Gabions – All Your Questions Answered

A Gabion is a somewhat strange word for extremely strong wire baskets that are filled with stones and used mainly to stabilise and prevent erosion on slopes, road embankments and riverbanks.

The word Gabion comes from the Italian word “gabbione” which means “big cage.”

Gabions are used to:

  • Stabilise slopes
  • Help prevent soil erosion
  • Mitigate damage from rockfalls
  • Protect roads and infrastructure
  • Form a noise barrier on highways
  • Create retaining walls
  • Mitigate riverbank erosion and flooding

When you travel, you will notice more of them popping up around the country. They blend so well with the environment that they eventually become interwoven with the natural environment, and can be considered a softer solution.

Did You Know?

How long a Gabion will last, depends on the quality of the wire used in the manufacture of the baskets and the aggressiveness of the environment, not what you fill the baskets with. Our Gabions are manufactured with a design life of up to 120 years.

What makes our Gabions so strong and durable?

See what they’re made of here.

At African Gabions, people ask us lots of questions about how they work and how to use them. In this article, we’ll do our best to answer frequently asked questions about Gabions.  

First, you need to understand what they are.

1.     What is a Gabion Basket?

 The Oxford English Dictionary defines Gabions as “a large square container made of wire in which rocks are packed. Gabions are used for building structures outdoors, for example, to support pieces of ground or control a flow of water.”

Wikipedia gives a more detailed explanation of what gabions are. They have been around since Leonardo da Vinci’s times and were used in the military, for protection from enemy fire.

See more about what Gabions are here.


2.     What are Gabion Mattresses?

Gabion mattresses are also known as Reno mattresses. Basically, they range between 0.17m and 0.30m high and are mattress shaped, when compared to the box shaped Gabion ranging in height between 0.50m and 1.0m.

Find out what Gabion mattresses are used for here.


3.     What are Gabions used for?

Gabions are utilised in a number of applications including (but not limited to):

  • Road and Infrastructure Projects
  • Slope Stabilisation
  • Riverbank Protection
  • Coastal Erosion Control

Find out more about when Gabions are used here.


4.     How do you use Gabions?

Gabions are so big that people often wonder how they are transported to remote job sites.

The solution is simple – they are folded flat, compressed into bundles, and are assembled on site.

See how to assemble Gabions here.


5.     How do you build Gabion retaining walls?

In order to build a stable retaining wall, it is important to understand the forces acting on a wall and to perform stability calculations.

See more about the construction and diagrams of Gabion retaining walls here.


6.     How do I use Gabions to help prevent soil erosion?

We need to solve the problems of slope instability and soil erosion in a way that is environmentally sustainable.

A gabion solution impacts minimally on the environment.

Find out more about mitigating soil erosion here.


7.     What types of Gabion solutions can be used for river protection / training?

These are some gabion solutions that will protect riverbanks from eroding and flooding:

  • Longitudinal gabion protection
  • Channel linings
  • Gabion weirs
  • Gabion groynes
  • Bridge protection

Find out more about training rivers / water courses here.


8.     Where can you buy Gabions and how much do they cost?

Gabions can be purchased directly from our factory and delivered to your job site or nearest port. This is ideal for Civil Engineers and Contractors involved with construction projects because it is cost effective.

They can also be bought through intermediaries and traders. We welcome enquiries from dealers / traders throughout Africa.

Countries we supply directly with Gabions and geosynthetic products:

Throughout Africa

Do you have a question you’d like to ask us?

You can contact us here to ask your question.

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