What is a Gabion?

A gabion (from Italian gabbione, meaning “big cage”) is like a civil engineering container, frequently made of solid braided iron wires filled with freeze-resistant stones (that don’t crack when frozen), used in public works and construction to build retaining walls, non-watertight artificial banks, to decorate a bare façade or for urban development.

The origin of the Gabion

The gabion was originally conceived as a basic soil retaining device using primitive techniques. Instead of using large and heavy riprap to support soils, the gabion is seen as a screened container which allows for the confinement of several small rocks that can be handled without specialized machinery. The filling followed by the stacking of several gabions provides sufficient volume and weight to counteract the thrust naturally generated by native slopes.

Gabions have been used in retaining structures for over 75 years. It is a very economical solution for building retaining walls especially when riprap is available near the site. In addition, gabion has the advantage of being continuously permeable which eliminates the typical drainage problem behind concrete or concrete block walls.

Just like the steel mesh fence, we use galvanized steel wire to make these metal cages which will extend the life of the steel strands. However, unlike fences, the manufacturing technique consists of double twisting 3 mm diameter galvanized wire to form a diamond mesh pattern of 80 by 100 mm. The zinc coating of the wires is also increased to provide better resistance against corrosion.