Gabions are something you have probably seen before, maybe on the side of a freeway as a barrier or flanking a stylish entranceway, but you likely didn’t give them a second thought. However these stone and wire mesh constructions are more interesting and multi use than they appear.
37 Gabion Designs and the Wonderful Ways We Use Them
The structures can be built to almost any thickness or length and even wind in twisting shapes, it’s all down to the gabion cage that is assembled on site. These modular cages are made up of woven wire mesh that comes in large rolls (details in example 26) and some twistable wire that is used to fix the modular cages together (which you can see in detail in example 2). The stones inside that fill the bulk of the cages can be bought in a variety of sizes and colours depending on the look you are going for or, in a rural setting, be sourced from the surrounding countryside to incorporate your design into the landscape. These simple materials have the added bonus of being hard wearing and weather proof, making them perfect for outdoor settings. Their overall aesthetic is chic yet rustic at the same time and manages to tow the line between beautiful and functional.
The uses of gabions range from the sculptures, to fencing and safety features on mountainsides so if this rustic rocky unit has piqued your interest here are:
1. Curving Flower Bed Gabion Wall
In this whimsical garden a short, narrow gabion wall has been used as a flowerbed border that waves around the plants. The mesh gabion cage can be constructed right there in the garden so it can be easily adapted to fit around curves of the beds perfectly. The rocks inside are small and jagged in warm tones with some splashes of grey to create a beautiful mottled texture against the cage. The tones of the stone and the organic undulating shape fit in with the garden surroundings makes it homogenous with the nature around it.
2. How Gabion Baskets are Built
Gabion cages are made of a simple mesh of steel wire. This mesh is then rolled out and fixed into whatever shape you want, whether it be square, cylindrical or even organic. The perpendicular panels of each modular piece are fixed to one another using a twisting wire to anchor them strongly together and make the structure very sturdy. The openness of the cage can be changed accordingly to your design as well as the shape of the mesh itself which comes standard in many different shapes.
3. Stunning Gabion Sculpture
In contrast to the practical applications we are used to seeing this gabion takes the form of a crouched oversized figure as installation art piece in a contemporary public space. The large, smooth stones in multiple shades of grey fill a sturdy wire exoskeleton that has been welded by an artisan into the human form. The pose is dynamic with the stunning pebbles imbibing it with a natural texture. This piece is eye catching and totally subverts the expected use for gabions in a stunning way.
4. Stunning Gabion Feature Wall
This huge gabion wall has been used to create a really beautiful backdrop to this contemporary outdoor area. It is made of almost imperceptible modular sections and filled with sandy, rough stones that create a rich texture that spans across the entire space. The wall highlights the twisting spiral staircase in front of it and the recessed seating area in the foreground. Two ponds sit on either side of the outdoor lounge that sits at head height and overflows into channels behind each couch. All together these elements create a rustic yet chic space with the gabion wall anchoring it together.
5. Gabion Wall Around
Low gabions are a beautiful way to decorate the edge of the garden bed, which is perfectly executed in this recessed lawn. The house has been raised slightly above the grass so the concrete steps lead elegantly into the garden encircled by striped gabion baskets. They also run down the pathway that leads to the front door. The rocks have been carefully chosen to match the grey facing of the house to keep the exterior cohesive while adding texture to the mix.
6. Gabion Basket with Reinforcements
If you want to achieve a thin gabion wall the thickness and height can become flimsy and dangerous so they need additional cross supports. The supports are thick steel rods (pictured on the right) that run between the welded wire mesh panels to keep it sturdy. With just that simple addition the gabion basket is ready to be filled and installed safely. The mesh panels that make up the baskets are connected with hinged fixtures rather than twisted wire, which is more expensive but looks more sophisticated.
7. Gorgeous Gabion Bench
In a twist on a simple piece of outdoor furniture this gabion bench has been sculpted from a rigid framework that holds panels of small square wire mesh in shape. The close mesh makes the seat of the bench more even and so more comfortable to sit on for a longer period of time. The stones that fill the frame are smooth and even in a blue grey shade that makes the silver frame shine and finishes off the sophisticated space.
