Gabion walls are rock retaining walls held tightly together with a wire cage. This innovative design was developed to combat erosion around riverbanks, stream beds and other waterways. You may also notice the gabion wall design used along roadways flanked in steep slopes. The design is gaining popularity in the landscaping scene as well due to its versatility, utility and beauty. You can use gabion walls to add beauty and support to your landscape in several unique ways. Here are four ideas to get you started.
Instead of using large bricks as a border, consider building short gabion walls to line the pathways through your garden. You can create a meandering path that keeps its shape beautifully by using the walls as a guide.
You will want to shrink down the gabion wall size to a miniature scale to avoid overwhelming your pathway design. Consider a wall that reaches six to nine inches in height to give the path a solid line without blocking the view of the rest of the garden. To balance this look use a tightly wound wire cage and rocks that are smaller than four inches in diameter.
You can create a regal stairway by lining each side with a gabion wall. The gabion wall will keep the sloped land on either side of the stairs in place as an added benefit. You may want to install six-inch wide wall that follows the stairs, and then extends far to the either side at the bottom of the slope. This design leaves the slope of land to either side of the stairs bare, but contained.
Alternatively, you can use a series of thick gabion walls that completely cover the sloped land. With this configuration, you can open up the top of the wall to create dedicated planters or leave it closed for a solid rock design.
Raised Planter Support
You can actually build individual raised planters throughout your garden using small gabion walls. Construct the walls to create any shape imaginable for your garden beds. Popular designs mimic the look of water wells or sandboxes. Make the walls at least eight to twelve inches thick to support the weight of the soil and plants inside.
Consider using small rocks throughout the metal cage to create good drainage conditions for your plants. Line the bottom of the raised planter with plastic to keep weeds from growing up into the garden beds.
Seating Area Enclosure
If you want a striking look around your fire pit or outdoor dining area, build gabion walls out of natural metal wire and large slabs of stone. The metal wire should blend into the stone color to make the slabs look like they are suspended on their sides naturally.
Fill the inner core of the gabion wall with supportive stones that create a strong foundation for the outer slabs. Since the outer rocks will create pressure on the metal cage, it is important that the inner core provides additional stability for this design. If you want to create a private outdoor area in your backyard, consider extending the slab wall to more than six feet in height.
Selecting Your Combos
You will want to carefully select your wire color and rock types to create a combination that exudes beauty. Slate, granite, marble, pumice, obsidian and basalt all look amazing when loaded into a painted wire frame. Think about if you would like to see rounded rock faces or sharp, cragged ones inside the wire cage. You can use all of the same rock or mix together several types that complement or contrast each other. Make sure to consider how the gabion wall will look against your existing landscape components to create a layout you will enjoy for years.
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