Have you ever heard of gabion baskets or a gabion wall? Maybe not heard of them, but seen them. We frequently see garden gabion structures used in commercial and industrial landscaping to build retaining walls and create a very interesting and artistic look in a very sturdy and practical application.
The term “gabion” comes from the Italian word “gabbione”, which means “big cage”. This “cage” or gabion basket uses metal mesh to create a big basket. A gabion wire faced wall, fence or basket holds some interesting and useful landscaping material such as:
Intention usually determines the choice of landscaping materials put inside gabion cages. If building a sturdy and practical retention wall, you will no doubt use rocks, pebbles or broken bricks or old concrete from other projects.
However, uses of gabion structures can be for strictly artistic landscape purposes. When used for artistic purposes, the only limits comes down to your imagination is your only limit in what goes inside your basket. Watch the video below for a demonstration on how to make your own gabion baskets.
Take Care When Building Industrial-Type Gabion Structures
In residential use, architects have become extremely artistic and using gabion fences for the purpose of adding a bit of flair and creativity. You can easily follow their example by creating gabion fencing and gabion works of art for your yard and garden.
Fill gabion baskets with any type of durable material you can shape into a retaining wall or fence. Or used in civil works application for the purpose of erosion control, soil retention and good drainage.
Keep in mind that when planning to use gabion baskets for large structures such as fences, you may need to consult a structural engineer and/or an architect. If installed improperly, the weight alone of Gabion fencing can make it potentially dangerous.
When planning your project, begin with good research. If you’re using gabion baskets for practical purposes such as soil reinforcement, security, shading, safety and/or privacy make sure the application is practical and your installation is safe.
Keep in mind that gabion fencing does not suited every purpose. For example, using gabion fencing to create a swimming pool barrier, would be a poor choice. It would not provide the safety necessary for a swimming pool fence.
Materials Used For Gabion Fencing?
For lighter and more artistic applications, you can use fairly wide spaced light welded mesh. When building a gabion retaining wall or other structures requiring strength you would use a sheet steel wire mesh with a heavier wire diameter.
Use any type of stone you wish. However, keep these in mind when choosing. If you use large stones, filling your baskets will take extra time and arduous. Large stones require individual placement, and can be rather difficult.
By choosing a finer welded wire mesh for the basket you can simply pour smaller stones in. This makes it quicker and easier. Smaller stones can save time on do-it-yourself projects and money if hiring a contractor.
When planning the height of your project, consider both your own requirements and any building restrictions that may be in place in your neighborhood and/or your town. Know the restrictions:
How far must to set a boundary fence from the street and the allowed height. You want to avoid undoing a heavy, stone-filled gabion basket fence due to compliance issues..
If so, you need to plan ahead the proper locations for the wiring and plumbing within the fence. You don’t want to undo something after the fact.
Steps Taken To Build Gabion Baskets
As with any landscaping project, begin by preparing the ground. Mark off the area you intend to use precisely and be sure to clear all grass, weeds, stones and other objects that might make the foundation uneven.
Level it completely so work proceeds unhampered. Having a completely clean, level working surface will make aligning and filling baskets easier.
Lay reinforced concrete strip footings. Make footing about 16“ wide by 16“ deep. Be sure to check local ordinances to determine the exact sizes and dimensions acceptable in your area.
A Gabion fence requires solid concrete footings to provide support that absorbs both lateral and vertical loads.
On top of the concrete footing, install steel reinforcements horizontally and steel columns to help hold up a large structure.
If building a structure taller then it wide need to include strong lateral support. You don’t want a toppled gabion fence. Even if the structure does not fall over, an unsupported structure taller than it is wide tends to balloon and look unsightly.
If your fence will be tall, engage the services of an engineer, building designer or an architect. The placement of lateral support is extremely important in a tall gabion structure. For maximum safety and good looks, consult a pro when in doubt.
Gabion Construction – Fill UpThe Basket!
Once you have supports in place, set up your gabion baskets and begin filling your fence. Focus on creating a very classic and ordered look. Remember, if you use large stones, this will take quite a bit of time as you’ll need to pay close attention to individual placement.
For ease of installation and a uniform, classic appearance, its strongly advised for these “cages filled with rocks” to use smaller stones you can backfill by simply pouring in. They naturally gravitate to a uniform placement that look good year after year.
Once you’ve installed your fence, grab a cool drink and hose down your new creation. This may seem a little strange, but your freshly built basket fence will likely be rather dusty.
Hose it down thoroughly, and you’ll be delightfully surprised by how good you feel looking at your newly built, newly washed gabion basket fence.