8. Gabion Boundary Wall
Gabions are a great way to create more interesting boundary walls that are tall and sturdy. The adaptable, layered gabions allows the design to step down and recesses to form spaces for three baby fern trees across its length. The cage has chunkier horizontal elements with thin vertical strips that are filled with carefully chosen mid sized white rocks that creates a textured finish but even colour scheme. The whole look is very contemporary and industrial while remaining cohesive to the neighbourhood.
9. Rugged Rural Gabion Wall
This stunning rural setting is the perfect place for a gabion wall like this one. Each cage runs between fence posts made out of a treated rusted stainless steel, which blend in with the rocks that fill it. The huge rocks are jagged and in a terracotta shade that could have been found inside the natural surroundings to fuse it with nature. The bright yet natural hue matches the red brick house to bring the whole exterior of the house together cohesively.
10. Filling a Gabion Cage
We’ve seen how the cages are built now we need to see how they’re filled. Layers of cages have been tied next to one another. The bottom layer has been filled with very large rocks and sealed with a new cage placed on top and fixed to the bottom layer. The stones are small enough to be poured in with buckets until you get to the top of the next cage when it is sealed over, ready for the next one.
11. Designing With Stones
When using gabions for their strong and aesthetic qualities you need to carefully consider the stones you use because they will change up the entire aesthetic of this very weighty design feature. Slim stones like these have been chosen in similar tones creating a beautiful satisfying texture and runs horizontally across every module. The stacked cages are offset from one another for strength without interrupting the pattern. These cages are fixed together with twisted wires like we saw in example 2, keeping it strong and simple.
12. Raised Gabion Garden Beds
Planters encircle this contemporary patio design, one of which is a raised garden bed surrounded by large square gabions. The huge blocks are filled with mid sized white stones, which contrasts against the crimson wall that runs up one side. The sturdy stone design can also function as seat while it holds scruffy bushes and spindly little trees in place. This is the perfect material for this location and use because it can withstand the weight of the soil and is a low maintenance piece of outdoor design.
13. Gabion Patio Table
This stylish outdoor patio has been furnished with timber bench seating and a gabion table. The timber tabletop has been stained a slightly darker shade than the chairs and specially treated to be used outdoors. The tabletop fits neatly onto the ‘I’ shaped gabion basket that has been filled with jagged blue toned stones held in a rectangular mesh. The contrast of textures is beautiful and the design as a whole is perfect for outdoors because it is really sturdy and hard wearing.
14. Tall Pale Gabion Wall
This tall boundary wall is formed by gabions held in a strong steel framework with large rectangular baskets running in between. This kind of design would need additional supports like we saw in example 6 to remain rigid and sturdy. The columns of gabions are filled with large pale rocks in a warm tone that creates a beautiful backdrop to your garden. Alternating panels of the wall have been decorated with flat rusted metal trees that are lightweight and can be easily attached to the wire mesh.
15. Gabion Columns for a Steel Fence
The panels of this modern fencing are made out of black steel that is just durable as the material that supports it. The gabion in this case forms the chunky long base and the columns that form the fence posts. This material is perfect for fencing because of how strong and impenetrable it is as well as its hardiness. The cage is made of a large square mesh filled with jagged blue toned stones that looks stunning next to the black steel. The whole look is sophisticated, safe and sturdy.
16. Giant Gabion Tree Pot
In this unique outdoor space gabions form part of this innovative design that sits at the apex of this linear outdoor space. A half moon shaped rectangular steel cage is filled with thin pale rocks with a spooky desert tree growing from its centre. The cage itself would have had to built around the tree itself and filled with stones after. This creates a stunning feature that looms overhead while you sit in the yellow lounge area.
17. Novel Gabion Garden Sculpture
Within a large garden a squat gabion has been used to create a sculpture sitting on the lawn. The round structure has one delicate pointed end with a loose cage of rusted wire filled with large pale rocks. This bizarre form is nestled amongst the shrubbery with tall purple flowers obscuring it further, a plant that is scattered over the garden. This is whimsical, weird and fun, showing off how gabions can be used as an effective garden decoration.
