Gabion Cladding

6 Materials
2 Weeks

We did some Gabion walls in our garden and thought it would look nice if we could have our house clad in Gabion. We started with the garage entrance and front wall of the house.
We bought some reject wire mesh (used to hold electrical cable) and using a bolt cutter, we cut it to size. The mesh normally comes in 3 meter lengths and can be shaped once cut. I found a bolt cutter and fence pliers worked best
We then used a drill and wall anchors to anchor the mesh to the wall. We tried hold down clamps and washers on the mesh but found that just cutting the mesh and shaping it around the wall anchor was the easiest.
Once the mesh was secure, we filled the cavity between the wall and the mesh with crusher rock / ballast.
Getting the rock to the wall was hard labour and best if you have someone to help. I was grateful for my fiancé who put some gloves on(definitely recommended) and helped me to get the cavities filled
Once all the cavities were filled, we had to rinse off the wall. We are still working on an idea to get the top of the wall trimmed off.
The boundary walls in front of our house was a bit low so we made gabion baskets with the mesh and raised the wall another metre.
Another project was the balustrade on our verandah / porch. I was very dull and lacked character so we built gabion boxes around the uprights and filled them with crusher rock and placed a stepping stone on the top to finish it off.
The next few images are of the gabion facade at the front entrance of our house. We used an off-cut channel as a lintel and bolted the mesh onto it
A view of the mesh bolted onto the channel.
Another angle before we started filling it with rock
After filling the baskets, and putting some pebbles around the entrance it started to really take shape. We still have more cladding to do and we will post more on those as we finish.
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Have a question about this project?

26 questions
  • Kate Lorenzen
    on Feb 4, 2018

    How do you keep the wire mesh from eventually rusting?
    • Jean
      on Feb 4, 2018

      either it's galvanized and will not rust - or maybe they intend for it to weather naturally?
    • Kate Lorenzen
      on Feb 4, 2018

      I have a little horse farm out in the country and after using the welded mesh, which rusted after 2 years and started crumbling after 4, around my fruit trees to keep deer away in the winter, I went with galvanised. It's lasted a bit longer 'tho is showing signs of rust and weakening as well. Stainless steel might have a longer lifespan, if it's even made (and is affordable)....but would think that'd have a weathering limit too.
      Would love to create a low fenceline along the outside border of my bird & butterfly garden using this method, with all the rocks that're out here 😊
  • Julesatlanta
    on Feb 4, 2018

    HHow did you reinforce the structure to handle the weight?
    • Ferdi
      on Feb 6, 2018

      Hi Jules. Where the walls were freestanding I hammered long steel pegs into the ground and built up the gabions around it. On the retaining walls I also made sure that besides the steel pegs, I also made the base wider. There is a website that has great information. Where I just used it as cladding I drilled holes into the wall and used wall anchor screws. The cladding did not require much reinforcing, maybe because the majority of the stress is in a downward direction.
  • Charo Toro
    on Feb 4, 2018

    How to prevent animals such as salamanders, cockroaches and other vermin from getting into rocks?
    • Anita Elaine
      on Feb 4, 2018

      Shattered ancient seashells are called "diatomaceous earth" or DE. Farmers use the powder in silos to stop crawlers from eating the grain. The powdered shells is VERY drying and scratches critters. It is a passive insecticide and merely acts as worming if your pet eats any.
    • Ferdi
      on Feb 5, 2018

      That's really good to know, thank you. The cladding has been up for about a year now and so far we have only seen a few small lizards. I guess they help to keep the balance with the other insects. I like the idea that it is a passive insecticide. I will be keeping an eye open to see if the situation changes and am sure to follow your suggestion.
  • Dave Page
    on Feb 4, 2018

    Why the razor (barbed) wire on the top of part of the wall - - (intruders,animals ???)
    • Trudy
      on Feb 4, 2018

      He lives in South Africa. No predators wanted lol.
    • Ferdi
      on Feb 5, 2018

      lol, Thanx Trudy. Unfortunately South Africa has a high crime rate and especially during building operations, the crime is a higher
  • Sheila Bishop
    on Feb 5, 2018

    So it just stays there in the mesh? I’m not quite understanding if that’s the finished product. Would be gorgeous without the mesh.
    • Ferdi
      on Feb 5, 2018

      Hi Sheila
      It will stay in the mesh. Cladding it with cement would've created a different effect that, while it has its own beauty, wasn't what we aimed for.
    • Ronnadaye Hurst Sackuvich
      on Feb 6, 2018

      I think it would have been better if you would have painted the mesh a rust color so it would not stand out but blend in other than that I love the idea.
    • Barbara Dooley
      on Feb 24, 2018

      I agree with Sheila Bishop. It would be stunning if only the mesh were not so visible. If it were painted black, would that make it less obvious?

    • Vicky Corey
      on Mar 24, 2018

      This is what they wanted.

    • Mel Mason
      on Mar 28, 2018

      I think that while maybe it isn't everyone's taste in style, you can DEFINITELY appreciate the amount of work you guys put into this project! Well done!

