What Is Gabion and How Can I Use It in My Yard?

rocks in a metal cage

Gabion is an up-and-coming landscape trend that uses wire baskets filled with rocks to create a unique-looking retaining wall. Used for thousands of years all over the world, gabion is now gaining popularity in residential landscaping across Canada. It’s an attractive, effective, and inexpensive addition to any yard. Find out more about gabion and how to use this ancient technology on your property.

What is Gabion?

Derived from the Italian word gabbione, gabion is an enclosure filled with inorganic material. Rocks are commonly used, but other options include bricks and concrete debris. The idea is to fill the baskets with local, aesthetically pleasing materials. Wicker cages were once used, but wire is now preferred for its durability.

One of the very first uses of gabion-type structures dates back to ancient Egypt. About 7,000 years ago, people used gabion to protect the banks of the Nile from erosion. In medieval times, it served as a military fortification. Later, gabion was used in engineering projects, from the foundation of the San Marco Castle in Milan to highway stabilization and retaining walls in construction projects around the globe.

Gabion is praised for being both beautiful and environmentally friendly. It requires no concrete or mortar and can be made with discarded rubble from local excavation projects. Gabion is also extremely affordable, often costing nothing more than the price of the wire cages.

Once in place, gabion will last the lifetime of your garden. The loose stones are permeable, and the metal cages prevent the rocks from washing away. Plus, unlike rigid walls that crack and deteriorate over time, gabion conforms to ground movement, helping it to remain beautiful for generations to come.

DIY Gabion Basket Ideas

Gabion can be reinvented for many different uses in the garden, including:

  • Retaining walls: The original purpose of gabion walls—to retain slopes—remains a popular use for them in residential landscaping. The texture of the stone and wire baskets offers a rough, industrial look in the best possible way.
  • Benches: Tucking gabion cages underneath a polished wooden board or stone slab is a simple way to create beautiful, modern benches on your property.
  • Flower bed edging: Instead of a traditional raised stone border, you can edge your flower bed with gabion cages. This is an affordable DIY project that looks particularly pleasing with modern, rustic, or industrial home designs.
  • Planters: It’s easy to make a gabion planter box. First, build the wire cage and situate a block of polystyrene in the centre. Place a plastic flower pot on top, and fill in the area around it with stones. To complete the DIY gabion basket, fill the pot with soil and plant whatever flowers you want.
  • Visual statements: Stone has a lovely colour and texture that complements foliage quite well. This makes gabion the perfect garden accent, whether you use it as a decorative column, backdrop for landscape art, or privacy wall.

No matter how you choose to use this landscaping trend, gabion looks best if you keep the other parts of your yard tidy. Don’t want to tackle lawn care, pruning, flower bed maintenance, or tree work yourself? Choose The Grounds Guys® to keep your property looking great with our professional yard maintenance service.

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Did you know? The Grounds Guys is a Neighbourly company. Learn more about Neighbourly’s community of home service experts at GetNeighbourly.ca