18. Gabion Garden Design
Along the same lines as the sculpture above, one part of this garden is given over to an untraditional rock garden made using gabions. The small raised garden beds are surrounded by circles of gabion walls in different shades of rock that create a mosaic across the vivid grass. The same finish has been used around the pond and form the walls of the garden shed so the whole corner of the garden is cohesive.
19. Gabion Outdoor Furniture Set
In this sophisticated garden a column of gabion baskets wrap around a fire pit with gabion bench seating running all the way around it. The square mesh cages are filled with muted, small grey stones and topped by hardy plastic seats to make the benches comfortable to sit on. The whole design is very hardy and perfect for outdoors because it is weatherproof and low maintenance.
20. Gabion Wall on Contemporary Patio
On this stylish patio with it’s large succulents and chunky wooden floorboards divided by large pale stones the gabion fence forms the boundary wall in a rust effect basket filled with the same stones as those found around the floorboards. With up lit bamboo creating the background, all of these elements result in a hyper designed rock garden that stands out from the crowd.
21. Gabion House Walls
If they are properly sealed on the inside gabions can even be used as house walls that fit into the rocky ridge in which it is situated. This rustic design is also eco friendly because the rocks warm up during the day in the sun and warm at the house at night. The gabion walls are very sturdy, hard wearing and really low maintenance making them the perfect building material. The cages are filled with stones similar to those in the area to blend it in with the rural surroundings.
22. Gabion Fence Panels
This low rural fence alternates between reclaimed wooden paneling and gabion baskets filled with pale blue stones in arching panels to create a rich textural pattern across the length of the garden. This configuration sits on an original pebble dashed wall, paying tribute to it while modernizing the exterior to look more contemporary. The gabion cage has a long thin mesh that lets the rugged stones be displayed at their greatest advantage.
23. Gabions Along a Mountain Road
Along the side of a curving mountain road layers of large gabion baskets have been stacked in recessed tiers stepping back from the road. These immense steps form a solid base and helps protect the passing cars from rockslides. Gabions are really good for these locations because they’re very durable and hard wearing as well as allowing water drainage and being easy to repair on site.
24. Tiered Gabion Poolside Seating
Opposite this dramatic opening lounge four layers of tiered gabions run alongside the long luxurious pool. Pale grey rocks fill the cages to create places to sit by the pool or get your tan on by laying out a towel. The desert inspired poolside is tied into the stone faced column that runs between the exterior and the lounge space.
25. Glass and Gabion Outdoor Bar
In this rustic desert setting this outdoor bar sits on a hilltop covered by a stretched fabric tarpaulin. The gathering space around the stone fire pit and the bar area are tied together by the stone that forms the seats and the stones in the gabion baskets in the bar. Small square mesh cages have been filled with small stones that create textured panels. These panels are alternated with panels of purple lit recycled glass bottles. The gabion panels also have their own down lighters that allow light to play across the stones and emphasize their texture.
26. Hexagonal Mesh
The base of the whole gabion design: the wire mesh. This can be bought cheaply from hardware stores by the metre. This hexagonal design is the most commonly used and creates a richer texture when combined with the stones. The mesh is fixed together using the same techniques as the square mesh that we discussed previous examples.
27. Gabion Column Planters
This eclectic outdoor space is special due to its artful mix of textures and colours. The concrete pavers, wood paneled furniture, painted ship lapped wall finish, upholstered waterproof cushions and gabion planters are all covered in a red tapestry in a patchwork of materials. The gabions are tall singular square columns of different heights with spiky succulent like plants planted in each to enhance the desert aesthetic that goes along with these materials. They are dotted about the space to provide texture and a little splash of green.
28. Winding Gabion Wall
In this circular garden gabions have been beautifully incorporated into this farm garden to line the pathways. A pebbled path that winds around raised garden beds full of bushes hems in scrubby bushes. Large white stones fill the cages to stand out against the green and brown of the farmland. The low white walls double as a seat to pause and look over the rest of the garden and the farmland beyond. Gabions are the integral part of the two tiered planters that fit in with the rustic location perfectly.
