Gabions are a design and engineering feature that has been used in industrial construction, drainage, and military building since the Roman era. More recently, gabions or ‘cages’ of rock and stone have been used for exterior walls, boundary walls, interior feature walls, and fencing. There are a number of reasons and uses, but the main rationale as to why gabions make for good modern fencing is listed below. These should make you consider gabion as a means to keep your home safe and secure in a bespoke and beautiful way.
As the gabion is primarily designed around the cage or container for the stones or rocks, it is as unique and different as these natural materials. Depending on what material has been used, the gabion can last forever. Galvanized steel and iron baskets last the longest. A great example is the designs from eComposite Products that provide a lifetime warranty. The gabions are fully porous, and as water is one of the main wear factors for exterior fencing, the gabion will not be affected. Water simply finds its way between the rocks and will drain off.
The nature of a gabion is that the longer it remains on-site, the stronger and more permanent it becomes, with the wall being anchored in place by the sheer mass and weight of the structure itself. There are, however, some guidelines, and if you are going to go above 1 meter, then you need to get a professional engineer involved.
As mentioned above, unless the basket or holding mechanism for the stone and rock is painted, there is no need for maintenance of a gabion wall. Drainage must be incorporated in the design, but if the wall or boundary fence is sunken and porous, then water will simply drain away naturally. Water is the main factor causing wear and tear on traditional fences and buildings and costs a significant amount to deal with or to prevent and repair. The nil effect of water on the gabions will go a long way to creating an everlasting wall or fence and save you a great deal of repair time and money.
Each gabion wall is different and will essentially be determined by the rocks and stones that are used. In recent new builds, there has been a trend to use rocks and stone removed from the groundworks in the metal cages, making them even more unique. The size of stone and mesh used can also be varied, and a smoother, smaller stone used in areas where a softer finish is required, such as an internal wall or for a garden bench.
Speed and ease of construction
Gabion walls can be easily constructed on-site as long as all the materials are available. The baskets or cages can be transported in a folded-up state and only opened up and filled in situ. A gabion wall will, however, be built quicker and simpler than any traditional wall of the same strength. Even beginners can put these together if the right baskets and structure are purchased.
The gabion is arguably worth all the hype. It is an old-school building methodology that has found favor in modern times, and long may this continue.