What's A Gabion? If You Want A Rock Wall, Here's What You Should Know

Posted on: 13 January 2015

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Gabions are baskets that contain rocks. They are normally rectangular wire mesh "boxes" that are filled with rocks and sewn up with wire so no rocks can escape. They are used as retaining walls, as erosion control along roads and waterways and as garden walls. If you are intrigued by these structures and their uses, here's what you should know about gabions:

Gabions are very effective for erosion control.

Gabions have been used since ancient times for erosion control. The structure of the basket allows for the free flow of water and air, similar to a stacked stone wall, except that the rocks cannot be tumbled loose by strong currents or mudslides. Gabions are a great way to shore up an eroding slope without using a lot of heavy equipment. The baskets can be battered, or sloped up the hill, to provide stability. They are an attractive solution to erosion problems.

Gabions make great stone walls.

Because there is no mortar involved, gabion walls are lower in cost than standard stone walls. There aren't any high level skills involved in creating one. The installers do need to know how to correctly fill the baskets and wire them shut, but there is nowhere near the expense or time involved in hiring a professional mason. They can be erected quickly, and they can be topped with concrete slabs to make a very attractive garden wall.

Gabions provide an excellent habitat for small wildlife.

Like the old stacked stone walls in New Hampshire, gabions allow small creatures to find shelter, store food and escape from predators. Chipmunks often use stacked stone to hide acorns and other nuts. Small mammals often hibernate in the little nooks and crannies. Even bees use stone walls as shelter. Butterflies and birds often sun themselves on the warm rocks. The structures can even be very artistic as they help the small creatures in the area.

Gabions use a variety of materials as fill.

People who want the most attractive wall choose nice-looking stones and rocks to create the gabions. A landscape rock supplier will have stones of various colors and sizes from which to choose. They can also be filled with concrete rubble where aesthetics are not a concern. A landscape stone professional like Woare Builders Supply Co. will know how to source gabions and will direct you to the best stones in your area for walls or other projects.