Tuesday, October 19, 2010

how do you make a gabion?

buy a lot of hog confinement wire from Tractor Supply. some times, just buy them out completely. they come in 16ft sections so you might want to cut them in half at TS so you can haul them in the back of THAT NEW TRUCK THAT YOU NEVER ASKED YOUR WIFE IF YOU COULD BUY!!! no photo needed cuz said wife is so over that truck!
hire some hot chick (hey maybe that wife) to man the John Deere so you can bend them into place. drive the JD over plywood set to create the bend.
said truck can be seen in the background. that's all the coverage it's every getting here! but said wife is so over it.
Take another piece of plywood, and, from the front, bend the front of the panel up to a 90.
and you're done! one of 2 sides
wash rinse repeat 80 SOMETHING MORE TIMES!
or until you run through the most recent batch that you bought TS out of. in that case proceed to the other TS and buy them out too until you've made like 50 of these! tops and bottoms are made from additional panels and it's all just wired into place with a roll of heavy gauge wire like they use for securing chain-link fencing to posts. at this level, it was actually cheaper for us just to buy the big roll of wire and cut it into strips for securing the panels & tops/bottoms together.  we went through 3-4 rolls of the stuff, but we never seem to run out of uses for it (some of you saw the Bug's Life costumes several years ago)
Why Would You Build Them Yourself?
as i said in my previous post, it really is cheaper and you can customize these to any size you want. most of ours were something like 6ft long, 4ft deep/high, and 2.5ft wide (i'm sure i'm off on that and nacho will quickly correct me). but the ones we used for the Sitting Wall, were half that height. so it really gave us some flexibility that we either wouldn't have had or would have paid out the nose for. nacho's research came up to about $80 a gabion (i have no idea the size) and this was WAY cheaper - plus it was kinda fun to keep buying TS out of this stuff.

flintstones meet them flintstones

as usual, late posting this but i think i have an acceptable excuse this time:  EXHAUSTION!!!  3 weekends ago we decided to give the beach wall a break and move our attention to the north end of our property, where the yard meets the beach. over the years, i've done 2 things here: planted a vegetable garden on the end closest to/against our patio/sea wall and planted tons of lillies on the other end (aka transition area). the idea has primarily been that the lillies would be a hold for when we flood. the truth of the matter is, they take a heck of a beating when we have beach floods - floods that don't make it over the berm and surround the house. we had 2 of those this spring/summer and my lillies did their job but they really started to suffer. at one point, i had to go next door to Ray's and pull some from the water. they'd been dislodged by the wave action we get when we have a beach flood.
so many weeks ago, on one of the design blogs i stalk follow, i found a family that had dedicated a section of their yard to a tortoise habitat. their goal was to not only provide a great living space for their pet but to make it architecturally interesting. and what did they use to make this possible? say it with me people:  GABIONS! guess who has a little experience in this area? i ran this by nacho as a great solution to the transition area and added it would make for a neat sitting wall just as the Tortoise Family had done. nacho agreed and so it was done.  we spent 2 weekends making this happen.
Sitting Wall
this is the best Before picture i have. you have to focus on the area to the left where you see the lillies and rock.
and now

Garden Wall
but we didn't stop there! after creating something that nice, it was hard to look at this
and say, "eh, just leave it". so we didn't. the 2nd weekend was spent pulling these temporary gabions out and redoing this section of the wall. it was well worth it don't 'cha think?
and so overall, we now have this!
i'd love to tell you we are all done, but remember, i said at the beginning that we decided to take a break. this past weekend while I was in The Motherland, nacho built the remaining 4 gabions to complete the Beach Wall. i'll post that work in it's entirety when it's done. 
and the last thing i'd like someone to figure out, is how much concrete do you think we've moved in all of this? we estimate, when done, we will have filled 49 gabions, give or take. the "Sitting Wall" ones are not as tall as the Berm or Beach ones, but i'd actually hate to know the exact amount of concrete we've moved, cuz you have to realize we've done most of it by hand. yes, we're crazy.
oh and the innevitable question that always comes up: can't you just buy those things? yeah, no telling what it would cost us to fill them, but nacho said it'd run us $80 minimum just to buy the cages pre-made and the wire is not near as sturdy as the wire we used in ours. perhaps he's embellishing so i don't kill him for making me do all this work!
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