You could spend weekends wandering aimlessly through furniture stores, searching for the perfect outdoor setting piece, or you could make a set yourself out of gabions! Once only considered a cheap and practical option to retain the sides of highways, gabions have come a long way.
The combination of stone and steel is raw and edgy, yet stylish and sophisticated – ideal for a unique feature in your backyard. Gabions are long lasting, too, and only require a few materials. But you will need the help of a couple of your mates, as the whole process can be a bit of an exercise in heavy lifting. Invite them over, build it up, and then treat them to a barbecue on your new outdoor centrepiece.
Gather your supplies
• Bench supports 500 x 500 x 500mm gabion kit with 100 x 50mm rectangular holes (4)
• Table supports 1000 x 500 x 500mm gabion kit with 75 x 75mm square holes (2)
• Large Nepean River pebbles
• Bench seats 200 x 100mm x 2.4m hardwood sleepers (4)
• Table top 900 x 2000mm rough sawn sandstone slab
You’ll also need
Measuring tape; marker; pliers or multigrips; angle grinder; circular saw; ear muffs; safety goggles; cordless drill; 100mm treated pine screws; 50 x 50 x 350mm treated pine stakes
Step 1 To make 1 bench support, assemble 3 panels of the 500 x 500 x 500mm gabion kit, using clips and pliers or multigrips to secure sides.
Step 2 Position remaining panels inside assembly, to form a 300(W) x 500(L) x 500mm(H) cage, using clips to secure sides. Wearing safety gear and using angle grinder, remove excess panel.
Step 3 Measure up and mark 350mm on all sides of cage and cut panels down to size. Cage should now be 300(W) x 500(L) x 350(H). Repeat Steps 1-3 to make 3 more cages. Add internal ties to support centres of sides.
Step 4 To make 1 table support, assemble 4 panels of a 1000 x 500 x 500mm gabion kit, using clips to secure sides. Measure up and mark 675mm (or count 9 squares from base) on all sides. Wearing safety gear and using angle grinder, cut panels down to size. Repeat to make 1 more table support.
Step 5 In centre of desired location, position table supports spaced 700mm apart. Position bench supports on both sides approximately 400-450mm away from base of table supports, spacing them 700mm apart. Remember, all of the supports will be very difficult to move once you fill them, so make sure they are exactly where you want them to be. Fill with pebbles, carefully stacking so all crevices are filled.
Step 6 To make 1 bench seat, measure and mark 2000mm on each sleeper. Using circular saw, cut sleepers to size. Cut ends of treated pine stakes at a 45° angle. Place 2 sleepers side by side on ground. From centre of sleepers, measure and mark 300mm to both sides. Pre-drill, then screw stakes to sleepers using 100mm treated pine screws. Repeat to make 1 more bench seat.
Step 7 With help of friends, place sandstone slab on top of table supports, ensuring even overhang on all sides. Place bench seats on top of supports. Spray pebbles with water to wash away excess dirt or dust.