There are both benefits and potential drawbacks to building a gabion retaining wall. Learn more to determine if adding one will help your home's landscaping.
Gabion walls offer many home landscaping possibilities: they can serve as budget-friendly retaining walls, enhance the natural beauty of your home, or even serve as a privacy fence. Rather than being built with large stones or bricks, gabion walls are constructed by filling large baskets or cages with loose gravel, rocks, or other heavy materials.
While there are benefits to building a gabion wall on your property, there are also some potential drawbacks to consider before making any final decisions. To determine if this landscape feature is right for you, read on to learn more about gabion walls.
Gabion walls offer a variety of advantages that can make them attractive for landscaping, construction, and other uses. These are some of the main reasons for building gabions.
Gabion walls are relatively simple in construction, have short walls, and do not require heavy equipment. Building gabion walls is much easier than trying to build a dry stone retaining wall, especially if you have limited construction experience.
Over time, water, settlement, or other factors can cause standard brick, stone, or concrete retaining walls to crack. Also, instead of a solid base, gabion walls use flexible wire baskets. This design prevents the wall from cracking and keeps the structure flexible and strong.
Gabion walls are much less expensive than building retaining walls with piles of stone, bricks, pavers, or concrete. Wire baskets are not expensive, and you can choose the right fill material for your budget, including construction leftovers, bricks, or stones.
Gabion walls can be constructed using mostly recycled or discarded materials. This makes them a more sustainable and environmentally friendly option than other types of retaining walls or garden bed walls, whose materials require a higher level of CO2 emissions to produce.
Gabion baskets and the filler materials needed to build gabion walls are easier to transport than larger stones and bricks. Even after building a gabion wall, you can later disassemble it and easily move it to a new location in your yard (or elsewhere).
You can build gabions without having to worry about drainage. Porous gabion retaining walls are designed to allow water to drip and prevent your yard from becoming over-saturated.
Rock is the most typical filler due to its durability, longevity, and stability. Often infill is chosen because of its aesthetic properties or as something that can be recycled from the site. Some considerations depend on the use of the wall. For retaining walls, the rock must be dense enough to support the load. Hard rock such as basalt is typical.
Note: If you are building a retaining wall, have a landscape architect or engineer determine the loads and stresses and other factors.
Gabion walls can come with a warning label: possible animal habitat. Gabions can be a good hiding place for small animals. They are good for wildlife habitat, but the people who live there also need to accept them.
Absolutely. Gabions can be reinvented for many gardens using benches, outdoor fire surrounds, fence foundations, pond surrounds, planters, and even posts for faucets.
Note: Whenever a gabion structure is used for fencing or screening, it requires the stiffness of the surrounding frame.
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