There are many hardscape elements that can be added to a landscape design that is both attractive and functional. An example of this is the gabion wall. Gabion walls can be used in the landscape as retaining walls, decorative site walls, seating walls, decorative walls and more.
Gabion walls are well suited for mid-century modern designs because they tend to be more linear in shape. The use of this hardscape structure has increased over the past few years, and if you're considering it for your next landscaping project, you should know this.
Derived from the Italian word for "cage", gabions are wire containers that can hold any inorganic material. They can form flexible, permeable structures that work well to stabilize shorelines against erosion.
Originally these cages were made of wicker and were commonly used for civil engineering and military purposes.
A gabion should not be confused with a fortress, which is a gabion usually lined with a geotextile that allows it to be filled with granular soil fill, rather than rock.
Gabion baskets work by containing filler material. This is accomplished by making the mesh strong enough to contain the filler material. The seams are joined in such a way as to ensure that they are strong enough to contain the material while maintaining structural integrity. The baskets are also separated by internal diaphragm panels so that the cells do not exceed 3 feet in length without reinforcement.
The baskets should also be reinforced with tie wire to help keep the face from bulging and in some cases corner stiffeners can be used to help keep the baskets square by attaching each panel to the panel next to it so that when you look down in the cell of the basket there is a diamond shape in the cell.
Gabion baskets come in many different sizes, in rectangular or cubic boxes. Traditional baskets made of stranded wire mesh range in size from 3 to 12 feet long, 3 to 4 1/2 feet wide and 1 to 3 feet high.
The size you want depends on how large an area you need them in. Of course, you can get custom sizes as needed, but they will cost you more.
Gabion baskets can be used for a variety of structures, from gravity and MSE retaining walls to landscape elements, fencing and architectural finishes or cladding. Gabions are an attractive and versatile building element because cages can be constructed in a variety of sizes and finishes and filled with on-site recycled stone, concrete or brick, or a variety of other natural and man-made fill materials, including limestone, basalt, granite, and recycled glass rock.
Because gabion baskets are made of highly galvanized steel mesh cages, they are highly resistant to atmospheric corrosion, making them strong and durable structures. They are satisfactorily strong and can withstand large amounts of flooding, heavy rainfall and earth pressure, and can last anywhere from 10 to 100 years depending on the strength of the materials used and the skill of the builder.
Gabion baskets are particularly suited to the natural environment and can be used with vegetation and silt, ensuring their location and providing a longer service life. While airborne salt and pollution can reduce the performance of gabion baskets, this effect should be minimized as long as your structure is adequately galvanized.
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