You have to like a gabion fence. Not everyone likes the stone-filled mesh baskets, although there are quite a few differences in design. What is certain is that they are practical. They can also be set up and filled independently and with almost no help. It is important that you do it right. Anyone who has ever seen crooked and crooked gabion fences while walking knows that it is not quite as easy as it is often made out to be. At least high fences should have a foundation to keep them straight. We have researched for you what else needs to be considered.
Table of Contents
- Gabions are also called stone basket, bulk basket, brick basket or wire gravel box
- They are wire baskets filled with stones.
- These are available in different heights, widths and sizes.
- The wire spacing is also different and so are the filler stones
- Are used in landscape architecture, hydraulic engineering, for dry stone walls
- Great for slope attachment or as an alternative to solid walls
- Various stones are used for filling
- However, these are usually not included when buying gabions
- Purchase additional filling material
- The stones must be frost and pressure resistant.
- Gabions filled with river pebbles look the most natural
- Gabion fences are usually narrow, but higher
Advantages of gabions
Gabions are becoming more and more popular for a reason. They offer numerous advantages, but also a few disadvantages. The most serious is the price. Gabions are quite expensive, although it depends on whether you have a local dealer where you can pick up the baskets yourself. If you also have a quarry within reach and can save so long journeys, you have the opportunity to save something. Still, it won’t be cheap.
- Easy and quick to assemble
- Good to combine
- Can be assembled with conventional tools
- swallow sound
- Provide valuable habitat for insects
- Store solar energy for balmy summer evenings
- The wire mesh cannot be seen from afar
- Cheaper than concrete or stone wall
- Weather influences are irrelevant
- Can even be planted
Build your own gabion fence
There are many different types of gabions. They differ in size, i.e. height, width and depth, and also in mesh size, wire diameter, surface alloy, mounting systems (spiral or clamp) and of course the filling content, i.e. the stones. That’s why you should first decide calmly what kind of fence you want, how high, long and wide it should be, which stones should go in it and what mesh size you need for it.
The cheapest variant of a gabion fence is the one where you buy individual parts and then assemble them yourself on site. There are different ways in which gabions are assembled. The spirals, which are screwed into the lattice mats, are common. Here the connection and support of the individual gabions is almost guaranteed. In addition, the individual mats and gabions can be closed and connected with clips and eyelets.
The gabions themselves
Gabions can be bought in individual parts for self-assembly or already prefabricated. It is often a matter of transport that the parts are only assembled on site. Firstly, it is not difficult, and secondly, the finished gabions are very bulky, especially if you need large and many elements.
Gabions are variable in size. They are available in different heights, widths and lengths, just as you need them and can also be easily combined.
- The basket lengths usually start at 500 mm, then it goes up to 3,000 mm in increments of 500.
- When it comes to height, the selection also starts at just under 500 mm and usually goes up to 2,000 mm in increments of 500, in exceptional cases even higher.
- There are differences between the providers in terms of depth. The narrowest width is 120 to 170 mm. More than 500mm makes little sense with the depth as a gabion fence and that is very wide.
- Wire thickness – from 3.5 mm to 5.5 mm, heavy-duty gabions even more
The mesh size is important for the selection of the stones. If you want to use small stones, you have to use a narrow mesh size, if you use large ones, you can use a larger distance. Common are:
- 50 x 100 mm
- 100 x 100 mm
- 50 x 50 mm
- 50 x 200 mm
The surface of the gabion wires determines their durability. It is important that no matter what thickness is used, it is hot-dip galvanized so that it does not rust so quickly and possibly also rust through. This would ruin the durability of the gabion. Individual suppliers advertise with surface processes specially developed by them, with which the gabions are even more resistant and corrosion-resistant. Whether or not to believe that is up to you. It is good to ask for references and to inquire about the quality of these owners. Of course, it is ideal if the gabion fence has been in place for a few years and is not new.
- Galvanized gabion baskets made of twisted wire are probably the best.
- According to many manufacturers, those made of titanium zinc are particularly recommended, as they cannot rust.
- Only galvanized wires can rust over time and this usually happens quite quickly.
- Many offers include steel wires with a zinc-aluminum coating. This isn’t a bad choice.
- Guarantees often provide information about quality. Long guarantees are recommended. Ideally 10 years and up
The underground – foundation or not?
In any case, the ground must be level and very solid. For walls up to one meter high, no foundation is usually required. Here it is sufficient if the baskets are anchored directly to the ground with poles or ground anchors. A foundation is recommended for all fences over one meter. This prevents the gabions from sinking in over time. Well-compacted gravel is usually sufficient.
- For anchoring in the ground, we recommend screwing posts and beams to drive-in sleeves. These must first be anchored in the ground. The posts are fixed to them.
