What is a Gabion?

You might not be familiar with the word “gabion,” but you’ve almost certainly seen what they can do for your landscaping project or outdoor living space. A gabion is a type of wired basket filled with various rocks or soil that helps prevent erosion, retain a slope, or provide a landscape element. They are commonly used in streambanks and areas with steep slopes. In fact, gabions have been used for centuries for all sorts of purposes, ranging from landscaping, road building, to even military uses.

Whether you need to use them as a barricade or a way to grow a few vegetables, gabions can be a great help to your landscaping or gardening needs. Here's what you need to know about gabions.

Types of Gabions

These days, most people associate gabions with a simple metal crate that has rocks in it (gabion baskets). However, there are various types of gabions that are designed for different uses.

Here is a list of the types of gabions:

  • Gabion Baskets - Composed of welded or twisted steel wire mesh and varies in size. They are used in retaining walls and landscape applications.
  • Mattresses - These are commonly referred to as reno mattresses. They are named mattresses because they are shaped similar to a bed mattress and primarily used to contain rip rap and fight erosion.
  • Sacks - Gabion sacks are mostly common in hard to access areas such as along stream banks. They are available in various sizes and shapes

What type of gabion you’ll need depends on the problems that could potentially occur. In addition, your location will also determine the type of gabion you may need.

What are Some Common Applications of Gabions?

Gabions can be used for many things, but some are more common than others. The original purpose of gabions was to retain earth. But that’s not always the case. Gabions can be used to block out sounds and noises. They can be used to direct the flow of water, reduce water velocity, and prevent erosion. However, gabions can be used for so much more.

Gabions are commonly used in gardens as well. In fact, people can grow various types of plants and vegetation within one by turning them into a planter or utilizing them as walls to create a raised garden bed.

In other cases, people simply use gabions as a way to add a certain look to their homes. They have many residential uses that can be tailored to suit individual needs from landscape elements to architectural veneers and elements.

The Benefits of Having Gabions

Aside from erosion prevention and aesthetic uses, gabions do provide some pretty handy benefits. For starters, gabions are inexpensive and easy to use, so they are useful for those who need to accomplish a lot of landscaping or protection from soil erosion on a budget and can perform much of the work themselves as a novice.

Another great benefit of gabions is that they are better for the environment because they have a smaller carbon footprint. In fact, using gabions reduces the amount of carbon dioxide produced by 80 percent compared to the use of regular concrete walls and you can also utilize recycled or onsite fill to further reduce your impact.

Last but not least, gabions can be used in any kind of environment, whether it’s rural or urban. Even suburban areas can reap the benefits of gabions. In other words, gabions aren’t limited to just one type of environment. They can easily be used in residential and commercial settings. Gabion usage isn't limited to only large rock formations or in areas that aren't occupied.

Gabions may not always be a main topic of conversation, but they have been a useful landscaping and engineering component for many years and are growing in popularity. We hope this guide has helped you discover some ways you can put gabions to work for you!