Modern Big Block Retaining Wall Alternatives to Gabion Baskets

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Installing Big Blocks Saves Time & Costs

The evolution of retaining walls has changed drastically since their creation thousands of years ago. Their purpose remains the same, however the design materials have progressed by leaps and bounds. From piles of stones and gabion baskets to innovative precast concrete systems like MagnumStone. With prominent aesthetics and cost-effective installations, MagnumStone’s performance and ruggedly natural profile have advanced worlds beyond old-fashioned materials and are now replacing gabion basket systems.

Faster Ways to Haul & Install Retaining Walls

MagnumStone makes transporting materials simpler with the ability to stack more square footage/meters per trip and reduce shipments. That applies to moving blocks at the construction site too, since smaller equipment can lift MagnumStone blocks into place. Pro tip: gabion baskets have more attractive up front ticket prices, but big blocks’ quick and simple installations will ultimately save you more time and money.
 
Big blocks eliminate the agonizingly slow process of positioning each rock in gabion baskets by hand. On average, gabions require larger teams of experienced installers or specialists to cover 100 sq. ft. (9.3 sq. m.) per day, which are difficult to find. Meanwhile, each MagnumStone block covers 8 sq. ft. (0.74 sq. m.) of facing, making it easy for teams to install 1,000 sq. ft. (93 sq. m.) per day. Keep your project on schedule by checking out MagnumStone’s free online step-by-step installation guide.

Let Machines Do the Heavy Lifting

The global labor shortage is becoming a big issue for construction and installation workforces. Even in areas like South America, labor has been unreliable and it’s been increasingly difficult to keep dependable workers staffed long-term. Productivity has seen major delays and regression due to unpredictable and unreliable workforces. With lifting rocks into gabion basket retaining walls being such a humanized, non-automated process, this can have major impacts on future projects.
 
On the flip side, investing in machinery, even small machinery, to install big blocks can result in round-the-clock production without breaks or downtime. This provides management and end users assurance of consistent, continued progress and ensures projects are moving forward as planned.

How Big Blocks Outperform Gabion Baskets

Long-lasting strength is the key to any retaining wall, with minimal maintenance and repairs being the key to success. MagnumStone’s precast manufacturing process delivers high-quality concrete blocks that withstand any weather conditions, from spring meltdowns and rainfalls to oceanfront retaining walls battered by salt water. The advantage of big blocks is that there’s no need to worry about the effects of steel wire abrasion or salinity-induced rusting. The wet cast concrete manufacturing process ensures an extremely durable product, similar to a pier in the water. 

Precast Big Blocks Enhance Drainage Control

To satisfy growing development projects, big block retaining walls offer dynamic solutions and optimal performance for sophisticated designs. This is especially true for controlling stormwater drainage safely and effectively. MagnumStone’s hollow core blocks allow for vertical and horizontal drainage, and strategic daylighting to proper containment systems. This helps stormwater management systems capture, direct and evenly distribute runoff from parking lots and roadways.
 
Though water can drain freely through gabion baskets, they have limited control over where that water ends up. Despite planned designs, stormwater and runoff can easily circumvent their intended drainage paths. This can lead to extensive damage and repairs if that water flows onward to an undesirable area.

Versatile Designs & Customized Retaining Wall Features

While gabion baskets are praised for flexibility, big block systems also adapt to changing conditions like freeze and thaw cycles. The benefits of big block retaining walls are more evident in terms of their height, versatility and design features. MagnumStone’s short and long gravity retaining wall extenders help build taller walls with less excavation area than traditional systems, learn more here.
 
It doesn’t stop there. The same blocks can be designed for standard geogrid, positive connection or even plantable wall pockets. In extreme scenarios, MagnumStone blocks have been used with steel reinforcement cantilevered walls and soil anchoring. This gives designers all the tools to work with one retaining wall system for all solutions.
 
The hollow core big block design provides endless possibilities for creative stand-out features. From elegant built-in stairs to landscaped planter pockets, MagnumStone blocks can truly showcase your property’s best qualities. Customized curves, 45° corners and terraced retaining walls are a breeze to install, too. Fence posts can even be installed directly into the blocks to increase space.

Retaining Wall Appearance Adds Value

Let’s cut to the chase, looks matter and retaining wall aesthetics can have a huge impact on property value. Unflattering wire and stone filling are a prime reason why property owners often shy away from gabion basket retaining walls. They’re also susceptible to unwanted weeds or vegetation and collect windblown debris caught within the steel wires.
 
MagnumStone’s rocky outcrop facing makes it easy for designers, installers and landowners to be proud of their retaining wall projects. The textured natural looks blend into any landscape seamlessly to give an all-natural feel to retaining walls of any size. Their low maintenance aesthetics can be spruced up with different color staining or protective sealants for long-lasting beauty.

Reliable Expectations: Big Blocks vs. Gabion Baskets

From their humble beginnings, retaining walls have come a long way and seen immeasurable progress. Meeting – and exceeding – expectations of designers, installers and property owners has always been a staple of MagnumStone’s retaining wall system. The blocks’ precast wet cast production process provides a consistent production environment with reliable timelines that help projects move forward.
 
Alternatively, gabion baskets have slowly become increasingly difficult to produce due to a lack of high-quality stone supplies used to fill the baskets. With sporadic supply and an unpredictable labor force, meeting project deadlines has developed into a growing concern for developers and project designers worldwide.
 

The future of your upcoming retaining wall projects is bright with the trusted help of MagnumStone big block retaining wall systems. To discover how our blocks can help protect and beautify your property or development, contact your local MagnumStone dealer today.

Photos: Cirtex, York Building Products, BM Valla, SLN Contracting & Masters Concrete Products.