A Good Neighbor Fence describes a wood privacy fence where the finished side (i.e. the more attractive, smooth side) faces the neighbors property. The homeowner building the fence then has a view of the rails and posts from inside their yard.
A Good Neighbor Fence is commonly considered good etiquette, but is not typically a law or requirement.
While most states don’t have laws that require homeowners to build a fence with the pickets facing out, many cities and home owners associates do have rules about how fences should be constructed. Be sure to check with your city’s code, your neighborhood association rules and with your fence contractor to ensure you’re in compliance.
If your property is on a corner lot, or if you don’t have direct neighbors, it is common for municipalities to require fence posts and bracing to be restricted from public view. Effectively your are required to have Good Neighbor Fence or alternative. Again, check your local codes and association rules to ensure you’re following the rules before building.
Most wood privacy fences have a finished side where the pickets/panels create a smooth surface, while fence posts and rails are inside the yard. There are however wood fence options that integrate the posts and rails, creating an attractive surface on both sides. These options may be more decorative, and may require more lumber, so they are typically more expensive than a standard wooden privacy fence.