This was a little experiment we tried out two summers ago called "Landscaping for Less" or "Mow What You Wish You Could Afford." Basically, we just let the lawn grow long where we thought we'd like to have beds and it looked pretty cool for a while and mowing time was cut in half. The kids loved it and would run around in the tall grass and play hide and seek, but eventually, we cut it all down at the end of the season.
This is the fence we ended up building around our yard, It's more of a good neighbor fence than a privacy fence, but since we were the only ones on the block to put a fence up, we felt we had to go that way. We designed it and built it ourselves, but it didn't turn out too bad for our first fence. The fence has the horizontal runners on both sides of the fence so it has a great finished look on either side and we liked the vertical boards extending below the bottom runner, but not all the way to the ground.