  • Jho32573344
    on Feb 5, 2018

    I love your idea. Does it help with insulating your house?
    • Ferdi
      on Feb 6, 2018

      Hi Jhoffknecht. South African houses are not nearly as well insulated as the houses in the rest of the world. It is probably because we have amazing weather almost all year round. Having said that I must admit that the house does feel a bit cooler in the summer and it has reduced the wind significantly
    • Jho32573344
      on Feb 6, 2018

      Thank you. Here in Northern Nevada our weather is hot in summer and very cold in winter. I am looking for cheap ways to insulate my home.
      Thank you for sharing your DIY
    • Ann Meyerhoff
      on Feb 7, 2018

      If you put a brick siding on the outside of your house without good insulation between the house and the brick for summer, you will heat the house as the sun heats them in the day. However, if you put insulation in between, it should keep your home cooling in the summer and warmer in the winter, as it does with the brick. Check with an area home improvement store or contractor before you get started though.
  • Miranda
    on Feb 11, 2018

    Where do you get all the rocks?
    • Ferdi
      on Jun 29, 2018

      Hi Mir24009045

      I missed your question so my apologies for the late reply. We live on the Gold reef and there are a number of quarries who process the rock for the building industry. Recently I met someone who used left over broken bricks which he then tumbled to fill the gabion.

  • Jan Jurie Nel
    on Jun 29, 2018

    Ferdi if you don't mind me asking, where'd you buy the reject mesh wire? We're also looking at doing something similar in Pretoria.

    • Ferdi
      on Jun 29, 2018

      Hi Jan Jurie. I bought this from O-line which was a reject batch on a line they discontinued. Unfortunately it is expensive if you buy new product. They have a branch in Pretoria (0128031803). You can speak to Hannes and maybe he can assist. Other companies you can try is Steeledale Mesh and Allen's Meshco

  • David Luca
    on Jul 10, 2018

    Looks awesome. i would be interested seeing the durability results long term. Have you calculated the resulting costs for the project?

    • Ferdi
      on Jul 11, 2018

      Hi David.

      That is a good question and I must be honest in that I have not done the calculation. The first gabion retaining wall we built on the property, was about five years ago and if I compare it to the brick retaining walls we built, it is clear that the gabion will probably outlive any brickwork....and probably us too

  • Jim E. Aspin II
    on Sep 22, 2018

    Any issues w insects or other critters wanting to make homes in the rocks?

  • Jvreming
    on Sep 22, 2018

    Will water get trapped between the rocks and the wall creating moisture problems?

    • Bijous
      on Sep 22, 2018

      Hi. Looks like Ferdi lives in South Africa. They have a problem getting it to rain in that drought stricken part of the world.

  • Marilyn Peters
    on Sep 22, 2018

    Had this helped with insulating your home?

    • Ferdi
      on Sep 25, 2018

      Hi Marilyn

      We are blessed with short winters and long summers. From my travels, I have noticed that South African homes are very poorly insulated by comparison with other homes around the world. From my observation it has reduced the heat build-up on the walls but in my case the walls were not the problem….most of my heat was from the roof and larger windows I fitted.

  • Bonnyjean06
    on Sep 22, 2018

    Are there any issues with the steele rusting? Or would this be something just for a dry climate? Not for say Florida?

    • Ferdi
      on Sep 25, 2018

      Hi Bonnyjean

      It is always a good idea to protect steel against the elements, especially coastal areas. I was lucky in that the steel was already Hot Dipped Galvanised and that the area we live in is dry so the risk of rust is minimum. If rust is a potential issue, it would be a good idea to have a chat to some of the construction companies in your area to see what they do. Depending on the area, you can combat rust by painting, rubberising, pre-galvanising, hot-dip galvanising....beyond this, you are looking at changing the material to either stainless steel or a composite

  • Diana
    on Sep 22, 2018

    I love it! Need to know more. So the wire stays up like this? How's it much is the mesh?

    • Ferdi
      on Sep 25, 2018

      Hi Diana

      The mesh I bought from an electrical support system company. The price was good because it was a reject batch and they sold it at scrap value. I am not sure, but in the US, the equivalent company would be like Unistrut. You might also be able to get the mesh at companies that manufacture mesh for the building industry or chat to companies in your area that do Gabion retaining walls. The mesh that is generally available at hardware shops, might not be suitable. Because the mesh is a so strong and comes in 3m lengths, it was easy for me to attach the mesh to the wall using nail-in-anchors. It has been up for a few years now and has lasted well.

      What I would recommend is to have the picture in your mind of what you want, and on you travels, look for options that will help you achieve your goal. In my case it just happened that I saw the mesh available at the price I was willing to pay. Trying to do this using new material and purpose made would have been too costly for me.

  • Irene Baldwin
    on Sep 22, 2018

    I Love This :) !!!

    I have 2 questions :

    • What about water collecting inbetween the facade and your home walls ?

    • What about high winds ?

    Thanks for sharing, it’s Beautiful and Classy :) !


    • Ferdi
      on Sep 25, 2018

      Hi Irene

      Its a good question. So far the water has drained out easily. Since we live on the side of a hill, the wind can at times be quite strong and the rock has actually reduced the maintenance on the house considerably. In the past I had to paint the house every five years.

