boards: Stockade over shadowbox.

For extreme cases, it is possible to put a quilted fiberglass blanket or layer of sound-absorbing foam on one side of the fence, and then cover with a second layer of wooden boards. This type of treatment may reduce the life of the fence and provides a terrific habitat for carpenter ants and termites.

In addition to a standard stockade fence, you may consider planting fast-growing vines or hedges along the fence line. You may notice that fences along the highway have vines growing on them. Check with your local highway engineering departments or urban planning centers to see what type of plants they use. You’ll want to use plants that are native to the area you live in. Hedges take longer to grow and area higher initial investment, but are long living and won’t reduce the longevity of your fence like vines could.