Gabions as Retaining Structures

The massive weight of rock makes Gabion Baskets the perfect solution for retaining embankments. Highly flexible, gabions can be combined to form almost any angular shape. Although the standard unit size is 1m x 1m x 1m, they come in a variety of sizes from 300mm to 4m wide. The maximum height of a single gabion basket is generally restricted to 1m to enable easy filling with stone.

Why use Gabions?
Everything you need to know about how, when and where.


  • Natural stone gives the landscape an eco-friendly feel.
  • Low setup and transport cost.
  • Heavy and stable construction.
  • Solid, but flexible, so ideal for clay soils.
  • High permeability so ideal for wet areas where there are ground water issues.
  • The foundation can be placed directly into water (with some special preparation).
  • Easy to install with assistance from local, unskilled labour (Training or skilled supervision is recommended).
  • Local stone and fill material can often be found on site free of charge making this the one of the cheapest retaining wall options available.


  • The flexible nature of gabions is not suitable for building rigid structures (like brickwork), directly on top of it.

  • When there is no local stone available, the long haul transport of rock can make the gabions an expensive option.

  • Where access to the work-face is limited, carting heavy rocks over distance can make the construction process slow and expensive.
  • Typical Specs

    Although almost any transportable size can be made up, these are the typical specifics for Gabion Walls.

    Gabion Retaining Walls rely on the weight of the rock to withstand the pressure from the soil. Typically the baskets come in 1m x 1m x 1m as a basic unit. Other sizes come in units of 0.5m up to 4m in length.Stone fill is packed with the flattest side in contact with the cage to eliminate stress. The lower cages will inevitably bulge outwards when subjected to the weight of gabions above and soil behind the basket. Bulging can be minimised by including wire braces on the inside of each basket to help support the front face.

    Ways to make Gabion Walls cheaper

    >> Any materials sourced from the site will be cheaper than those needed to be bought and hauled in. Other materials can be used as infill such as old building blocks, which can substantially reduce the weight of the wall.
    >> Get an expert design. Retaining walls are structural elements no different from bridges and buildings, so getting a design means calculating soil pressure and resisting forces - an expert can give you an accurate design that eliminates waste.
    >> Step or slope the wall backwards using as much as you can afford. The higher the back slope is the less mass you will need in the wall.
    >> Use expert installers with a track history. Although gabions can be installed easily, it is backbreaking work and this can slow the process down significantly without the right equipment and know-how. Mistakes can be the highest cost of any project, particularly if they are ignored.