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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
Green Building Bible, fourth edition (both books)
These two books are the perfect starting place to help you get to grips with one of the most vitally important aspects of our society - our homes and living environment.

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    • CommentTimeAug 28th 2010
    Need to retain about 1 metre high earth banking and don't have the funds to pay for real stone. Don't want to use lashings of concrete. Anyone here used gabions? they do one that has a narrow pocket on front for face stone. Thinking of using these with rubble fill and quarry rocks at front. Experiences? Please share. Alternatives? Railway sleepers?

    2. Indian stone, flags etc. assume child labour is involved, not green dragging the stuff half way round the planet, but it's stone and cheaper than imitation stone. What is the story here? Please educate me!
    • CommentAuthorowlman
    • CommentTimeAug 28th 2010
    Perhaps you could try rubble filling gabions as proposed, and fill the front "pocket" with a similar rubble/weak gravelly topsoil mix. then plant up with house leeks and maybe the odd alpine or other succulents and have a living wall. You could also put vertical sleepers between the gabions and maybe a horizontal one on top for added interest and to protect the topsoil pocket bit. you may have to put a smaller mesh to the front of the gabion.
    • CommentAuthorsquowse
    • CommentTimeAug 28th 2010 edited
    if you can let it fall back a bit (much more stable) you can hydroseed or plant it up as described. i don't think you would need gabions at this height. you could improvise with a bit of chicken wire, wire mesh fencing, geotextile or similar that you might find left over.
    can't believe stone is cheaper all the way round the world. there are disused quarries in this country you could pick it up from if they aren't full of rubbish. mixture of old broken slates and leftover stuff from slate quarry? a lot more effort i realise.
    For a retaining wall that high you can use timber. Bury timber posts in the ground 1 2 meters apart, and then slide thick timber planks behind them, so that the joins are behind the posts, then back fill. You can use acacia or pressure treated wood.
    • CommentTimeAug 29th 2010
    Ok, picture this existing============Lawn\ 1m drop____2.7m_______L _______Farmers Field.
    I want====================Lawn===============================L ______Farmers field
    A clean break between farmers field and lawn is desirable because farmers field has lots of nettles etc at the boundary. If I have a banking then it's a maintenance issue that encourages the misuse of weed killer. Plus I want stone for effect. I have used wood before, but gabions are cheaper and I'm guessing less labour is needed. Plus treated wood has nasty chemicals in it.

    I have a big heap of rubble that would go well in gabions with cleaner quarry fist sized lumps at the face. I can source these locally.

    My query about indian stone is a seperate issue, landscape gardeners that initially came to look at the job were really pushing indian stone flags for a terrace, plus Marshal stone for a retating wall. Of course I'm using recycled York stone flags sourced locally, I'm in Yorkshire. It is crazy though that the Indian stuff is cheaper, I just wondered if it is all ethically sourced and what the story is.

    Now how long will a wire gabion last before the wire rots and the contents tumble out?
    • CommentAuthorRobinB
    • CommentTimeAug 29th 2010
    Hi Richy
    If you can slope the bank you could use something like Geogrid. We have some we're planning to give away if any use. W. Yorks.
    • CommentAuthorRobinB
    • CommentTimeAug 29th 2010
    Actually I like the gabion idea, I even quite like the look of them. If I understand your last post properly the field is on the low side and your lawn 1 metre above it? That could be a great haha - giving you a view across the fields with no visible fencing. Why worry what the gabions look like if they've on the farmers side?
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeAug 29th 2010
    Back in 2007 only a third of India stone was ethically sourced according to..


    but some suppliers appear to care...

    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeAug 29th 2010
    How about old bricks or tiles in the front pocket?
    • CommentTimeAug 29th 2010
    I'm going to fill the pockets later and use something beautiful, perhaps contrasting layers.

    Thanks for the Indian stone child labour link, that stuff needs to be widely broadcast!
    We made some cylindrical gabions 2" weld mesh, rubble and stone to the front. We got 4foot wide rolls and cut them in half into 2ft rolls and form it onto a loop about 18" to 2ft dia, and used hog clips to fix them. Dead easy and dead cheap, proper gabion baskets cost a fortune, looks cool I think, especially one a bit of vegetation takes hold.

    • CommentAuthorwomblepaul
    • CommentTimeAug 31st 2010
    I have held back a 2 metre drop of the garden with 6 gabions filled with all the damaged concrete I kangoed up from the rennovation. I tied them together with wire. It saved me using any skip for waste material. Provides good drainage from the land above. I then chucked a load of soil over it and turfed it. The turf was held in place with splinters of wood to stop it slipping. Works like a dream and looks lovely. I could probably dig out some pictures if this helps ? 12 2x1 metre gabions were £160 I think ? Use off cuts to make faces stronger or t the Gabions can have bit a middle aged spread !

    • CommentAuthorXT600
    • CommentTimeAug 31st 2018
    I know this is an old post, but I'm considering the use of gabions myself and wonder if anyone has any comments on their longevity? How many years before they are rusted through when used as a retaining wall? :-)
    • CommentTimeAug 31st 2018 edited
    Dunno, I have some but they're exposed above ground rather than partially buried. They're galvanised steel rod/wire though, so it should be possible to estimate lifetime from prior experience in construction, farms etc.
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeSep 1st 2018
    I think you can get SS cages too
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