  • Cdemby Tony
    on Sep 22, 2018

    Very nice, although it requires hard and heavy work.

    Where would one gather that many rocks? not in most cities.

    My nearest fertilizer company sells rock but by the pound.

    I bought just one 5 LB rock for decoration and it was expensive.

    • Becky
      on Sep 24, 2018

      I can't imagine what the rocks cost. I just paid for some to put around some shrubs and gasped at the total cost,

    • Larry Lewis
      on Sep 24, 2018

      I know it's insane. I thought about just going to a nearby canyon and collecting them off the ground.

    • Valleycat1
      on Sep 24, 2018

      We recently built a new house and had to put in a rock driveway (until we are ready to pave over it). A truck load of rock, delivered, was a couple hundred dollars. Instead of a landscaping type place, check around for independent truck haulers who do driveways or rock hauling. Cost varies by area of the country. Lava rock is lighter weight and relatively inexpensive.

    • Ferdi
      on Sep 25, 2018

      Hi Tony

      I think the answer is in the other posts. Buying from Nurseries and landscaping places will be too expensive. I also got my rock directly from the quarry. Also look at other options tumbled brick, lava rock as mentioned in one of the answers.

    • Renee Vlna
      on Sep 25, 2018

      Most quarries, rivers, creeks and other areas have laws against removal of rocks.stones and such. It disrupts the natural flow. You're just one person. Imagine if everyone just went and took what they wanted. That would mess things up. Ask these companies where they get theirs and check with the places to see what you can work out.

  • Spacey
    on Sep 23, 2018

    I suggest dark railroad ties for the tops?

    • Liz R.
      on Sep 24, 2018

      That would be a lot of weight on top.

    • Ferdi
      on Sep 25, 2018

      Hi Dxm10770285

      I agree that the top needs something to finish it off. A few ideas have crossed my mind. Thank you for the idea

    • Ferdi
      on Sep 25, 2018

      Hi Liz

      You have a point. I am hoping that if the weight is not concentrated in one area, that I would be able to put something on the top to finish it off. Thank you for your thought on this

    • Kristie Foreman
      on Sep 29, 2018

      i think finding a way to roof it to match your house like the terra-cotta tiles would look great

    • Melissa
      on Sep 29, 2018

      I agree with the vase comment. Way too big! Maybe something smaller with a pop of color?

    • Cristi Roe
      on Sep 29, 2018

      Railroad ties are smelly poison creosote

    • Jackie
      on Oct 22, 2019

      And----they weigh over 200 lbs

    • Maxine Waller
      on Oct 23, 2019

      I LOVE THE VASE! Perfect scale and color for my eyes.

  • Sandra Bock
    on Sep 29, 2018

    If you wanted the stone effect why not use cement to hold the stones in place?

    • Ferdi
      on Oct 1, 2018

      Hi Sandra

      Using cement with the rock was an option but we wanted the Gabion effect which was inspired by a gabion retaining wall we had built

    • Chris
      on Mar 11, 2019

      This gives it a more natural look and saves money not having to use cement. I believe that was kinda the u don’t have to dig firings so deep.

  • Carol Flores
    on Dec 26, 2018

    How do you get the rocks to stay up there without the mesh?? Some kind of glue that you forgot to mention?

    • Terry
      on Oct 22, 2019

      The mesh stays...that is the look. The definition of Gabrion: a wirework container filled with rock, broken concrete, or other material, used in the construction of dams, retaining walls, etc.

  • David
    on Oct 22, 2019

    Won't the mesh wire holding the rocks rust over time? Just wondering if that is the intended look you are going after long-term?

  • Sharleen
    on Oct 22, 2019

    That looks amazing . Where did you get the rocks from? Beach rocks ????

    • Daisy@TX
      on Oct 22, 2019

      Sharleen rocks or river rock as they are called can be purchased where landscaping rocks and materials are sold.

  • Pam-ella
    on Oct 22, 2019

    Do you live next to a prison?

  • D
    on Oct 23, 2019

    Very ambitious and a very unique look! What about rock weight pulling on the walls you have attached the wire framework to? And did you support the new stone facade layers with a stone or cement base pad at ground level? Just wondering how I might do something similar but wouldn't want to pull my walls out of kilter from the weight. Ty!

  • Sharleen
    on Oct 23, 2019

    I'm in South Africa. Where did you find the rocks

  • Sandi F.B.
    on Oct 29, 2019

    So the wire cages are clearly visible ALL the time? No mortar used ? I’d be worried about humidity causing them to rust in a few years. Very very ambitious project

    • Robin
      on Oct 30, 2019

      That's the point....looking when shiny copper turns greenish after awhile

  • Bob Savage
    on Oct 29, 2019

    Where do you buy the gabion mesh? Where would I find the mesh you used?


Join the conversation

2 of 146 comments
  • Heather Ruiz
    on Oct 30, 2019

    Very nice!!! Your hard work definitely shows beautifully. Looks like youve spent a small fortune in stone are they cheaper in Africa than in the US? Amazing.

  • Rae Koontz
    on Oct 31, 2019

    LOVE IT Udid a AWESOME job U guys should be very proud of it

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