First, bone up on local zoning rules and covenants to make sure that you do, in fact, have the right to build a fence, advises Doug Brown, an estate attorney in Southport, Connecticut. "Your neighbors will see that fence every day, too, so they're going to care what it looks like," he says. And there's your in. Approach your neighbor in a friendly manner, sharing your ideas. Then drop the hint that you're happy to work together on a design and, ahem, a budget. Maybe they'd prefer a two-sided frame-and-panel number? Or a nice evergreen hedge? Anything besides the standard stockade, with the bulwark facing their yard, no?