Gabions – reliable protection and excellent site decor

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Gabions are becoming extremely popular in landscaping. These easy-to-manufacture structures are attractive in appearance and excellent in functionality. Consider the types of gabions, the features of their independent manufacture and the idea of ​​using structures in garden plots.


What are gabions

A relatively new phenomenon for Russia, gabions, has been around for about 200 years. The name of these structures comes from Italian, where the word gabbione means “big cage”. By and large, this is so, because gabions are bulk containers of various sizes and shapes. Devices are made of metal wire, forming a strong frame, which is filled with natural or decorative stone. Structures are used to create protective anti-erosion and anti-landslide structures, small architectural forms for landscape design and various retaining walls.

There are many types of systems, but the most common types of gabions are:

1. Box-shaped. They are structures made in the form of a cube or parallelepiped. The height of such containers varies from 0.5 to 1 m, the width is from 1 to 2 m and the length is from 2 to 6 m. Box systems can be used not only as decoration, but also as retaining walls for securing the ground or as a foundation for light structures.


2. Mattress-mattress or Reno mattresses. The systems are similar to box-like systems, but lower and wider. They resemble a mattress in appearance. Usually used for arranging the bottom of artificial reservoirs and for strengthening slopes or slopes.


3. Cylindrical. Cylinder-shaped containers. They perfectly mask protruding elements of homestead buildings, can be used to equip low fences, flower beds, etc..


Gabions of various types are perfectly combined with each other, which makes it possible to create magnificent decorative and at the same time functional designs. Their advantages include:

  1. Flexibility. Systems are capable of withstanding external loads without rupture. They absorb a large amount of precipitation and do not collapse, which is especially important for the so-called erosion zones and unstable soils..
  2. Strength. For the manufacture of the frame of gabions, a double twist mesh made of galvanized or PVC coated wire is used. The system can withstand loads of up to 5000 kg / m, which makes it particularly robust.
  3. Durability. Due to their flexibility during operation, the structures are not subject to destruction and cracking. Structures can easily tolerate soil settlement. In addition, over time, the consolidation of the system and the soil adjacent to it occurs, which significantly increases its stability and strength..
  4. Permeability. Structures are well permeable to groundwater, which allows not to equip an additional drainage system.
  5. Environmental friendliness. Gabions are made of environmentally friendly materials, therefore they are absolutely safe for the environment.
  6. Attractive appearance. Great for creating various landscape forms. Boxes can be filled with fillers of various textures, sizes and colors, which opens up wide possibilities for decoration.

A wide range of gabions can be found on sale. Their cost varies greatly depending on the type, size, wire coating, filler, etc. For example, let’s take the prices for box structures. A structure with dimensions 1×1.5×0.5, made of galvanized wire, will cost about 800 rubles. The same system, but made of Galfan coated wire, will cost 900 rubles, but if it is a PVC coating for the wire, the cost increases to 1200 rubles.

DIY gabions

Gabions are fairly simple designs, so many decide to make them on their own. It is not difficult, you just need to pay attention to some points:

  1. Decide on the purpose and shape of the structure. Choose the right place for her.
  2. Prepare the base. Gabion is a massive system. It is best to install it in an area with dense soil or even on a shallow foundation. To do this, it will be enough to remove the top layer 10–15 cm high from the soil and lay a sand cushion. Then you should spill it with water, tamp it well and put a layer of rubble on top.
  3. We prepare the required amount of a strong mesh-netting, the size of its cells should be less than the size of the filler. It is best to choose galvanized or PVC coated, since the unprotected wire will quickly lose its properties and the gabion will collapse. For work, you will also need flexible galvanized wire for attaching the mesh to the frame rods and reinforcing bars or bar iron with a diameter of 6 to 8 mm. The material will be used to create the frame and stiffeners of the future structure.
  4. Choosing a filler. It can be various rubble, pebbles or boulders of any color and size. To create gabions, it is best to choose a stone that is not flat. It can be sloping, rectangular, round, or ragged. The material must be frost-resistant and durable. The optimal size of the elements is from 70 to 400 mm. If granite is chosen as a filler, its radioactive background should be checked, since it is often elevated, which is unsafe for others.
  5. We carry out the frame. A structure of the desired shape and size is welded from short and long reinforcing rods. It should have a lattice shape. In this case, the size of the cells should be smaller than the size of the filler. Thus, stones will not fall out of the gabion and will not be able to exert additional unwanted pressure on the mesh. If it is planned to create a long structure, additional partitions must be performed in it, reinforcing the structure.
  6. We place the frame on the prepared place and fix it.
  7. We put the filler. The stones are laid out by the piece. The most beautiful and largest are usually placed at the side walls and at the bottom. The least attractive specimens or even construction waste are placed in the middle. In this case, it is best to separate the layers with geotextiles. After filling, the frame is necessarily tied on all sides with a prepared mesh-netting, fixing it with wire on reinforcing rods.


Thus, you can make gabions of any shape. Depending on the aggressiveness of the external environment, the service life of the netting will be about 10 years. During this period, the filler becomes denser, and its presence ceases to play a decisive role. Nevertheless, in order to maintain an attractive appearance of the structure, it is necessary to timely replace the worn-out mesh with a new one..

Ideas for using structures on the site

Gabions give a wide scope for creativity. Here are some ideas for using structures in your backyard..


An angled platform is inconvenient. It can be straightened with gabions. The resulting terrace can be single or multi-stage. The structure can be used as a basis for garden planting or for ornamental plants. Another plus of using gabions is their permeability to water, which will help remove excess moisture, which is detrimental to the root system of plants..


Water bodies

Constructions are indispensable for creating artificial reservoirs of various sizes. Reno’s box structures and mattresses will help strengthen the banks and seabed. The form of the reservoir can be any. Gabions, distinguished by their attractive appearance, will be an excellent decor for the structure, creating a beautiful bottom and coast. In addition, such a reservoir is able to significantly improve the drainage system of the site if there is excess moisture on the territory..


Decorative retaining walls

Retaining walls are often used to decorate a garden plot. They look especially good if made of gabions. In this case, you can use a variety of fillers, including multi-colored ones. Small areas lined with special glass elements look very good. Additionally, plants growing from the wall or planted in pots will help to decorate the structure. Various elements can be attached to the structure, for example, awnings or arches. Thus, you can get summer gazebos of various configurations or other similar structures..


Fences and fences

Gabions are almost ideal for creating a variety of enclosing structures. Their size and shape can be very different. The filler for the structure is chosen depending on the design of the landscape and can be either homogeneous or varied. Structures from wide or narrow stripes that differ from each other in color, configuration and texture look good. It is also possible to decorate the fence with plants, and they can grow directly from the stone filler.


Small architectural forms

A large number of different items can be made from gabions, which will be both beautiful and functional. Braziers, fireplaces are laid out from containers filled with heat-resistant stones, and barbecue braziers are equipped with them. An excellent solution for arranging a recreation area would be a table with benches or stools made of gabions. The shape of the structures can be very different, and it is good to use thick tempered glass or a stone slab as a tabletop..


Another option for using gabions is alpine slides. The structures are completely unlimited in shape and size. Various flower beds, fences for trees and mini-ponds are also good. Containers with stones are not afraid of moisture, so they can be used to equip water sources, wells and even fountains. Small architectural forms made of gabions resonate especially well with the same fences.

Gabions are a practical and inexpensive solution for arranging a garden plot. In addition to being used as a great decor, they make excellent retaining walls and protective anti-landslide structures. Moreover, their cost will be lower than concrete counterparts, and the service life is much longer..

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