Gabion stones: which size to choose? Calculate filling quantities correctly

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Gabion stones: which size to choose? Calculate filling quantities correctly: size

More and more people are looking for an alternative to the classic wooden fence and become aware of gabion fences. These are wire cages of different sizes and shapes that are filled with gabionic stones and thus look like an elegant stone wall. Property owners and gardening enthusiasts who decide to use gabion stones should pay attention to the appropriate stone size and their fill quantities.

Gabion stones in detail

Gabion stones are easily deployable stone wall variants that can be easily set up and filled even without knowledge in building the wall. The fences are made of a wire basket, which is filled with rubble in different grain sizes and thus gives the impression of a wall. Not only quarry stones are used here, but also gravel, which is quite coarse-grained and therefore can be easily used for the gabions. The following stones are perfect and have become established as a filler:
  • granite
  • dolomite
  • sandstone
  • quartz
  • basalt
  • limestone
  • greywacke
  • decorative gravel
  • Glass chunks (no rocks, but gladly used for gabions)
  • marble
  • sugar Stein
  • shell
Because of this diversity, it is necessary to know how general charges for gabion fences are calculated, since each stone has a different density and even fracture shape. You can not order the same amount of marble as basalt, because the two rocks are fundamentally different and it could easily happen that you get too much or too little delivered. This should be avoided at all costs, otherwise unnecessary costs. The difference between the different gabionic stones becomes even more pronounced if you want a certain shape, for example very flat or roughly chopped off stones with clearly visible edges.
Tip: Before selecting the stones you should inform yourself in which colors they can be delivered. Maybe you like a rose quartz in the delicate pinks more than typical greywacke stones, which is important for the project.

stone size


The correct size of the gabionic stones is decisive for the necessary order quantity, as it determines how close together the stones are in the wire baskets. In addition, the size is important so that the stones do not simply fall out of the holes of the gabion cages as soon as they are filled. For this, the dimensions of each mesh size needed, you should look at the purchase of cages to find out the necessary stone size. The mesh size describes the distance between the wires. Typical mesh sizes are:
  • 50 x 50 mm
  • 50 x 100 mm
  • 50 x 200 mm
  • 100 x 100 mm
But there are other mesh sizes, ranging from small 30 x 60 mm to large 150 x 350 mm and also affect the size of the stones. The stone size is measured by the mesh size. For a gabion fence with a mesh size of 50 x 100 mm you should choose stones whose grain size corresponds to at least the shortest width of the mesh. In this case, gabionic stones, for example having a grain size of 50-120 mm, and during filling, would not fall out. The size can be influenced by the fineness of the grain:
  • coarse stones: usually larger, are farther apart, as edges are more shapeless, fewer stones are needed
  • fine stones: due to smoother edges are closely together, the shape of the stones is similar throughout, more stones are needed
You must also make sure that the size of the stones usually takes place over a sieve. That is, the specified size is just an orientation since natural stones are not identical in size unless you are edited. The following problems can occur here:
  • Length, width or density of some stones do not fit
  • These can either not be used at all or only after several trials
  • often fall out
  • can not even fit in the fence in extreme cases
This problem does not occur with machined stones that are uniform in shape. These can be easily stacked in the gabion baskets, but do not seem as natural as the other stones. An example of this would be paving stones, although these are used less frequently for gabions.
Tip: If you no longer know what the mesh size of your gabion fence is, you can simply measure it with a tape measure or ruler.


After you have decided on the appropriate size of the stones, you must then calculate the capacity.This information is important so that you have enough stones to fill your gabions, and the optimum amount of filling saves you time or money. The following quantities are required for the calculation:
  • Height of gabions in meters
  • Width of the gabions in meters
  • Length of the gabions in meters
  • Weight of stones per cubic meter (m³) in tonnes


Many people already have problems here, because you do not know how much the individual stones weigh. This information is easier to find than you think, because each manufacturer must be given the appropriate weight per cubic meter for the specific gabionic stones. For example, one cubic meter of basalt 60-300 mm weighs 1.5 tonnes per cubic meter, while one cubic meter of jura weighs 45-56 mm chunks 1.4 tonnes. Although this looks like a small difference, but is crucial for the calculation. The formula is as follows:
  • Length x height x width x weight = result in tons
This means that if you have a gabion fence in the dimensions 10m x 2m x 1m and use the above-mentioned Jura chunks, you have to fill 20 m³ fence, which corresponds to a full 28 tonnes. For Jura chunks in this amount spend between 1,200 and 1,500 euros. Please make sure that you always order about 20 percent more stones despite this exact calculation, as some may be damaged during transport or due to their shape do not completely fill the fence. It can also happen that more stones are needed to fill corner joints. This is typical of this form of filling and therefore it is important not to forget this point. The bill looks like this:
  • Result in tonnes + 20% = final capacity
At 28 tonnes, 20% equals 5.6 tonnes, so you'll end up with a 33.6 ton capacity. Depending on the dealer, the delivery costs differ.
Tip: If you have problems with the percentage calculation, you can easily divide the result in tons by 5. The result is 20 percent.

Round gabions

When calculating the capacity for round gabion fences, it can often be a bit more difficult. Since this is not a cuboid but a cylinder, the filling quantity must be calculated accordingly. Thanks to the circle number Pi (

= 3.14159...), you can easily calculate the basic round shape. If you have decided on a gabion fence that corresponds to a circle in the base area, you will need the following values ​​to calculate the room volume:
  • Radius of the circle
  • Height of the fence
The formula is as follows
  • Circle number Pi x radius² x height = volume
In a circular gabion fence with a height of two meters and a radius of one meter, you come to a volume of 6.3 cubic meters. Now you have to calculate this value together with the specific density of the stones per ton, so:
  • Volume x weight = capacity
If the above-mentioned Jura chunks 45 - 56 mm are taken, which weigh 1.4 tons per cubic meter, they will reach a capacity of 8.8 tons.
hollow cylinder
Since not every gabion fence is used as a pure cylinder, but rather as a hollow cylinder, you have to use a different formula for this:
  • Volume of the outer cylinder - volume of the inner cylinder = volume of the hollow cylinder


For a gabion fence that has an outer radius of two meters, an inner radius of one meter and a height of two meters, you have a volume of 18.8 cubic meters. Then multiply this value by the weight of the stones per ton and you get to the filling quantity. For the already mentioned Jura Brocken that would be a capacity of 26.3 tons.
Elliptical cylinder
The third variant contains elliptical cylinders, ie gabions that are oval in their basic form and therefore allow even more flexibility in the design.
The formula is:
  • Circular number Pi x radius of the length side x radius of the short side x height = volume
If the same radii and heights are used as for the hollow cylinder, you will reach a volume of 13.6 cubic meters. Multiplied by the weight this results in a capacity of 19 tons.
Tip: Since round gabions are never as accurate as straight variants, you should order between 20 and 25 percent more stones here so the curves can be balanced.

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