Build Rock Walls – With NO Concrete!

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gabion-retaining-wallDo you have a bunch of rocks around your property and wish they were doing something more useful than just sitting there?  How about the need for a retaining wall or a privacy fence?  Well, with just a little patience and a very little money you can put those two things together and make that wall out of those rocks – with no concrete work involved!

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That may sound like crazy talk, but you may not be familiar with a fast growing method of building and landscaping called the gabion.  Gabion is an Italian word meaning “big cage” and that’s just what it is – a wire mesh cage, usually filled with rock, but as you can see from the examples below, they can hold so much more.

You can buy pre-fabricated gabions from several companies, but they are simple to make.  Please don’t use this article as an instruction for construction – do your research and, now that you know what gabions are, you will find plenty of step-by-step instructions that will walk you through the quick and safe construction of these cool building blocks.

You can build with fat wire cages and stack them on one another, wiring them together as you go.  It’s not about just throwing the rocks (or whatever you use to stuff them) in the wire cage.  It’s a bit of an art to make sure they are packed tightly and consistently to achieve a “pleasing” visual effect.  You can build the gabions taller and of less width, but that will require the gabions to built around a steel post set in concrete.  (The steel post hides within the gabions as you stack them.)

The instructions we found most helpful call for either 3 inch by 3 inch or 2 inch by 2 inch steel mesh.  This type of mesh comes in large pieces (usually 5 feet by 12 feet) so it’s kind of a hassle to get them to your house if you don’t own a truck.  Cut the mesh to size and connect the sides and bottom together with either spirals of wire or you can even use rebar ties – which are cheap.  This type of mesh is also known as cattle panel.

Examples of Building With Gabions






  1. This all sounds cool, diy, and green but I don’t understand one thing.
    It’s rather temporary compared to something that is going to be bound together with cement.
    Cement lasts for (hundreds of) years, far longer than galvanized wire ever will.

    Aren’t you setting yourself for rebuilding all these walls in a decade?
    One of the first ideas of all this DIY & Green, I’m assuming here, would be to make it sustainable so that over the life of the project it’s better than the alternatives. After all, reusable shopping bags take more to manufacture than a throw away plastic bag but over their lifetime it’s a net win to go with reusable.

  2. Elaine Hurst says:

    Great idea

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