Terms of the Trade: What Are Gabion Walls?

stone wall contained in metal mesh material

Gabion walls are made by caging one material with another. One common combination is a rock wall contained in metal fencing—this combination of raw elements with controlled structure creates a clean, natural effect popular in landscaping.

The term gabion comes from the Italian word "gabbione," which means "large cage," and the technique is also used for construction, civil engineering, and even military applications. Sometimes the materials used are as simple as sand or dirt in boxes or bags.

Erosion control and flooding prevention are among the most common uses for gabion structures, and indeed this is the purpose for which they were originally patented in the 19th century, but they can also be deployed as an affordable structural or aesthetic element.

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