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Build a gabion bench yourself

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Garden design with gabions is very trendy. Here we explain step by step how to build your very own gabion bench.

© maho - Fotolia.com

What would the home garden be without a cozy seat, where you can relax, put your legs up and look at the fruits of your work in the garden. Garden benches have a wide variety of colors and shapes, and the materials also differ. The palette ranges from simple plastic benches to elegant teak benches or nostalgically playful metal benches. When looking for modern alternatives for the seat in the garden, more and more concrete or stone also play a role. You can now find out how you can easily build a gabion garden bench yourself.

What are gabions?

A gabion is nothing more than a stone basket, a wire basket that can hold stones. Gabions are often used in landscaping or road building. It is used to build retaining walls or soundproofing systems. An alternative to conventional dry stone walls has been found. Gabions can also be used very well as an alternative to solid concrete walls or stone walls.

Benefits of gabions?

Gabions have long since found their way into domestic gardens. They prove to be true all-rounders and cut a good figure as fences, walls, privacy screens or flexible decorative and fastening elements. There are probably cheaper solutions, but the benefits of gabions speak for themselves.

You choose a weather-resistant material, which, in contrast to the wooden fence, offers a clear advantage. The stone baskets are not only robust, they also require little maintenance. Wood must be cleaned and impregnated regularly. Gabions are quickly brought back into shape with a water hose. A whole range of decorative options can be implemented in the garden. Walls, fences, pillars, planters, raised beds or the bench described here are only a small part of it.

What are gabions filled with?

A distinction can be made between filling baskets and masonry baskets. Bulk baskets are completely filled with gravel. Basalt or granite are mostly used. Masonry baskets are also filled with gravel, but on the visible fronts they are veneered with slabs or masonry. There are no limits to the filling of the gabions in the garden, and 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 properly filled?

© Brilliant Eye - Fotolia.com

First of all, you will definitely choose a material that suits you and matches 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.

So that no gaps form, the stones on the floor should be layered individually so that a closed surface is created. Fill the gabions from the outside in by first layering an outer edge and then filling in this stable layer on the inside. Gaps can be largely avoided. So that the grille can be closed easily, the end should be carried out particularly straight.

Build a gabion bench yourself - step by step

What is needed?

  • Gabions as needed
  • Filling material as required
  • Floor boards for the seat
  • Spotlights or other decorative elements as required

What should I do?

  1. Prepare the surface
  2. Assembly of the gabions
  3. Filling the gabions
  4. Cutting the seat
  5. Attach the seat

First, choose a location for the new garden bench. This should not automatically be your favorite place in the garden, because it must be borne in mind that the finished bench has a lot of weight and must therefore stand on a firm and stable surface. First level the surface so that a flat surface is created. Furthermore, the soil must be compacted, otherwise it can happen that the finished bench literally sinks into the soil.

"Tip: After compaction of the soil, apply an additional layer of gravel.

Now the gabions are set up. For this purpose, the individual parts of the baskets must be connected with the spirals included in the scope of delivery. Once the gabions have been assembled, fill in the stones as already described. If you would like to upgrade your garden bench and provide lighting, the spotlights must be integrated when filling.

Once the gabions have been filled, ensure that they are straight. The seat is now attached there. Cut the planks to size and provide the subsequent seat with wood protection. It is particularly decorative if you use the same wood for the gabion bench that may have already been used on the terrace or in the garden shed. You can connect the seat to the gabions, for example, with screwed-on angles on the underside of the wooden floorboards.

Build a gabion bench with a 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 expanded. This way, narrow gabions can be used as armrests. High wire baskets, which are attached at a slight slope to the seat, form the backrest. To ensure a harmonious overall picture and no sharp edges, wooden slats should also be attached to these gabions.

More variation options

We have already described the classic gabion bench method. This consists of wire mesh baskets as a base 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 attach a panel made of wooden boards. Then a cozy, comfortable landscape is created with pillows and blankets.

You can also attach only 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 serve as a storage space. Planting is also possible.

The most popular versions of gabion banks at a glance

variantexplanation
Gabions as a complete substructureThis is the method just described. The benches are particularly stable and are easy to set up.
two gabions as end piecesHere the gabions are only at the two ends. The seat floats freely in the middle.
three gabions across cornersThis arrangement of the gabions creates a kind of corner bench. This is particularly practical if you want to design a seating area on the terrace.
two gabions as flower columnsThe gabions at the ends are worked 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 some beautification work can still serve to stage the bank perfectly. We have already pointed out the possibility of integrating spotlights into the gabions. If you missed this when filling and would now like to literally put the garden bench in the right light, help yourself with fairy lights. These can also be subsequently woven into the gabions.

"Tip: Solar fairy lights are particularly practical and save you the power connection.

In order to create an eye-catcher, you choose different types of rock when filling. If light and dark stones alternate, a vivid picture is created. If you insert the stones in alternating light and dark stripes, additional dynamism is provided. What would a garden bench be without plants? As already mentioned, the gabions can be used as plant pots. You can also place ivy, wine or other climbing plants around the wire baskets and, if they grow too abundantly, simply cut them accordingly.

"Tip: Seasonal planting is ensured by hanging plant pots in the gabions and equipping them with the appropriate plants as the seasons change.

How can gabion banks be cleaned?

The gabion bench cannot do without wood. The seat should be glazed regularly, preferably before the start of the garden season. This protects the wood and makes it less vulnerable. You can also paint the wooden floorboards in different colors. This means less maintenance and gives you the opportunity to design a gabion bench in blue, green, gray or other trend colors.

Over time, dust, dead leaves or dead insects settle in the gabions. The fastest and easiest way to clean the gabions is with a pressure washer. The hard water jet reliably flushes out the dirt particles. If the stones have discolored over time, they will look like new again if you remove the seat, take the stones out of the baskets, brush them individually, rinse them, let them dry and put them back in again. This may be a bit complex, but the result is impressive.

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