How To Make Gabion Baskets

Gabion baskets are an effective way of creating a low-retaining wall without the need for expensive and heavy concrete – with only basic DIY skills and tools you can create strong, long lasting retaining walls that look great.

Step 1. Choose your gabion design

  • Choose Your Gabion

The first step in making a gabion basket is selecting the right kind of gabion. There are many different designs available, each offering its own distinctive look and feel. You can choose to make a traditional basket, or one that’s more modern in appearance; you can do this by choosing from different colours and textures, or by using materials such as metal or plastic instead of stone. If you want something that really stands out from the crowd then you might want to consider opting for a larger option instead – after all, these tend to make the best showpieces

Step 2. Choose your mesh type and size

  • Wire mesh comes in a variety of sizes and materials.
  • Wire mesh is available in a variety of forms, shapes and patterns.

Step 3. Choose the stone you want to use

If you’re using a gabion basket for growing plants, it’s best to choose stones that are less dense and heavy than those used for building walls. The same goes if you want your gabion basket to be decorative rather than functional.

In terms of color, the most common stone sizes are 1m x 1m x 1m (1 cubic meter) and 2m x 0.5 cubic meters (0.25 cubic meters). The former will weigh around 350 kg while the latter weighs around 200 kg. In other words:

  • Choose the stone size that will fit your needs without being too heavy or too light
  • Use only rocks that are at least 0.5kg in weight

Step 4. Calculate the approximate volume of stone needed

Now that you’ve gathered your supplies, it’s time to calculate the approximate volume of stone needed. To do this, multiply the length and width of your intended basket in inches by its height in inches, then divide by 27 (the number of cubic inches per cubic foot).

You can find stones that fit well within a gabion basket at most landscape supply stores or rock quarries and mines. Be sure to choose a stone surface and color you like; these will be visible once your project is finished! For example, an arched gabion garden seat was created using a variety of different-sized stones—all wrapped together with wire mesh fencing material—to create an inspiring design for any outdoor space.

Step 5. Prepare your site and lay the foundations

  • Ensure your site is level
  • Make sure there is no debris on the ground that can be caught in the Gabion basket
  • Stay safe, check your surroundings and ensure they are free of hazards such as slippery flooring or sharp objects that could injure you while working with metal wire mesh (such as broken glass)
  • Make sure you are working in an accessible location – if this means renting a crane to lift the Gabion baskets into position then so be it. You don’t want to be battling vertigo halfway through building your structure so make sure you choose a site where erecting a structure is easy and straightforward for all involved in its construction process, especially yourself
  • Ensure your site has water drainage – do not build a foundation on soft ground or marshland because this will result in expensive repairs later down the line when rising damp does its worst work (and believe me, I speak from personal experience here). Not only does it cost money but also time too which is why we recommend installing some kind of drainage system before laying foundations if possible (and indeed advisable).

Step 6. Assemble your gabion basket

  • Assemble the wire mesh box frame
  • Secure the wire mesh to the frame with staples or nails (you can use a staple gun)
  • Fill your gabion basket with stone, making sure that the stone is tightly packed but not too tight so that it collapses and crushes itself (you want there to be space between each stone)
  • When you’re done filling your gabion basket, take a step back and make sure that it’s stable enough without any shifting or collapsing of stones

Step 7. Secure the wire mesh using tie wire or hog rings

If you’re making a large basket, tie wire may be the best choice. Tie wire is a type of metal wire that will hold the gabion netting together and prevent it from collapsing in on itself. Tie wire comes in two varieties: copper and galvanized steel. Both are strong enough to keep your basket together, but copper is more expensive than galvanized steel and will rust over time if exposed to moisture or rainwater (this isn’t usually a concern for most gardeners).

Gabion baskets with curved sides can use hog rings instead of tie wire. Hog rings are also used for fencing—they’re available at any hardware store—and are designed specifically for holding sections of fence together without compromising strength or integrity during installation​

Step 8. Fill with stone (and enjoy)

When you’re filling the baskets, make sure you have a lot of material to work with. For the sake of sanity and speed, we filled ours with two tons of stone each, but if you’re working in a small space or are pressed for time, consider filling them with only one ton at first and adding another as needed.

When it comes to choosing stones for your project, try to stick with ones that are compact and strong enough not to break apart while being moved around by machine operators or generally handled by people (ahem). Avoid using any sort of rubble or loose rocks; these won’t give you the stability needed for your baskets (or any other structure) and will likely fall out over time.

Once completed, the gabion baskets are incredibly robust and long-lasting, with a lifespan in excess of 50 years.

Once completed, the gabion baskets are incredibly robust and long-lasting, with a lifespan in excess of 50 years. In addition to their other uses, they can also serve as erosion control for streams or rivers. The only real limitation is that they must be placed away from settlements due to the potential for injury.

Gabions are durable enough to be used for landscaping on steep hillsides where larger rocks would be difficult to place safely, or even impassable without significant construction effort. They’re also great for retaining walls since they don’t require mortar or concrete to hold them together; instead, weight-bearing gabions simply need chunky rocks placed around them along with some wire meshting if desired (but usually isn’t needed).


We hope this guide has inspired you to create your own gabion basket. There are countless uses and designs for them, each demonstrating their versatility as a contemporary landscape feature.

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