Gabion Toe and Footing Design Guidelines
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Typical Gabion Retaining Wall Sections

900mm High Gabion Retaining Wall

Gabion Retaining Wall 1.0m

1.35m High Gabion Retaining Wall

Gabion Retaining Wall 1.5m

1.8m High Gabion Retaining Wall

Gabion Retaining Wall 2.0m

2.25m High Gabion Retaining Wall

Gabion Retaining Wall 2.5m

2.7m High Gabion Retaining Wall

Gabion Retaing Wall 3.0m


No liability is accepted where a typical section is used as a the basis for the final design. The details provided are guidelines only.

It is recommended that a soil investigation is undertaken and that the wall is designed by a geotechnical engineer.

Stability is improved by backfilling behind the wall with a free draining granular material and building the wall with a slope of 5-10 degress

The retaining wall toe prevents the gabion wall sliding forwards, the depth of the toe needs to increase the wall gets bigger. When building gabions on softer soils, both the depth of the toe and the size of the base needs to be increased to spread the load over a wider area. Your engineer's design will consider the design limit states and specify the dimensions of the toe and base for your wall.

When the gabion retaining wall is subject to a additional surcharges, from a driveway or other loads, the engineer's design will most likely increase the size of the gabions, to take the higher expected loads.

The gabions are normally machine filled in layers with the contractor picking the stone over by hand to reduce excessive voids. The exposed faces are also systematically hand packed to provide an appearance of a dry stone wall.

Angular rock is the best the fill, as it provides a good interlock and therefore less deformation of the face occurs. When using rounded river rock as gabion fill, it is recommended that you use the heavier 4.5mm gabion baskets.

Where the cost of quarried rock fill is high, the gabions can be filled with 2 types of fill, a quarried rock for the exposed face with a cheaper stone fill behind.

Gabion fill is normally a graded between 100 to 200mm in diameter with a nominal 6% smaller or larger. The grading is important to ensure that voids within the unit are minimised otherwise settlements can occur.

Welded mesh gabions can be readily modified on site by cutting the mesh back to the next transverse mesh wire.

When constructing gabion retaining walls in strongly acidic soils(PH over 5.5), the soil and the corrosive groundwater must be separated from the gabion structure by using geotextile fabrics and a properly designed drainage system.


For advice or assistance with the design of an economical gabion wall, please email


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