Cheap DIY Gabion Baskets





Introduction: Cheap DIY Gabion Baskets

Gabion from Italian gabbione meaning "big cage" is just that. Generally you see these used in road side cuttings and more and more as landscape elements. These cages are not for everyone or everywhere. Making the cages is fiddly and best in Drier climates. I live in Boulder CO and after a major remodeling i ended up with a whole lot of rock. I looked into commercial gabion providers... (there are a few out there) and i couldn't swallow the $20-$30 a square foot price. I settled on standard 12 guage concrete reinforcement mesh you can buy in a 150' roll at Home Depot for $100 and winged the rest.

What you need

Concrete reinforcement mesh 150' roll


Tie wire


Lots of rocks


Step 1: Preparing the Cages

You can basically make anything as long as it's square and based on a 6" x 6" pattern. I settled for a standard block being 2' x 2.5' x 5'. The roll is 5 foot wide. I cut out all of the shapes including the top not shown in these photos. Next is a bit of a painful job.... Flattening out the reo. I make particular to cut the sides right down to the joint so as not leave sharp edges poking out. This is why i use pliers rather than heavier cutters as the cut is close and clean.

The one i'm doing in this instance is stepped so i just cut it down to size ready to install.

Step 2: Wiring Up the Sides

Wiring up the sides is fairly self explanatory... I use a 4-5" piece of tie-wire for all the 1-1 joints. Where there are 3 joints meeting (like on the corners) i use a 5-6" piece. I wire all the sides together individually leaving the top corners where the top will join untied. Best to do the corners all together. I have found that including a middle break in the basket helps it keep it's shape when full of rocks. I also include another wire stabilizer in each of the sections. You'll see it in the filling stage.

Step 3: Preparing the Site

The best thing about these baskets it the permanent impermanence of them. They really are just big wire baskets of rock easily turned back into a pile of rocks and some mesh. Because of the nature of the structure the cages will bend and move if the earth does so you don't have to run plumb bobs or any serious site prep. Make sure they are basically level as they look much better that way. I wire each successive basket together to keep them level and closely meshed.

Step 4: Filling the Baskets With Rocks

Filling the baskets is a bit nerdy and can take a while. I find that you want to use the bigger rocks on the outer edges. I start filling all the way around the edge and then back fill the middle with smaller rocks. This makes the walls really solid and less prone to getting misshaped by the weight.

You can see the inner chamber wire supports i thread through in the first two photo's here.

I fill the front (Joined to another basket) edge first and then try to have the next basket ready as i'm filling up the back building it's front connection together for best results.

I have 400 sq feet of rocks currently in these baskets around my front and back yard and living in a low humidity non coastal environment i imagine these will be here long after i'm gone.

So far it's only cost me $200 and my time... Oh and a few cuts and scratches.

I'll post the photos of the cage i built today being filled so you can see how i match the ends together.



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    Thanks for sharing your project. I've been interested in gabion walls for sometime now. I had initially considered using the galvy wire you found at HD but felt that is was too flimsy. I found a great source of material to build very sturdy and robust gabions. Use Cattle Panels for the structure itself. These are sturdy and thick gauge but yet still pliable to work with. Next, to assemble the gabion, use these wonderful Wire Panel Connector Hinges which removes the majority of the labor out of this project.

    2 replies

    looks like the link for the wire panel connector hinges is the same link for the cattle panels. is there another link for the connector hinges? Thanks.

    Sure... agreed. Using these items would greatly increase the strength and ease but at $13 a panel and $3 per connector the price would also go up considerably. I contained 600 sq feet of rock for $200. Each box using these items would be almost $100. My requirement was cheap and reliable. There are commercial systems that are similarly priced and better suited.

    I love this idea but need a different way to connect the panels. What do you think of the C-ring / C-clip connectors?

    Do you think the spiral wire connectors would work on the concrete reinforcement mesh?

    2 replies

    Sure... There's no reason why you couldn't use any industrial closure system. My brief was cheap so I used tie wire. My walls have so far been in for 3 years and all is good.

    Thank you :)


    Rather than buying rolls, most concrete supply stores also sell wire mesh in sheets so they do not need to be flattened.

    Any concerns about failure due to corrosion of the non-galvanized mesh?

    2 replies

    Scott... where i live the humidity is so low... average of around 40%. The 12 gauge mesh is the least of my worries... The main weak point would be the tie wire. After 2 years the wire that ties the joints has a light surface rust. There are in a standard rock container 60 tie wire joints and 4 more structural wire cross members. I'm not so worried about galvanizing.... I might if i lived in California.

    I live in rainy Pennsylvania, literally in the Rust Belt!

    I cut this stuff with a small pair of bolt cutters, may not get as close, but easy.

    2 replies

    Bolt cutters certainly work, The protruding edge can be nasty though. Once the claw cuts the edge it turns it into a knife and if it extends beyond the cage can catch children and give them a nasty scratch. I recommend Hank's idea of using a small hand held angle grinder to buff them down.

    As the owner of a nasty scar on my abdomen from a cattle panel that I cut with bolt cutters, I like the idea of grinding away the sharp edges.

    I have liked the aesthetic of them when well done, like yours is, never knew they had a proper name though. You might try an abrasive angle grinder or a rotary tool to cut and flush the wire joints at the same time, much easier on the hands than pliers.

    2 replies

    Yeah... Any method that works. It is best to cut those wire joints nice and flush as spiky ends make nasty scratches. The pliers get heavy after too long but are really good at getting the cut close to the joint. I'm sure a grinder would make the project a little noisier but a lot easier.

    Yeah... Any method that works. It is best to cut those wire joints nice and flush as spiky ends make nasty scratches. The pliers get heavy after too long but are really good at getting the cut close to the joint. I'm sure a grinder would make the project a little noisier but a lot easier.