29. Gabion Wall Panels
The private garden to this very modern house is enclosed by a collaboration of steel and gabions. The fence swaps from panels of weathered steel sheets to thin panels of gabions with a steel frame of the same steel containing it. This framework will hold the thin cage firmly but it will need additional reinforcements to hold it firm like the ones we looked at in example 6. The combination of the beautiful texture of the stones works with the steel that has been treated to look weathered to result in a rustic chic design that fits in next to the modern home.
30. Gabion Patio Walls
In this large patio gabion walls have separated space the dining area with a gap left in it to create a tall, thick entranceway. The thick walls are full of large pale stones in a square wire mesh that feels right at home in this really luxurious and spacious outdoor space. This private dining space along with the large pool area with a recessed outdoor lounge makes this a multi use outdoor space for large social gatherings.
31. Glowing Gabion Wall
In this modern outdoor space with geometric chairs and coffee table with a fire at the centre its the gabion wall that pushes the over the edge to futurstic. Within the tall concrete wall is a large layered panel of gabion cages filled with fake rocks that charge out in the sunlight and glow when the sun goes down. This creates a spooky otherworldly glow that can be enhanced using lighting for an even more futuristic look.
32. Rustic Dining Room Wall
This rustic eclectic dining room is filled with textures from the floor tiles and a painted wood paneled wall to the chunky gabion walls that take centre stage. Three doorways have been cut into the gabion wall to create entranceways into the private dining room that makes entering it feel special. The textured brown wire gabion baskets add more texture along with the large, rugged rocks that fill them to create this incredible dining experience.
33. Gabion Layered Planters
This cute little patio planters use the mesh of the gabion baskets above each planter adjusting the height as the planters stepped down from tallest to shortest. The mesh is a black framework with square mesh filled with stones in a warm brown shade planted with little green bushes. This is a textured outdoor décor piece that stands out and celebrates simple materials.
34. Sloping Gabion Fence Posts
To switch it up gabions have been used as the anchoring element for this tall entrance gate with a dramatic timber structure arching over it. The timber framework is anchored in place by a sloping gabion foundation on both sides that slopes steeply away from the driveway. The cage has a striped pattern filled with deep brown stones that fit in with the rural location. The boundary wall has been built into these fence posts to coordinate your entire boundary.
35. Outdoor Bathroom Wall
This gorgeous rural getaway features a novelty outdoor shower mounted on a long gabion wall. The location in the middle of nowhere means there is no one around to see you shower beside this amazing feature. The stone gabion wall runs from the inside where the basin and mirror are mounted to the outside to where the outdoor shower is mounted. This is the ideal material for both getting wet and being left outside so this is the perfect spot to show off gabions at their best.
36. Modern Gabion Waterfalls
This whole desert style house decorates with large round pebbles in different forms across the outdoor space. The stone in their gabion form they are in the form of square gabion baskets in a wire that has been treated to look rusted. A little shelf juts out from each gabion and spews out a steady sheet of water in a stunning pair of waterfalls across the whole space. The stones allow the pump system to be hidden inside so the waterfalls seem to appear magically.
37. Rustic Outdoor Benches
Beside this concrete garden staircase gabion benches have been fitted into each side to create beautiful long benches. The benches are formed by long baskets filled with multi hued stones and topped with a treated polished timber seat. These gabion cages are perfect for the outdoors because they’re maintenance free and hardy outdoors. The benches fit in with the tiered garden that runs down besides the concrete staircase. These novel benches creates a place of rest within the garden to overlook the sloping garden and all its fine details.
As you can see from the plethora of stunning examples, gabions can be used in just about any setting to create a rugged contemporary look that is functional and beautiful all at once. The textures and the colours from the stones themselves and the supportive structure they nestle inside contribute to any space you find yourself in a visual and supportive way.
These hard wearing modular designs fit their outdoor settings perfectly and help you create an outdoor space that is low maintenance. Their aesthetic is easily adjustable and adaptable to their location by changing up the colour of the wire or changing the shape, colour and texture of the stones to create a whole new look.
So they next time you need a piece for your outdoor set up consider the stylish and hardy gabion to solve all your problems.