Gabions are also known as stone baskets, bulk baskets, brick baskets or wire gravel boxes. These are wire baskets filled with stones that can be used in a variety of ways. Gabions can be used to stabilize banks, embankments, as privacy and noise protection walls, as retaining walls and even as decorative objects in the garden. As a garden owner, you can choose between factory-filled gabions and baskets that you fill yourself. A distinction is also made between bulk baskets and brick baskets. With bulk baskets, the stones are only poured in, with brick baskets you can blind the sides. Suitable filling materials are granite, balsalt, quartzite, dolomite, limestone and river pebbles.
Table of Contents
Garden design ideas
Gabions can be used in many ways in the garden. They are particularly well suited for modern gardens, suitable for very unusual houses built with a lot of glass and metal and for white houses. If you have the courage to use colour, you can fill gabions with colored stones, which is definitely a real eye-catcher in the garden.
- Gabions are ideal as privacy and noise protection walls. Layers with lava rock are ideal for noise protection.
- Gabions can be planted, so they no longer appear cool. The clean lines disappear. So you can use the wire baskets even for cottage gardens. You can also let them climb from climbing plants. These find a good hold on the wire baskets and soon overgrow everything.
- As an architectural element, gabions can be used anywhere. Soil-filled wire baskets are also ideal. The “meshes” are of course smaller there.
- If you want to build a higher wall of gabions, it is much better to lay a foundation. Compacted gravel is ideal.
- The wire mesh baskets are well suited as a border for raised beds. Quite narrow baskets are sufficient for this.
- Even seats and tables can be designed with gabions. You should put cushions on the benches and maybe a platter on the table, but anything is possible. Fine-meshed grids can also be used without a panel.
- Incidentally, gabions serve as a habitat or nesting place for many reptiles and amphibians such as lizards, small mammals, insects and birds. Edible dormouse and other small vertebrates like to spend the winter in the gaps.
- Gabions can even be used in facade construction as wall cladding.
- Anyone who has to secure a difficult slope in the garden is well advised to use the variable baskets.
- It is important to note that the filling material is frost-proof!
Slope reinforcement and fence replacement
Gabions are ideal for slope reinforcement and as a fence replacement. It is important for use that they provide natural drainage. The water permeability is enormous. In this way, no pressure build-up due to moisture can take place behind the “wall”. Everything is transparent. The gabions are ideally suited for securing earthen walls and dam constructions.
- Gabions are ideal for slope reinforcement. The walls offer a high level of stability, flexibility and tensile strength, especially when exposed to the forces of nature. They are also resistant and have a certain elasticity, so that there is no loss of stability.
- Gabion retaining walls are heavy-duty structures, but require a particularly stable frame.
- If no static load is to be expected, the gabions usually do not require a foundation. Stability must be guaranteed!
- A concrete foundation must be laid above a certain weight, size or static load!
- Planted gabions offer the additional advantage that their roots increase the strength
- extra stability for the slope
- In difficult circumstances, you should refrain from building your own and consult a specialist so that the slope reinforcement is properly applied.
- A fence made of gabions can be created in many different ways. In any case, the height is very variable.
- Of course you can simply place the gabion baskets next to each other and have a continuous fence, similar to a natural stone wall, only in a modern design.
- Another nice idea is to use only the posts as gabions and to put a matching fence between them, made of wire elements. These can be left overgrown, either with climbing plants or with espalier fruit. Both look very natural.
- If you need a really high noise or privacy fence, you must of course use correspondingly high gabion baskets. A stable foundation is also usually required, which provides support and protects the heavy baskets from sinking.
- Particularly high and at the same time narrow gabion walls require supports such as metal posts set in concrete, otherwise they can tip over quite easily.
Cost of wire baskets & stones
Of course, the prices for gabions depend on their size. The standard size is 1010 x 262 mm. The mesh baskets are variable in height. The smallest are only 500 mm long. Most manufacturers also offer special sizes. Common mesh sizes are 100 x 100 mm or 50 x 100 mm. In principle, however, there are more options, even if you may have to search a little longer for a supplier. The material thickness of the wire is 4 to 5 mm on average. Then it is also important whether the baskets are galvanized or galvanized. Finally, the gabions must be filled. Of course, these fillings also have their price. Natural materials look best, i.e. granite or sandstone. You can also use pebbles, as well as broken glass, clinker or wood. In the case of deep gabions, for reasons of cost it is advisable to fill only the viewing sides with high-quality materials. Inside you can use the cheapest ones, they are invisible.
A distinction is made between gabions that are delivered filled and those that you have to fill yourself. For the latter, gabions and filling material are delivered separately.
- An unfilled gabion intended as a raised bed, or a kit, external dimensions 150 x 150 x 50 cm, internal dimensions 100 x 100 x 50 cm, costs about 50 euros empty.
- A kit for a gabion fence, 250 x 23 x 60 cm with 2 posts costs about 250 euros.
- A kit of the same dimensions but 200 cm high costs around 600 euros.
- Gabions are often cheaper in hardware stores.
- A gabion 100 x 100 x 50 cm filled with broken marble costs around 250 euros.
- Quarry stones for filling cost about 2 euros for 20 kg. For that you get Basalt, Greywacke, Yellow Sun, Tournai and German Limestone.
- Lava Krotzen cost a good one euro more per 20 kg.
- Moraine boulders, which I think look the best, cost about 2.40 euros per 20 kg.
- During my research, I came across many positive testimonials, in which the company MAYKO appeared again and again. However, I can’t find anything recent about them. If you want to try it: www.mayko.de/index.htm
Build gabions yourself – instructions
You can buy the wire mesh baskets in stores. You can build it yourself, at least for smaller baskets. However, it is not necessary, because you can get a wide variety of sizes and shapes. If you have special requests, you can usually have them implemented. Do-it-yourself is about filling the baskets and planning the design. If you build it yourself, you should make sure that the welding is done correctly and that the baskets are coated so that they cannot rust.
- It is best to first make a sketch of the planned object, on which the dimensions are also entered.
- If you have the dimensions, you can look for suitable gabion baskets at the dealer or on the Internet.
- Baskets and filling material can usually be ordered separately.
- You can build the gabions yourself if they are unfilled, of course.
- Create a foundation beforehand for large and heavy baskets
- Now fill the gabions, distributing the filling evenly
- You can build small gabions yourself
Maintenance and Care
Gabions are often recommended because they are completely maintenance free. If the right materials were used, that’s true too. In the case of self-made or poorly processed gabions, the baskets can rust and become porous over time. Normally this shouldn’t happen. It is important to pay attention to quality when buying. It’s better to pay a few euros more, but enjoy it for longer.
In general, the gabions do not have to be maintained.
Rain washes them clean again and again if they should ever get dirty.
Gabions can be delivered filled or you can fill them yourself. Large and heavy gabions need a foundation for a long-lasting, firm stand, otherwise the wire mesh baskets are easy to set up. You should pay attention to the large price differences. In most cases, it is worth obtaining several price offers. You can also look for gabions while walking in the area and ask their owners where they bought them and what their experiences were. Today nobody has anything to give away and it doesn’t hurt to ask.