From the banks of the Nile, where they were built, to today, gabion walls have been beneficial to the landscape. It has been used for thousands of years as a gravity-retaining structure and is an attractive, efficient and inexpensive wall system.
Common gabion basket size 2,0 x 1,0 x 1,0 m. The galvanised mesh has a hexagonal shape with an eye size X x Y = 8,0 x 10,0 cm.
The baskets are stacked and connected with galvanised wire to prevent deformation under the weight of the upper row of gabion mesh. The gravels used as fill must come from natural stone that is resistant to atmospheric influences. The stones are placed near the gabion baskets, by machine or by hand. After filling, the baskets are closed and the mesh is attached with galvanised steel rings.
The gabion baskets are folded up when they arrive at the construction site to take up as little space as possible. After transport, the baskets are unfolded, attached and prepared for positioning.
Gabions are mainly used in road projects, such as the construction of roads, embankments, retaining walls, slopes, water retention, etc. and can have different functions.
- creating a barrier against erosion in coastal and embankment reinforcement
- Preventing sliding and scouring
- Reducing water velocity to prevent erosion in watercourses
- Noise protection
- Aesthetic fencing structures for gardens
Stone is a material often used because of its longevity, durability and stability. Often stone is chosen because of aesthetic properties or the possibility of tapping into the use of production materials.
One of the core reasons why gabion walls have stood the test of time - since they were used on the banks of the Nile - is because they are so flexible and durable. Under great pressure, gabion baskets will deform, bend or slightly compress rather than break. This is a functional feature that prevents structural integrity from being compromised and ultimately makes them stronger over time. In addition, not being fixed to the ground (as a normal wall would be) means that all the small ground movements that occur naturally will be allowed.
One of the main advantages of gabion walls over traditional walls is that you don't need a traditional foundation - often just a layer of compacted fill (such as gravel) is all that is needed to keep the basket firmly grounded. You may think that this means that the base is not firmly anchored to the ground, but this is not the case. As soon as you have levelled the ground and are ready to place the wall, the filler at the base of the basket sinks right into the ground, providing the frictional strength that keeps the basket in place and prevents the structure from being dragged away from the river or stream.
Although it may not look like it, the wire mesh that forms the basket or cage is very strong under tension and acts as a reinforcement for the overall structure, not just a container. As silt and vegetation collect between the fill over time, they actually become stronger over time and form a naturally permanent structure. Many people take advantage of this fact to use gabion baskets as bases for tables and benches.
Reinforced Gabions Applications
The nature of the way gabion baskets are made means that there are spaces between the stone fillings. This allows air and water to pass through, thus allowing the whole structure to breathe. Concrete structures, on the other hand, can generate hydrostatic pressure due to their impermeability, which can compromise their structural integrity.
Made from wire mesh, gabions are cheaper than most construction materials such as concrete and can be easily assembled by anyone without the need to buy heavy concrete or mix it yourself. Fillers like stone or crushed concrete can often be sourced locally and at a much lower cost.
Labour costs can also be almost completely eliminated as almost anyone can build a gabion basket structure without having to hire someone to do it. The only exception is if your structure is more than one metre high - then we recommend that you consult a professional to make sure it is safe.
Reinforced Gabions Applications
One of the main reasons for the popularity of gabion baskets and gabion walls is that, although they are man-made structures, they still look natural and can be made to match the space to the local terrain by using local infill materials. Many different sizes and shapes of baskets can be used, including curved baskets that form curves or circles when placed together, and can be filled with a variety of colours, textures and sizes of filler.
As mentioned above, the main benefit and practical use of gabion walls are to reduce or prevent erosion. This works by absorbing the force of running water, as the energy is dissipated by the stone fill, thus protecting the area at risk of erosion. For this reason, they are used to reinforce river banks and shorelines that are threatened by erosion. If you have a pond or stream, or if your garden backs onto a river, gabion walls are a very practical way of protecting the land.
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