Introduction: Gabion Stone Retaining Wall, Hillside Pond Optional
A gabion is simply a wire basket filled with stones. They can have many different uses, and if you have a stone yard nearby, they can be quite affordable. My 20 cubic feet were only $80, to create this 30’ long 2’ high wall!
I also make spiral shaped herb gardens with a similar technique. The possibilities are endless, and the skill level required is quite low! When you want an affordable stone wall, that is very attractive, and long lasting, this might be the project for you!
Post hole digger, or gas auger, level, 4x6 pressure treated posts, Concrete for posts. 1x1” galvanized welded wire fencing(I used 24” tall, 4 rolls of 15’ length). Lag bolts with large head, or washers +than 1”. A roll of cheap landscape fabric (to help hold soil behind wall). Stones of your choice. A crowbar, staple gun.
Step 1: Pick Your Location!
Where do you want to build a wall? I like to follow the contour of the land, just at the base of a steep spot I want to flatten out behind the wall. I used a laser level to place flags every 5 feet on contour (level). My wall is 30’ long, so I needed 7, 4’ tall posts (half to be buried).
Step 2: Flatten Area
You will be putting the welded wire fencing on both sides of your posts, which will make a 3.5” gap that will be filled with your stones. It’s important to have a nice flat section for the bottom of your fence to set on the ground. You also will need soil to put behind your new wall when it’s finished, so whatever you dig out can be tossed up hill.
Step 3: Dig Post Holes
I placed posts 5’ apart to support the wire fencing. A gas powered auger really makes this step easier. Just be sure the length of your fence works with the spacing of your posts. Since I used 15’ rolls of fencing, 5’ apart, on center, worked for me. There will also be internal wire supports, so the weight of the stone doesn’t make your wall bulge.
Step 4: Pour Concrete and Plumb Posts.
I used about 40lbs of concrete for each post, and used a 2’ level to make sure they were plumb.
Step 5: Attach Fencing to Back Side of Post.
I used 1.5” lag bolts with a 1.25” wide galvanized washer with an electric drill to attach wire to the back of the fence. Make sure to keep your fencing level with the tops of your posts. The back of your wall will be back filled, so the spacing doesn’t have to be perfect, or quite so pretty on the backside. I had a helper with a crowbar to help keep the wire tight, but a couple ratchet straps could work, if your working alone. If your fencing is a tad wavy from unrolling it, don’t stress too much, the weight of the stones will straighten it out in the end, just attach it as tight as possible. Once the fencing is attached to your posts, you can attach your landscape fabric with a staple gun (to posts), on top of the fence (backside of wall) to help keep your soil from “leaking” through the stone overtime.
Step 6: Make and Attach Internal Supports
With scrap welded wire fencing, make supports that will hold the maximum distance between your two layers of fencing at 4”. To do this, count 4, 1” squares on your fencing, and then cut 2” wide pieces with 1” wire tabs on both sides (just short of the next weld) that will be folded around your two main fences (that are attached to both sides of your posts).
You will add these wire supports once you’ve attached the fencing to the back of your posts. Once they are attached, one every 6” of height vertically, and every foot horizontally, you are ready to attach the fencing to the front side of your posts. Just lay the internal supports flat, so they stay out of the way, they should swing like a hinge.
Step 7: Attach Front Fence Section(s) and Attach Supports
Since the front fencing sections will be visible, the symmetrical placement of the lag bolts/washers will be more important. I recommend 5 bolts per post (or every 6”). You can attach all of the front fence sections before attaching the internal supports. With the internal supports already attached to the back fence sections, you just need to swing the internal supports to the front sections as close to perpendicular as possible, poke your ends/tabs through front fence and folding around the wires of front fencing, making the maximum gap between the two fencing layers 4”.
Step 8: Fill With Stone!
The moment you’ve been waiting for! The beauty of your retaining wall gets revealed as you start adding the stone between your two layers of fencing. Let me know if you have questions, or what you think of this project!
Step 9: Add Ends, Backfill With Good Soil
In order to completely backfill soil all the way to the top of the ends of the wall, I added 4x6 posts, tipped on there sides, cut at an angle back into the hillside. The lowest piece was 10” long, angle cut, ground leveled, then screwed to the end post with 3” screws. Each post stacked on top was 10” longer than the previous, and screwed to the end post, and to the one below.
Participated in the
Stone, Concrete, Cement Challenge