What is the Purpose of a Gabion?

October 24, 2022 | Gabion Box, Insights

The word ‘gabion’ arrives from an old Italian word, gabion, which signifies ‘big cage“. Nearly 7000 years ago, early gabion-type structures prevented the bank of the river Nile. In the middle eras, gabions were utilized as military forts. In former history, civil engineers have widely used gabions for the stabilization of banks, coasts, and highways, and for erosion prevention of slopes. From the banks of the river Nile, where they were made up to today, gabion walls are an advantage for the landscape. It has been purposed for thousands of years as a gravity-type retaining structure and creates an attractive, efficient, and cheap wall structure.

Gabion walls are executed primarily for soil stabilization behind the wall, but can as well be executed as a cover wall. The wall is created from gabion baskets that are stacked in one or more rows, based on the height of the wall. Baskets have a cage shape and are sealed on all sides. They are created from galvanized hexagonal meshes and broken rock situated in the baskets. Retaining structures are made by stacking gabion baskets in a proper schedule and presenting an alternative solution for concrete structures in the region of soil stabilization.


  • Retaining wall Designs
  • River and canal practice
  • Erosion and scour prevention; roadway prevention; bridge prevention
  • Hydraulic systems, dams, and culverts
  • Coastal embankment purposes
  • Rockfall and soil erosion prevention
  • Architectural covering for walls and buildings
  • Freestanding walls, noise, and environmental boundaries
  • Architectural Gabion Purposes

The Benefits of Having Gabions

1. Flexibility

One of the main reasons that gabion walls have stood the test of time – ever since they were utilized on the banks of the River Nile – was that they are excessively flexible and strong. Under high stress, a gabion basket will contort, buckle or compress very lightly, instead of break. This is a functional feature that protects against loss of structural integrity and ultimately makes it stronger across time. Plus, not being fixed to the ground (such as a normal wall would be) means there will be an allowance for all the small ground movements which happen originally.

2. Strength

Though it may not look it, the wire mesh that makes up the basket or cage is very bold under tension and function as a reinforcement of the overall structure, instead of just a container. And due to silt and vegetation collecting in between the filling across time, they become even bold with age and made a naturally permanent structure. Many people have taken benefit of this fact to use gabion baskets as a base for tables and benches.

3. Permeable

The nature of the way gabion baskets are produced means there is space in between the stone filling. This lets both air and water pass through, which allows the complete structure to breathe. On the other side, concrete systems can build up hydrostatic pressure due to their impermeability, and this can accord their structural integrity.

4. Cost-effective

Create from wire mesh, gabion baskets are less expensive than most construction materials such as concrete and can be put together simply by anyone, avoiding the requirement to buy heavy concrete or mix it yourself. Filling like stone or broken concrete can typically be sourced locally and at a much lesser cost.

5. Firm Base

One of the key benefits of gabion walls over traditional walls is that you don’t require a conventional foundation – a compacted layer of filling like crushed rock is sometimes all that is required to provide the baskets a firm footing. You may think that translates to the base not being firmly seeded in the ground, but this isn’t the situation. As long as you’ve leveled and prepared the ground to put the wall on, the fill at the end of the basket will settle into the ground directly, providing frictional strength which keeps the baskets in place and protects the structure from being dragged away by a river or stream.

6. Reduce Erosion

The prime benefit and practical utilization for gabion walls, as cited above, is to reduce or protect erosion. This function by absorbing the force of flowing water, as the energy is consumed by the stone fill, thus preventing areas at risk of erosion. For this cause, they’re utilized to bolster river banks and coasts that are under threat of erosion. In case you have a pond or a stream, or your garden backs onto a river, a gabion wall is a great practical method to protect the land.

7. Aesthetics

The main reason that gabion baskets and walls are famous is that regardless of being man-made structures, they yet look natural and can match space to their local terrain through the utilization of local filler materials. Baskets of many various sizes and shapes can be utilized, involving curved baskets which form a bend when put together, and filling of all types of colors, textures, and sizes can be utilized inside them.

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