Design Trend – Setback Bays

  • 4 minutes
  • 10 September 2020

This month’s featured design trend focuses on how to create additional functional spaces in your fence design! Behold, the power of setback bays…

What is a setback bay?

With fencing, a bay is a common term for the section of fence between posts. Therefore, a setback bay is a bay that has been ‘set back’ to create visual depth and interest…as well as creating a functional ‘nook’ in your fence design!

Sometimes, they are also a council requirement for front walls or corner blocks; they are sometimes called a truncation. Truncated walls are especially common for arterial roads within residential developments.

Which brings up another important point; setback bays work best for front boundaries or corner blocks, unless you have a super great neighbour!

How can I use setback bays?

So, what to do with this gift of space? Check out our most popular ideas below!

Architectural gardens

Gardens are by far the most popular use of a setback bay. Grow a modern veggie patch in your backyard or plant a striking architectural garden along your front wall to boost your street appeal!

Architectural Gardens - Setback Bays - Fence Design Trends | ModularWalls

Water feature

Make splash with a dedicated water fountain area! The surrounding vegetation can be artfully chosen to harmonise with the style of water feature; for instance, structured topiary balls work well with classical water fountains. Alternatively, reeds or textured grasses look great against contemporary water dishes and reflection pools.

Water Feature - Setback Bays - Fence Design Trends | ModularWalls

Sculptures or outdoor art

In a similar vein, an outdoor sculpture can create a dramatic focal point against its very own shadow box. For added interest, finish the walls of the nook in a different colour or material to the rest of the modular fence to create a striking canvas for your masterpiece!

Outdoor Sculpture - Setback Bays - Fence Design Trends | ModularWalls

Outdoor seating or day beds

Creating a cosy corner to read, chat or meditate by installing bench seating into your setback bay. For an extra luxe- space, build a deeper setback and create a custom outdoor daybed to sprawl across!

Built-In Outdoor Seating - Setback Bays - Fence Design Trends | ModularWalls

Play area

Have little ones running around? Carve out a custom play space for their imagination to run wild in! From sand pits and cubby houses, to activity walls and mud kitchens, you can create a kid’s wonderland.

Play Area - Setback Bays - Fence Design Trends | ModularWalls

Pet habitats

Rabbit hutches, aviaries, dog houses, ponds, chicken pens, obstacles courses and leaping platforms; children aren’t the only little ones that deserve a special little space.

Setback bays offer the perfect opportunity to create custom habitats for furry, feathered or scaled members of the family!

Pet Area - Setback Bays - Fence Design Trends | ModularWalls

Breakfast nook

With our days getting increasingly busier, breakfast has become a ritual to ground ourselves and align our energies for the day to come. Enjoy your first cuppa in a place of serenity and calm in your very own garden-adjacent breakfast nook…or easily transform it into a romantic booth for a moonlit dinner!

Breakfast Nook - Setback Bays - Fence Design Trends | ModularWalls

Outdoor fireplace

Protected from the wind, these spaces are the perfect environment for a cosy night in front of the fire. Add some bench seating, cushions and a marshmallow or three and you have yourself a roarin’ good time.

Outdoor Fire Pit Area - Setback Bays - Fence Design Trends | ModularWalls

Wheelie bin storage

Who doesn’t love clever storage? By installing a modular gate as the back section of your setback bay, you can easily wheel your bins to the curb, lock them away for security and screen them from view in your backyard with tall, thick foliage. Win, win, win!

Wheelie Bin Storage - Setback Bays - Fence Design Trends | ModularWalls

Shed or workshop

Sheds, workshops, Man Caves; whatever you call them, they can be a bulky item to fit into your outdoor area. By setting it into your fence line, you can create a cleaner backyard layout…without having to sacrifice much needed storage or working space!

Outdoor Shed Area - Setback Bays - Fence Design Trends | ModularWalls

How can I add a setback bay into my fence design?

Very simply! Due to the modular nature of our walls,  it naturally sections into bays. By creating a corner post out of a mid-post, you can effortlessly add in the setback section.

Our usual bay lengths are around 2.4m, which tends to be a great length for most uses. For larger nooks, you may want to make use of a 3m panel, or even combine two standard bays for an extra-large 5m length!

Then, it’s just a matter of trimming your panels and capping channels to create the desired depth of your setback bays, as pictured below:

How To Build Setback Bays In Your Fencing | ModularWalls

Life’s too short for boring fences; read our guide on feature fencing and start designing your new outdoor oasis!