Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Cottage&Gardens.com : Photographed by Peter Murdock


Derived from an old Italian word, gabbione, meaning "big cage," gabions are enclosures that can be filled with any sort of inorganic material: rock, brick, or concrete debris. The cages were originally wicker, but now are usually a welded mesh made of sturdy galvanized, coated, or stainless steel wire that won't bend when filled with rocks. In landscaping, gabion walls can support an earth wall, stabilize the soil, prevent erosion, and more. 

Wood Framed Gabions: eclecticlivinghome.wordpress.com
The most common civil engineering use of gabions is to stabilize shorelines, stream banks or slopes against erosion. Other uses include retaining walls, temporary flood wallssilt filtration from runoff, for small or temporary and permanent dams, river training, or channel lining. They may be used to direct the force of a flow of flood water around a vulnerable structure. Gabions are also used as fish barriers on small streams.

Capped Gabion by Kettelkamp & Kettelkamp 
In the medieval era, gabions were round cages with open tops and bottoms, made from wickerwork and filled with earth for use as military fortifications. These early military gabions were used to protect field artillery gunners.

Current Project on Tweed Blvd Upper Grandview, NY
That Brings us to Design Farm Group's latest project here on Tweed Blvd in Upper Grandview New York. This Gabion was the perfect solution to a yard with a steep slopes  and considered environmentally sensitive. Using gabions to retain the soil was a natural solution. The client wished to increase her level property space with walls. This would be used for the children to play, where space was non existent. The only flat area was a large deck that floats above the trees overlooking the Hudson River. She wished to keep the planting to a minimum so the kids can do their thing but dress up the industrial wall in a minimal way. The only thing behind the wall will be a cedar post fence with cable wire in between each post. This is a great example of practical and creative ideologies that have come together to create a beautiful solution. 

Constructed by Partner of Design Farm Group

This particular Gabion was crafted by using galvanized steel cages and local light stones. This project has really been a labor of love. This is a project here at Design Farm Group we are very excited about because it is something we haven't seen used in abundance on the east coast. Perhaps not the gabion itself but what will be planted in conjunction with the wall. 

Sedum Green Roof at homeli.co.uk

If you have been reading about gardening or landscape design over the past year I'm sure you've stumbled upon the concept of a green roof.  green roof or living roof is a roof of a building that is partially or completely covered with vegetation and a growing medium, planted over a waterproofing membrane. It may also include additional layers such as a root barrier and drainage and irrigation systems.

Sedum and grasses being delivered to job site.

Have you guessed where we're going with this yet? A living "green roof" atop our Gabion wall. The planting of sedum atop the gabion was a perfect solution to soften the look of the wall. Sedum was the plant of choice for this retaining wall as it has shallow root systems, doesn't need too much water or attention at all. Along with the sedum some ornamental grasses will be scattered amongst the fence to soften the look. It will also grow out to become a natural carpet.

Wall getting prepared for planting.

The finished installation...

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