If you've just bought a new house and need to replace the fence, you are likely aware of the trend toward having fences with horizontal planks. These are not split-rail fences with two or three horizontal rails but full wood fences where all of the planks are placed horizontally. Practical, as well as aesthetic, concerns should drive your decision-making process because the type of fence you get could have safety implications.
One of the biggest issues that a wood fence with horizontal planks presents is how easy it can be to climb the fence. Many horizontal fences have spaces in between the planks, and these spaces make it very easy for kids, crooks, and even pets (if you have any that are escape artists) to climb up the side of the fence. The kids could fall and get hurt, the crook could get onto your property from a hidden area, and if your pets escape and bite someone, you could have to deal with liability from that. You want to reduce the chances of anything like that happening, and a vertical-plank fence would be best if you have kids or pets and are security-minded.
It is possible to get horizontal fences where the planks are close together, presenting outsiders with a solid mass of cedar wood. That would take care of the climbing issue, but then you have the hipster issue. These fences are often derided as hipster fences, indicating that someone in that demographic has moved in, and that a wave of gentrification will follow. If you're not enthused about having to deal with that comparison, a vertical fence would be better for you.
That being said, not everyone considers horizontal fences to be faddish. Many think they're modern, clean, and neat, and that the fences avoid reminding people of sprawling suburbia (even if the lot itself is actually in the suburbs). The horizontal planks do tend to give the house an urban edge, visually. If you prefer to have a home that has a modern look, horizontal fences work quite well.
Of course, if you're buying an older home, such as a Craftsman-style home, a modern fence could clash. A vertical picket fence would be more appropriate for a Craftsman, for example. Having a fence that complements a house instead of clashing with it helps preserve the home's curb appeal and value. If you think you're going to sell this house eventually, get the style of fence that best goes with the house (and that does mean that if you have a very modern house, a horizontal fence might be better).
If you'd like to see styles of horizontal and vertical fences, contact a fence contractor now. Cedar fences, especially, are available in both styles, and you can see how the fences might look when placed on your property.