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How to make a mini gabion

by timber press on October 22, 2014

in Craft, Gardening

All images: Kelly Fitzsimmons

All images: Kelly Fitzsimmons

Gabions, which are metal mesh baskets that hold rocks or concrete, have historically been a tool employed by the likes of civil engineers. But these industrial building blocks have come into vogue for uses beyond securing structures and edifices.

Today, gabion cages are regularly put to use in garden design as an alternative to other retaining wall materials. Additionally, smaller versions can become footings for arbors, benches, planters, or even the foundations of modern water features. On a small scale, you can create a candle holder or base of a planted centerpiece that captures the gabion look and construction.



  • 1 sheet of 1⁄2-inch- (1.3-centimeter-) square metal mesh (called hardware cloth or hail screen)
  • Wire cutters
  • Narrow gauge wire (that can be easily wound like thread)
  • Filler (I used moss and black beach pebbles, but you can use sea shells or rocks of any sort—even feathers)

Diagram 550STEPS
1. Cut the screen into two pieces. One will measure 6 squares wide by 22 squares long. The other will be T-shaped in the measurements shown (see diagram above).

2. Roll the rectangular piece in a circle so at least one set of squares is overlapping; secure by threading the wire through the seam.

3. Fold the T-shaped piece into a box, leaving one flap open. Secure the sides with wire. You will have a short lip hanging over the lid to help secure the top after the gabion is filled.

4. Insert the center circle into the box and secure it with wire.

5. You can either fill the gabion at this point, or wait until after you have cut the center circle out. (I couldn’t wait, so I filled it first, then cut.)

6. The finished gabion can be filled with just about anything.



greayer_rRochelle Greayer is editor of Pith + Vigor, creator of the popular blog Studio ‘g’, co-editor of Leaf Magazine, and weekly columnist for Apartment Therapy. A graduate of the English Gardening School in London, she spent ten years designing gardens for international clients and earned a coveted medal from the Royal Horticultural Society for her garden at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower show. You may also be interested in the author’s own Web site, studiogblog.com.


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“Offers needed guidance for designing outdoor space in a way that helps gardeners bring unique personality to their living, growing outdoor décor.”—Publishers Weekly

1 Laurin Lindsey October 24, 2014 at 7:19 pm

This is a great idea! I love gabions and recently designed a gabion fountain. I never thought of small gabions. I love my new issue of Pith and Vigor…… Rochelle is a wealth of great ideas!

2 Brian Ridder October 27, 2014 at 12:44 pm

Thanks so much for the compliment, Laurin. We’d love to see a picture of your gabion fountain, is it posted somewhere online?

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