Gabion planters have been used for centuries to add interest to gardens and landscapes and they are surprisingly easy to make too. According to wiki they were first used by ancient Egyptians to protect the banks of the Nile and the word gabion is derived from the Latin word gabbione, which means “big cage”. Well that makes sense 😉 They’re usually filled with rocks or other organic stuff and I think they look stunning in the garden. We made these this weekend and I couldn’t be happier with how they turned out.
In total, all three gabion planters took about 4 hours to make. All you need is some sturdy plastic coated wire mesh, cable ties, PVC pipe and
a gazillion lots of pebbles. The pebbles need to be quite big so they don’t fall through the mesh.
Okay, so you might be thinking “What one earth do you need the PVC pipe for”. Once you add the pebbles, gabion planters can be quite heavy. Adding PVC pipe inside the planter makes it lighter and you don’t have to use as many pebbles 😉 The PVC pipe also helps create a stable core for the planter. We wanted the gabion planters to be different lengths to add some visual interest. After drawing a quick sketch to figure out how high we wanted the planters to be we cut the PVC pipe to fit inside the planters.
While, I did the easy drawing and sawing bits the hubby cleared the space where the planters would go and compacted the soil. If your ground is soft or muddy you’ll need create a concrete base for the planters to sit on. Fortunately we didn’t have to do that 😉 We embedded in the prepared area to a depth of about 15cm (6 inches).
Once the pipes were firmly squished into the soil we cut the wire mesh and built a round cage to fit around the pipes. To figure out how tall the cage should be we took the height of the pot that the plants were in and added the PVC pipe height plus a teeny bit for luck. We used cable ties to join the mesh together.
And then we started filling the cages with building rubble and pebbles. Soooooo many pebbles, ugh. I had all these plans of taking the black pebbles and doing some kind of funky design. I had these visions of a heart or wavy lines or something like that. That so didn’t happen. Nope, those pebbles just went in any way the fell. Building rubble can be used instead of pebbles to fill gaps. You just need to make sure that it’s not visible from the outside of the gabion planters and one brick equals about 10 pebbles. Now that’s a bargain!! While we filled the cages we used a half brick to smack the sides of the cage so the pebbles would smoosh together firmly.
When the pebbles were level with the pipe, the pot plant was balanced on top of the pipe before adding more pebbles and rubble. We decided to put Yucca’s inside the gabion planters. Don’t you just love Yuccas? They’re hardy, love the sun and don’t mind being ignored. If you’ve got a brown thumb, then these little babies are perfect. Just put them in a pot and leave them. The only time they need some love is when their old leaves turn brown.
I love the contrast between the pebbles and the wire coated mesh. So pretty.
The Yuccas add a touch of spiky gorgeousness. Just a word of warning their leaves are like mini swords. If you’re not into the spiky look, lavender or rosemary would also work. They both thrive is sunshine and dry soil and they’ll chase all those mosquitoes and pesky flies away too.
I love to hear what you think about the planters. Is it something you would do in your garden? What would you plant in them?