11 cool ways to use rock and wire in your garden


I’ve always loved gabions – those wire cages filled with rock that are used in riverbeds to fight erosion or as retaining walls alongside roads. In fact my family have little jokes at my expense when we go for a drive. “Oh, look,” they’ll chorus in voices usually reserved for game-spotting. “There’s a retaining wall!”

Well, Pinterest has proved this week that others share my impeccable taste and I’m delighted to share these finds. And just a tiny bit smug too.

Hold me back

Picture pinned from Badec Bros Deco (in Pretoria) via Flickr

A terraced lawn is kept impeccably in place with rows of gabions. These clever structures are made of wire cages, known in the industry as baskets, which are filled with rock of various sizes and colours to create the effect you’re looking for.

These patios rock

Pictures pinned from inspiredexteriors.com.au (left) and beachcomber26.blogspot.com

They’re part rock art, part industrial chic. Love the gabions on the left with a stone table top and railway-sleeper seats. The mixed colours of the rock look great against the brick paving. On the other hand, the white river rocks used for the seating on the right are a striking contrast to the strong wall colour.


Picture pinned from landscapingnetwork.com

This low gabion wall serves a dual purpose – it cordons off the large garden bed and can be used as seating when you’re entertaining outdoors. Love the fountain in the middle of the bed, lined with the same stone that’s used for the wall, and the stone gutter between the patio and pathway.

Picture pinned from houzz.com

Another gorgeous use of a gabion wall. The stone is perfect with succulents – they really look as if they belong together.

Pillars of strength

Pictures pinned from floradoragardens.blogspot.com (left) and justimagine-ddoc.com

Use gabion pillars singly or in pairs as pedestals for potted plants. Or create a cluster of pillars of various heights to display pots of succulents – they give instant height to low-growing plants. The structures are environmentally friendly and easy to maintain, so you get green points too.

Dam, that looks good!

Picture pinned from manufactum.com

A narrow gabion wall surrounds a plastic-lined dam with a fountain for a water feature with a farm feel.

More cool water features

Pictures pinned from expli.ce (left) and Badec Bros Deco (in Pretoria)

Two styles for a fountain spilling over a gabion pillar, one rustic, the other more sophisticated. The workings are quite simple: a pipe is put in position in the middle of each pillar before it’s filled with rock. The pipe is attached to a pump that draws water from the reservoir at the base.

Splash out

Picture pinned from Badec Bros Deco (Pretoria)

A super-stylish way to provide privacy plus the soothing sound of running water. Pretoria landscaping company Badec Bros Deco is responsible for this wall cum fountain, the ultimate in gabions for the garden.

– Alfie Steyn

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