- Rubble and concrete are also suitable as a substrate.
- From a height of one meter, scaffolding tubes should be installed for stabilization. They are also anchored to the ground.
- A strip foundation, in which the support tubes are embedded in concrete, is a safe bet.
- Alternatively, geofleece mats are also suitable as a foundation. However, there are a few things to take into account for this.
Assemble gabion elements
Depending on where you get the gabions from, the baskets are delivered almost completely assembled or you assemble them yourself on site. That’s not difficult. There are two systems by which gabions can be assembled, one with spirals and one with clips.
- Spiral gabion – here the connecting element is a spiral, which is available with different windings, depending on the needs. A distinction is made between 1, 2 and 3 turns, each on 10 cm. The differences result from the different areas of application. With a simple stone filling, the 1 or 2 spirals are sufficient. The 3 spirals are used for noise protection gabions. The spirals are simply screwed into the grid mats. This has the advantage that the individual elements are connected to the next part over the entire surface.
- Gabions with clamps – here special gabion clamps are used for connection. These are clamped with gabion pliers around the two grid parts to be connected and closed. The connection is not continuous here, but the clamps also hold very well.
- The gabions are completely assembled except for the upper locking part. Fully assembled gabions that are delivered also lack the closure, because they still have to be filled.
- The parts are best laid out in front of you as they individually belong together.
- First a large panel and one side is mounted, then the other side. Now the part can already be set up.
- In the case of low heights, all four sides and the lower surface can be fully assembled. The finished cage is placed over the posts that may be present.
- For parts 2m and larger, it makes sense to leave one of the large sides open and place the cage over the posts. Only then is the cage closed up to the top.
- Connect the individual gabions to each other.
- Align with the spirit level.
- Spacers and tension hooks prevent the gabions from bulging when they are filled with stones. These are particularly important for high fences.
It is important to fill the gabions evenly and without large gaps. With small stones this is quite easy, with large ones it is more complex, because these should be aligned, which means that they have to be stacked by hand. With large and, above all, high gabions, this is quite an effort. There are numerous working hours, depending on how long the wall is.
- Lay down large quarry stones by hand, always with the flat side facing out.
- Always fill as tightly as possible.
- After a third of the height has been filled, install spacer struts (tension anchors), which increase stability.
- Shake it a bit so that the stones slide down and fill small gaps.
- If the baskets are full, they can be closed completely, i.e. put a “lid” on it and close it with spirals or clips.
- Then spray the stones with a high-pressure cleaner or a garden hose, as they are very dusty and dirty when they are delivered. This creates quite a mess.
- Then clean the whole area, because everything is covered with a greasy layer of mushy dirt.
selection of stones
Which stones you use for the filling is a matter of taste, but certainly also dependent on your wallet. It is important that they are frost-resistant and do not rot. Sandstone is not recommended because it weathers. In addition, the stones must be larger than the grid spacing, at least 1.5 times as large. Stones from the region are usually the cheapest, although a price comparison is usually worthwhile. In addition to the building materials trade, filler stones are also available in hardware stores, directly in quarries or from specialist dealers. Granite, basalt, limestone, greywacke, gneiss, river pebbles, andesite and rhyolite are suitable.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does a gabion fence cost?
Gabions are no bargain. There’s usually a lot going on there. You also have to keep an eye on delivery costs, starting with the lattice boxes and ending with the stones. The prices are often very different, a comparison is worthwhile. However, you shouldn’t go by price alone. There are also big differences in quality.
At first glance, the unit prices appear to be quite high. However, they usually sink significantly when several meters come together. In the case of high fences, however, the scaffolding tubes, possibly concrete or gravel, spacers and other things must also be taken into account. It’s lapping. Depending on the length and height of the fence, it often ends up amounting to several thousand euros.
As an example: A kit for a gabion fence, 250 x 23 x 60 cm with 2 posts costs around 250 euros. A kit of the same dimensions but 200 cm high costs around 600 euros. Gabions are often cheaper in hardware stores.
In the case of the stones, you have to calculate 1.8 tons of stones per cubic meter, i.e. around 1,800 kilograms. A kilogram costs about 2 euros, without delivery. A cubic meter corresponds to 5 gabions that are 1 m long, 2 m high and 10 cm deep, so 5 m fence, that’s nothing.
How long is the guarantee for gabions?
This is different for each company. A 3-year warranty is often offered, but it’s short. Many providers write about decades of guarantees on their website, but never mention it specifically. Few really want to commit themselves. You have to ask about this before you buy it. One thing is certain, if one gives a long guarantee, that is an indication of good quality and if not, one can complain. What use is a cheap gabion if I can dispose of it after 2 years because it has rusted through. The guarantee should be at least 10 years and there are manufacturers who offer that.