Garden design with gabions is very trendy. Here we explain step by step how you can build your own personal bench from gabions.
What would the home garden be without a comfortable place to sit, rest, put your legs up and look at the fruits of your labour in the garden? Garden benches come in a wide variety of colours and shapes, and the materials are also different. The range extends from the simple plastic bench to the noble teak bench or the nostalgically playful metal bench. If modern alternatives are sought for the garden seat, more and more concrete or stone play a role. Now you can find out how to build a garden bench from gabions yourself.
What are gabions anyway?
A gabion is nothing else than a stone basket, a wire basket which can hold stones. Gabions are often used in landscaping or road construction. They are used to build retaining walls or soundproofing systems. This provides an alternative to conventional dry stone walls. Gabions can also be used very well as an alternative to solid concrete walls or stone walls.
Advantages of gabions?
Gabions have long since found their way into domestic gardens. They prove to be true all-rounders and cut a fine figure as fences, walls, privacy screens or flexible decorative and fastening elements. There are probably cheaper solutions, but the advantages of gabions speak for themselves.
You decide on a weather-resistant material that offers a clear advantage over a wooden fence. The stone baskets are not only robust, they also require hardly any maintenance. Wood must be cleaned and impregnated regularly. Gabions are quickly brought back into shape with a water hose. A whole range of decorative possibilities can be implemented in the garden. Walls, fences, columns, planters, raised beds or the bank described here are only a small part of it.
What are gabions filled with?
During filling, a distinction can be made between pouring baskets and masonry stone baskets. Loading baskets are completely filled with ballast. Basalt or granite are mostly used. Baskets of masonry stones are also filled with gravel, but on the visible fronts they are veneered with slabs or masonry stones. In the garden there are no limits to the filling of the gabions, pebbles can be used as well as clay bricks, limestone, wooden parts or empty bottles. If you like, you can illuminate your gabions in different ways or upgrade them with climbing plants.
How are gabions filled correctly?
First of all, you will be sure to choose a material that suits you and the design of the garden bench and the rest of the ambience in the garden. Also pay attention to the size of the filling material, because it must not be too small, otherwise it will slip through the grid.
To prevent gaps from forming, the stones on the floor should be layered individually so that a closed surface is created. Fill the gabions from the outside to the inside by first piling up an outer edge and then filling this stable layer on the inside. Gaps can be avoided to a large extent. To ensure that the grille can be closed without problems, the closure should be particularly straight.
Build your own bench from gabions – step by step
What is needed?
- Gabions as required
- Filling material as required
- Floorboards for the seating area
- spotlights or other decorative elements as required
What to do?
- Preparing the substrate
- Assembly of gabions
- Filling the gabions
- Cutting the seat to size
- Fastening the seat surface
First select a location for the new garden bench. This should not automatically be your favourite place in the garden, because it is important to remember that the finished bench has a lot of weight and must therefore stand on a firm and stable surface. First level the surface to create a straight surface. Furthermore, the soil must be compacted, otherwise it can happen that the finished bench literally sinks into the soil.
“Tip: After compacting the soil, apply an additional layer of ballast.
Now the gabions are set up. The individual parts of the baskets must be connected to the spirals supplied for this purpose. Once the gabions have been assembled, fill in the stones as described above. If you would like to upgrade your garden bench and provide lighting, the spotlights can be integrated during the filling process.
Once the gabions have been filled, care must be taken to ensure a straight finish. The seat is now attached there. Cut the planks to size and provide the seat with wood protection. It is particularly decorative if you use the same wood for the gabion bench that may already have been used on the terrace or garden house. You can connect the seat with the gabions, for example, by screwing on the angles on the underside of the wooden planks.
Building a bench from gabions with backrest
The method described here is a simple bench with frame and seat. If you want a little more comfort, the construction can also be extended. Narrow gabions can thus be used as armrests. High wire baskets, which are placed at a slight angle to the seat, form the backrest. In order to achieve a harmonious overall appearance and to avoid sharp edges, wooden strips should also be attached to these gabions.
Further variation possibilities
We have already described the classic method of the gabion bench seat. This consists of wire mesh baskets as a substructure and a wooden board on top as a seat. Of course, large seating areas can also be designed. You connect several individual elements and also install a cladding of wooden boards. Afterwards, cushions and blankets are used to create a cosy feel-good atmosphere.
You can also simply attach two gabions to the sides and pull in a free-floating seat in the middle. This requires a stable substructure, which must be anchored in the two lateral gabions. The resulting side pillars can be clad with wood or used as a storage area. Planting is also possible.
Overview of the most popular versions of gabion benches
|Gabions as complete substructure||This is the method described above.
The benches are particularly stable and easy to set up.
|two gabions as end pieces||Here the gabions are only at the two ends.
The seat floats freely in the middle.
|three gabions over corner||This arrangement of the gabions creates a kind of corner bench.
This is particularly practical when a seating area on the terrace is to be designed.
|two gabions as flower columns||The gabions at the ends are worked here as flower columns and can be planted.
The seat also floats freely here.
Decoration ideas for gabion benches
The construction of the gabion bank has been completed. Now there are still some embellishments that can be used to perfectly set the stage for the bank. We have already mentioned the possibility of integrating spotlights into the gabions. If you failed to do this during filling and would have liked to have literally put the garden bench in the right light, use chains of lights. These can also be subsequently woven into the gabions.
“Tip: Solar light chains are particularly practical and save you the electricity connection.
In order to provide a visual eye-catcher, you decide on different types of rock for the filling. Light and dark stones alternate, creating a lively picture. If you place the stones in alternating light and dark stripes, additional dynamics are provided. What would a garden bench be without plants? As already mentioned, the gabions can be used as planters. But you can also use ivy, wine or other climbing plants around the wire baskets and, if they grow too lush, simply cut them to size.
“Tip: Seasonal planting is ensured if you hang plant pots in the gabions and equip them with the appropriate plants as the seasons change.
How can gabion benches be cleaned?
The gabion bench cannot do without wood. The seating area should be regularly glazed, preferably before the start of the gardening season. This protects the wood and makes it less vulnerable. You can also varnish the wooden planks in colour. This means less maintenance and gives you the opportunity to design a gabion bench in blue, green, grey or other trendy colours.
In the gabions dust, wilted leaves or dead insects settle with time. The fastest and easiest way to clean the gabions is with a high-pressure cleaner. The hard water jet reliably flushes out the dirt particles. If the stones have discoloured over time, they will look like new again when you remove the seat, remove the stones from the baskets, brush them individually, rinse them, let them dry and put them back in again. This may be a bit complicated, but the result is quite impressive.
I am Don Burke, one of the authors at My Garden Guide. I am a horticulturist that cultivates, grows, and cares for plants, ranging from shrubs and fruits to flowers. I do it in my own garden and in my nursery. I show you how to take care of your garden and how to perform garden landscaping in an easy way, step by step.I am originally from Sydney and I wrote in local magazines. Later on, I have decided, more than two decades ago, to create my own blog. My area of specialization is related to orchid care, succulent care, and the study of the substrate and the soil. Therefore, you will see many articles dedicated to these disciplines. I also provide advice about how to improve the landscape design of your garden.