What are Gabions and Reno Mattresses?

A Gabion is a box-shaped container made of tough hexagonal steel wire mesh strengthened by selvedges of heavier wire. It has a lid that you can open to fill with rocks and is also known as a Gabion basket. Mesh diaphragms divide it into 1m compartments.

Reno Mattresses are mattress-shaped, they look like flatter gabion boxes. Reno Mattresses are used for lining large areas, channels and in structures where their size can be used to advantage in minimising costs.

How do you assemble Gabions?

We supply Gabions flat packed into compressed bundles for assembly on site, so they use the least amount of space possible when you transport them. 

  1. Stack assembled gabions in position – to form a retaining wall or anti-erosion structure.
  2. Wire the gabions securely together.
  3. Fill with stone from your nearest quarry, or large rounded shingles.
  4. Close the lids and lace tightly with wire.
Properties of Gabions

1. Strength

The extreme robustness of the mesh is due to its high average tensile strength. The wire is Zinc or Galfan to EN10223-3, and is available with Polymer coating, in which form it should be used for all marine applications and polluted conditions.

2. Flexibility

Units are inherently flexible, and deform or “bend”, without loss of strength, to conform to changes in the ground surface.

3. Permeability

Units are highly permeable, and no provision has to be made for pressure relief. If the application requires, they can be made impermeable by laying an impervious membrane or by mastic grouting after filling.

4. Speed of construction

Assembly and erection are speedy. Units are light to handle. They can be laid directly on unstable ground or in running water, and no preparation or de-watering of the site is necessary. The structure is ready for immediate use after completion.

5. Cost

African Gabions compare favourably with other materials in cost. Units are easily transported to site, assembled by unskilled labour, and filled by hand, or mechanically in some cases. The fill is usually obtained locally.

6. Repairs and alterations

Damage to a unit is usually localised, requiring small-scale simple repairs. Units are easily reduced in size, by removing fill and folding and rewiring mesh panels. They are easily extended, by wiring on extra units or compartments.

Gabion sizes, meshes and wire diameters

As a guide for new customers, the table below shows the most popular sizes.

Popular Sizes of Gabions

Dimensions (Length x Width x Depth) (m)


Wire diameter







2.7mm or


















2.2mm or








  • Available in Class A Zinc or Galfan (Zn95Al5), with or without polymer coating
  • With diaphragms at 1m centres
  • Add 1.0mm to wire diameter to allow for Polymer thickness

Binding wire is quoted separately and not included the unit rates.  Binding wire is used for the lacing and bracing operations and is an integral part of the gabion unit and structure. It is the contractor’s responsibility to ensure that any binding wire not purchased through African Gabions (Pty) Ltd complies with EN 10223-3:2013. See details here

More Details

African Gabions manufacture a large variety of sizes and types of gabion box and mattress units in a wide selection of mesh and wire diameter combinations.