Examples Of Gabion Walls Used In The Landscape
One of the beautiful features of these structures is ease of construction and they don’t require constant maintenance. Scroll down and choose which design strikes your tastes buds and start creating.
#1 Attractive Gabion Wall Design
In this gabion wall design, the wall is not only colorful, but also add to the serenity of the environment. This wall is very inviting, and most passing by would definitely give it a second look.
#2 Gabion BBQ or Just Decoration?
This gabion design looks like a BBQ but we’re are not sure. However, it is an attractive addition to the patio and shows some of the possibilities.
#3 A Gabion Pond?
These white rocks are beautiful and add textured element to the background flooring. The pure white stones in the galvanized steel wire mesh and small “pond” make a good match and a serene view. Make sure to place it in a visible place and turn the gabion pond into a focal point.
#4 Lighted Gabion Seating
This gabion basket provides an entertaining scene and a sitting position as well. To further enhance the beauty and usefulness of this creation, outdoor lighting is placed on different location of the gabion. The light also provides a nice color palette which matches the overall features. The pleasant atmosphere here will invite visitors outside for fresh air.
#5 Gabion Address Sign
The gabion structure adds detail to the environment and helps bring about more attention to the numbers. If you are looking for this address, you will have no problem finding it with ease or style.
#6 Gabion Wall With Visual Impact
This gabion wall helps changes the definition and feeling. The collection of rocks adds to the color of the environment. If you want to enhance the structural, architectural, and aesthetic look to your front garden, consider this design.
#7 Two Toned Colored Gabion Wall
Looking closely at this picture, you can see the skill of a landscaping professional at work. The gabion stones used in making this gabion basket are carefully selected and placed at appropriate places to form a beautiful platform. This does not require a special labor skill, it definitely needs that artistic touch to arrive at the final product gracefully.
#8 Gabion Retaining Wall
The designer lays down rocks in the constructed gabion wire frame. When is finished, it adds beauty of the surrounding landscape, but also serves as a retaining wall and seat for those who want to have stop for a rest.
#9 Gabion Wall With Unique Design Elements
Some designers vary the materials used to provide an aesthetically pleasing wall. Compare this to a single solid mass, you will see that it is more visually appealing because of the variety. The stones used are of different colors and surrounding them are wood carved in different forms to provide further definition to the whole structure.
#10 The Gabion Fence
This structure shows gabion basket coupled with a wooden screen that is constructed from what appears as bamboo. This is more about leaving space for air passage than for visual appeal.
#11 A Wood Gabion Wall
Who said gabion walls can only be constructed with stone and wire? The wood logs used vary in size with no special arrangement along with some double twist wires for more detail.
#12 The Gabion Mailbox
This gabion mailbox is a definite eye catcher even with the heavy weld wire. However, its function extends far beyond physical attraction.
#13 Unique Gabion Pedestal Planter
A beautiful pedestal planter constructed using a gabion basket of heavy welded material. Not sure but watering the plants looks like it could be a challenge!
#14 Gabion Retaining Planter
Here, we are greeted with a big, round, gabion basket planter with a beautiful plant inlay. Although there is nothing so special here, it gives a new and exciting experience for first time visitors.
#15 Square Gabion Planter
This decorative gabion box planter with a small flower tree is the only thing you need to bring a boring-looking environment to life. Add another with each one symmetrically placed on either side of the entrance.
#16 Eye Catching Gabion Fence
This gabion fence perfectly matches the texture of the environment. Why this looks so appealing, would definitely take some creativity and effort. Once completed – like the picture – it becomes a physically appealing structure, thanks to its grandeur.
#17 Gabion Waterfall
Gabions have gone beyond the object of ordinary. This gabion design adds the element of water, which always makes a pleasant addition to the garden.
#18 Small But Impactful Gabion
Even though this gabion feature is small in might, it is actually great in its visual appeal. It is unlike a typical gabion basket, and is born out of creativity and inquisitiveness.
#19 Gabion On The Golf Course
When you are building your gabion wall, don’t think in terms of stone only. Always think of other materials you can add in your feature as well. With more materials, you can easily enhance the texture, color, and appeal of the project as with this gabion striation on the golf course.
While it is interesting to variety of the materials used in your project, using the same material overall will make things unique, uniform and welcoming. And if you are using it for commercial purposes, then you use the uniformity more like it is adopted in the picture below.
Gabion structures, walls, fences, planters and overall unqiue designs bring new opportunities to the landscape with a modern yet old world charm.