Gabions, retaining wall any other options please?


I have a long sloping garden from the house to a small wooded area. The previous fence fell down due to old age or so I thought! However since having a new fence put up a few years ago it has become evident that there is soil erosion as the metal posts are now at the edge of this vanishing land! 

I also thought that a gabion wall may improve sound-proofing from the nearby dual carriageway.

In addition to this problem the high hedges, surrounding tall trees and fencing mean the garden rarely gets full sunlight and I find it really difficult to get clothes dry unless its a baking hot day such as today.

I was wondering how expensive it would be to use gabions to both act as a retaining wall and to build up the level of the garden? 

How deep would I need to go to provide retentive properties? Would this be particularly difficult in a wooded area? 

If I was to use gabions could i somehow attach fencing to the outer wall to give extra security?

Could I then plant trees/shrubs on top of the gabions?  What depth of soil would I need to be able to plant for example rhododendrons? Would I have to effectively create raised beds to accommodate this? How much length of the garden would I effectively lose to build this barrier and to provide sufficient depth and width for planting of substantial shrubs?

Can gabions be built upon for example a summerhouse or used safely as a driveway?

I imagine it would not be too difficult to lay a lawn over gabions by gradually decreasing the stones within the gabions with a mesh such as that to prevent weed growth to retain the stones, gravel then top soil before finally turf.

If you had an outer circuit of gabions could you then build up the centre with hardcore, then gravel and top soil to effectively give a sunken area to the garden?

Can gabions have decking laid on top of them? 

How stable are gabions?

Any other ideas and suggestions please ???


  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,115

    I think you are asking too much of this messageboard.  Sounds like you need some serious engineering help with good retaining walls.

  • T7T7 Posts: 7

    Ok, thanks. I didn't know if anyone on the forum might have their own personal experience of gabions which they could share with me. The questions were just random thoughts that popped into my head that i thought may be useful to know the answer to.

  • AmfoAmfo Posts: 1

    I'm putting gabions in my garden and filling them with bricks/blocks from the house we are demolishing. I have lined the fronts and visible sides with the roof tiles which are large flat plain grey concrete tiles (with some moss etc. on them). Yes they are boring but I intend to grow variegated ivy and climbing hydrangea up them. I'm sure there are many more plants we can use too. Hopefully, the demolition will cost less as we will have used most of the house, and the ground which will be dug out will spread on top so I can grow plants. I'm wondering how to build a bank on top of the edge to give extra soil to grow bigger plants to stop people falling off. I have left trough of a few bricks out near the edge of the gabion and replaced with soil near the edge to give more room for the roots to grow into. I would love to hear other suggestions - mine is still work in progress. It has been a huge amount of work so far, but something we can do ourselves.

  • T7T7 Posts: 7

    Lots to think about, not least the fairy princess tower approach to washing - somewhat lacking in the long golden locks department though! Thank you for taking the time to give such a detailed and in depth answer. Procrastination should be my middle name!

  • JubyJuby Posts: 1

    Can we turf over gabions?

  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICTPosts: 10,597

    So much depends on your geology, the cause of the slippage etc.

    Don't delay. Invest in the advice of an engineer with local connections and knowledge.

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • KT53KT53 Posts: 2,143

    As the end of the garden is being eroded you will need determine what is causing the erosion before attempting any long term solution.  If the ground is sliding down a slope, the weight of gabions might simply make the problem worse.  It does need professional investigation.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 43,657

    The original query was posted was in 2013.

    A related query was added to this thread by Juby today.

    Juby, to avoid confusion it might be a good idea to start a new thread for your query image

    No-one knows if you've done your housework, but everyone knows if you've done your gardening !
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