The most common privacy fence is a hardscape model. These are wood, stone, or vinyl privacy fences that can be erected quickly. These privacy fences are sturdy and easily maintained. They are also relatively easy to design around, and you can place whatever landscaping you choose in front of the fence to improve the beauty and curb appeal of your home. Naturally, the amount of landscaping you plan to use affects the type of fence you will buy. Some fences are purchased for functionality, others for both form and function. Heavy landscaping, for instance, can free you to buy a less expensive fence, assuming your landscaping will do aesthetically and functionally what the less expensive fence should be doing. But the benefit of a reliable hardscape fence is that it will protect your privacy in all seasons, rather than only when your greenery is full.
Softscape fences are often called "living walls" because not only are they a mix of live plants, but they change their color, form and texture throughout the season. Similarly, they can be pruned to take on various designs for any season, with flowers that bloom throughout the year. These "fences" are more often used either in conjunction with hardscape fences or in place of them when the property is large enough making privacy less of an issue.
Your privacy fence will benefit both you and your neighbor. Many neighbors, for this very reason, choose to share the cost of a fence that runs down a shared property line. While this can be a tricky conversation, it is still important to have even if shared cost is not in the cards. Your neighbor should know that a fence is going in because it will certainly affect their view as much as yours. But remember, if you share cost, you will often be subject to sharing design concept. This is where it becomes tricky—less in the cost than in the power.
Robert Frost is often quoted, "Good fences make good neighbors," but if the installation of a privacy fence is not handled properly, a fence can do nothing but cause animosity. Similarly, make sure you thoroughly check property boundaries before making a mistake that can either loose property or accidentally make a grab for someone else's. The purpose of a good privacy fence is to make your neighborhood more livable, not less.