What are Gabions?

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You’ve probably seen plenty of gabions before, but not realized what these nifty structures were.

By definition, a gabion is a welded wire cage or box that’s filled with materials like concrete, stone, sand or soil. With the earliest gabions coming into existence around 7000 years ago, these tried and tested cages have been used for everything from military forts to geographical control.


What are the advantages of gabions?

There are many advantages to using gabion baskets which we’ve briefly discussed below! Aside from the main advantage (their affordable price point!) the reason below are other notable advantages to using gabions in gardening and landscaping, etc.

The first major advantage point of gabions, is their ease of handling and how easy they are to transport. Because gabions are usually transported as ‘separate parts’ you can transport them in different journeys – and assemble them at the desired location.

Another big reason why gabions are so popular, is the speed of construction and how quickly they can be erected. This gives construction companies flexibility, and also means projects can be completed quickly and promptly.

Some of the finaly advantages of gabions we’ll discuss here are the flexibility gabions offer for movement and location-changes, and also their permeability to water (gabions offer really good good drainage in wet weather).

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What are the disadvantages of gabions?

Though there are many advantages to installing gabions, some have criticized them as being unsightly or unattractive. Though this is entirely down to personal preference, gabions may not suit the aesthetic that you are after for your landscaping venture. 

In addition to this, the wire baskets that are used for these gabions may make them more subject to abrasive damage should they be in areas of high velocity flow. If gabions are being used to retain large volumes of water, they may not be the most economical choice. In this vain, should you be wishing to cut corners financially, they may not be the best choice. As they are more expensive than vegetated slopes or alternative methods of retention, they may not be the best option for your project. 

Are gabions cheap?

Gabions can certainly be cost-effective if well-planned. If you are not creating giant structures, they are a long-wearing solution to numerous landscaping problems. However, depending on how much steel and filler material you need to source, they can become expensive. 

In addition to this, it’s possible that you may need to employ professional help to construct your gabion. Therefore, it’s certainly worth weighing up the long-term costs and benefits to gabions, as it really does depend on your individual project needs. 

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What size gabion do I need?

In general, a 3mm wire gabion basket is the standard thickness for gabions up to 3m in height. For architectural projects, 4mm cladding should be used to give the best possible look. Gabions can be cut on site to achieve your required dimensions, and depending on your project, the size that you may require could vary. As manufacturers create gabion baskets of numerous sizes, the minimum size tends to be twelve inches, so be sure to take accurate measurements to determine the size you require.

If you’re creating mini gabions for decorative use, you may only need 300x300x300mm mini gabions. However, if you’re looking for erosion protection for riverbeds, you may need large 2m x 3m x 0.5m gabion mattresses. 

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What do you fill a gabion with?

Traditionally, gabions are filled with readily available stone and rubble. As time has gone on, gabions have allowed more carefully selected fillings to become available. Though stones or rocks tend to be the most popular filler material, the choice of which material is best suited depends on the intended purpose of the finished construction. If you wish to create a look akin to traditional walls, you may wish to fill your gabion with identical stones laid flat to create a tight-knit appearance.

Fillings for gabions are not strict by any means, but sturdy, supportive materials should be at the top of the list for a successful, hardy structure. 

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What is the purpose of a gabion?

Playing important roles in gardening, construction and the prevention of erosion, gabions are usually used for retention or environmental control. Often used to protect slopes and streambanks from the natural effects of flowing water, gabions help to bolster river channels and divert flow away from weaker, eroding channel areas.

In more domestic settings, gabions can be used as retaining walls or aesthetic pieces. Artistic gabions can be displayed to accent outdoor spaces or used to pocket plant life. Other domestic uses include seating walls and encasing fireplaces. 

Overall, they’re truly multi-faceted structures that offer great peace of mind.

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