DIY gabions (70 photos): beautiful ideas
Using gabions is a spectacular and unusual way to decorate a garden. A fence designed in this way will be very durable and will last for many years, and the retaining walls will become part of the composition of plant plantings..
Gabions: what is it?
Gabions, also known as GSI, are a mesh-like form, usually composed of a metallic material with a free-flowing filler inside. The romantic name of the building is explained by its country of origin – sunny Italy, but its translation already hints to us that the situation is more prosaic. Literally it sounds like a “big cage”, and this expression quite accurately reflects the essence. The prototypes of these structures are bags of soil and sand, which were used in the 18th century for the construction of fortifications..
Today, gabions are used on military bases, railways and coastlines for the same purposes as many centuries ago. However, this technique is increasingly used as a decoration for a landscape area. The boom in popularity can be explained quite simply – the relative cheapness along with high quality, ease of assembly and aesthetic appeal.
The boxes are made of galvanized mesh or polymer coated for corrosion protection. If you will not be using the gabion for engineering purposes, then you can turn to any type of mesh that you like. But choose a protected material, unless you are trying to get rust for decoration..
Gabions vary, including according to their shape. There are 4 main types:
1. Cylindrical has a smooth configuration, reminiscent of a roller, fixed at the ends;
2. Mattress-mattress – a kind of narrow tray, closed by a common lid;
3. Box-shaped – rectangular box;
4. The box with the panel for reinforcement has an elongated bottom for high-quality reinforcement..
In general, the gabion has a solid structure. The second and third varieties are equipped with membranes, the purpose of which is to increase the bearing capacity and strength. At the same time, for large structures, it is worth taking care of additional fixation, create a strong frame.
Gabions in landscape design
In addition to the obvious practical engineering advantages, the gabion is attractive for its appearance. Such characteristics ensured the success of the structures with landscape designers, and GSI began to be used also for decorative purposes. In the CIS countries, this trend has not yet gained much popularity, and this is an undoubted plus, because you have the opportunity to be one of the first to apply such an interesting design move on your own site.
The best part is that gabions are suitable for territory in any style and with any message. Natural landscapes will be harmoniously completed with stone filler. The metal mesh and slender structure will allow you to play on a technogenic image that will set off arbitrary sets of plants. They are also able to become an element of a regular garden, since the GSI is an orderly architectural form..
Gabions filled with stones look just great even in winter and spring. Under a layer of snow-white snow, the structures look especially expressive and impressive, and the spring streams of water will not be able to destroy it. Moreover, by heating from the rays of the sun, the stone will provide warmth to the soil, which will be very beneficial for garden vegetation..
On the territory of the personal plot, structures can appear in various incarnations.
1. Retaining walls are a classic application of gabions. The structure is incredibly stable and makes an excellent support for terraces, curves and slopes. Modular supports help to create an artificial relief quickly enough and, unlike monolithic structures, they do not require drainage devices. The flexibility of gabions ensures stability against seasonal ground movements. Thus, beautiful and practical GSI are in many aspects ahead of brick and concrete structures..
2. Modular construction makes it possible to use gabions to delimit various zones on the site. Moreover, their ability to drainage comes in handy, because flower beds and a garden need high-quality drainage.
3. Pebble-based gabions will cope with the issue of shores prone to creeping. They will decorate both artificial and natural reservoirs, complementing their appearance, and in addition, they will not become unusable over time, as is the case with the same concrete..
4. Multi-level structures form an excellent hedge for the entire territory of the site. If you use pebble backfill, then the fence will not create an unnecessarily bulky impression. At the same time, such structures by themselves are not stable, so add a strong frame – thus, the fence will come out not only unusual, but also durable.
5. Netting for gabions is a non-trivial material for creating furniture in the garden. Vary the amount and get different things – tables, chairs or benches. However, such furniture is immobile; you will hardly be able to move it to a new place. Alternatively, you can form a bench that will zone the space or become a retaining wall – just put wooden seats on the gabions.
6. Under the GSI you can hide the fountain system. Use a stone embankment.
7. To add atmosphere to a summer evening in the fresh air, thanks to the lamps hidden inside the stone embankment. Or try making a gabion as a lamp stand..
8. If you have not yet decided to build a volumetric object from gabions, create a beautiful decorative accent from one element. So you can select a separate section of the garden area..
Diy gabion – how to make
These original and functional designs can be made by hand without much difficulty. You just have to make a little effort and connect your imagination. The mesh can be welded on your own or bought at any hardware store. At the same time, filling gabions is a rather interesting activity..
Do not forget to prepare the soil before starting construction work. To evenly mark the area for installing gabions, pull a cord or thread – this will be quite enough for an even perimeter.
Site preparation is divided into the following steps:
– Clean the top of the soil from the fertile layer, plants and various debris;
– Dig a trench to anchor the structure or fill the foundation;
– So that weeds do not germinate under the base, it can be lined with geotextile.
The manufacturing process itself consists of the following steps:
1. First of all, decide on the size and shape of the future gabion;
2. From the prepared wire mesh, cut sheets of the required size, and fold the resulting sharp edges. This will strengthen the structure and add durability to it;
3. Next, you need to fasten the entire structure and proceed to filling;
4. The fraction of the filler should be 1.5–2 times larger than the size of the mesh cells;
5. Lay out the filler to avoid voids. To do this, try to select the size and shape of the filling elements..
Gabion fences are assembled without the use of joint solutions and therefore have little mobility. This design feature has a number of advantages, for example, when the earth swells or settles, the fence will not collapse or lose its basic shape. The filler will settle only slightly or rise similarly to the ground. In most cases, such changes are not at all noticeable, but if they are striking, then it is quite simple to fix it..
To make a mesh frame for a fence from gabions, you can use one of the following methods:
– Purchase a completely finished hexagonal mesh network. It is best if this net is made of twisted wire;
– Buy welded wire mesh cards with a zinc layer of protection;
– Weld the frame yourself. For this, a thick wire is suitable, which must be covered with protective paint..
In some cases, the frames may not be fixed on a concrete foundation, but simply burrow into the soil by 25-40 cm. It all depends on the mass of the structure and its location.
Tips for making gabions
During the construction process, you may encounter some features of gabions that can cause difficulties:
– Large and beautiful stones that look great when creating gabions cost a lot of money. That is why use them only for decorating the outer walls, and lay the insides with cheaper materials, for example, broken brick or cinder block;
– To achieve maximum rigidity of the gabion structure, use larger stones and try to stack them as tightly and neatly as possible;
– If you decide to use a light filler, for example, wood cuts, then the mesh should be fixed on a stronger base, such as concrete;
– Please note that thick wire mesh is extremely rigid, and frames made of thin twisted mesh can lose their shape due to the weight of large stones. This will negatively affect the appearance of the entire structure, take this into account when building a gabion.
You can decorate the finished gabion using spot lighting or a garland. This design will radiate warmth and romantic mood every evening. The structures do not require maintenance during operation – this is one of the main advantages of the GSI. Over time, they will strengthen and look even more harmonious and natural..
Gabions – photo
You can see even more photos of ideas for using hand-made gabions in our selection. We wish you inspiration and enjoyable viewing!