How To Build a Gabion Grilling Station

Get step-by-step instructions to emulate the one-of-a-kind grill station from DIY Network Ultimate Retreat 2017 at your home by varying the wire cage style and rock choices.

Photo By: Christopher Shane

Photo By: Christopher Shane

Photo By: DYLAN_EASTMAN

Photo By: DYLAN_EASTMAN

Photo By: DYLAN_EASTMAN

Photo By: DYLAN_EASTMAN

Photo By: DYLAN_EASTMAN

Photo By: DYLAN_EASTMAN

Photo By: DYLAN_EASTMAN

Photo By: DYLAN_EASTMAN

Photo By: DYLAN_EASTMAN

Photo By: DYLAN_EASTMAN

Photo By: DYLAN_EASTMAN

Photo By: DYLAN_EASTMAN

Photo By: DYLAN_EASTMAN

Photo By: DYLAN_EASTMAN

Photo By: DYLAN_EASTMAN

Photo By: DYLAN_EASTMAN

Photo By: DYLAN_EASTMAN

Photo By: DYLAN_EASTMAN

Photo By: DYLAN_EASTMAN

Photo By: DYLAN_EASTMAN

Photo By: Christopher Shane

Getting Started

Gabion literally means “big cage” in Italian. The combination of wire cages filled with rock have been used for centuries in earth work, flood walls, and other barriers. Because DIY Network's Ultimate Retreat 2017 was perched high on exposed red rock, we decided playing off that topography was a perfect way to integrate a grilling area.

What You'll Need

Materials: 1 pallet of stone, (8) 8” CMU blocks, (8) bags type-S mortar, (2) 4' pieces of #4 rebar, (3) sheets of 4x4 welded wire mesh, (1) box rebar ties, (2) 10' 1x6 T&G cedar, (1) charcoal grill, and 6 CF crusher run stone

Tools: Masonry saw, angle grinder, rebar wire tie, mortar tray, shovel, hand tamp, hammer drill, and rubber mallet

Time: 8 hrs

Cost: $500

Step One

Start by making a plan. This will help you greatly in purchasing the right amount of materials and working out the sizing requirements. Because of the type of wire mesh we used, it was also helpful to work the sizing in 4” increments to coincide with the grid.

Step Two

Source your materials. In our case, we found a great deal on local Green Mountain granite at our stone supply. There are many variations on gabion yard projects so feel free to use other types of wire and stone. Since our stone was rectilinear, we did not need cross ties. If you used round rocks, like river rock, you would need to add wire cross braces to hold the sides in. The 4” welded wire mesh was purchased a local concrete supplier along with some of the other tools and materials.

Step Three

Next, clear and flatten the area of the grilling station. You will want the stone and wire to sit on subgrade, so dig out any top soil.

Step Four

In our case, we were building on a hill so vertical rebar is added to prevent shifting and over turn. We drilled in (2) 1/2” holes for #4 rebar.

Step Five

Layout the rebar locations to coincide with the 8” block cores.

Step Six

Stone weighs a lot so make sure you have a good stable subbase. Install 4” of crusher run gravel in the area of removed topsoil.

Step Seven

Hand tamp it into place to ensure it is fully compacted. For larger areas, you can also rent a gas powered plate compactor.

Step Eight

Set the first courses of 8” CMU down over the rebar and check the spacing to your drawing.

Step Nine

Tamp the blocks in place with a mallet.

Step Ten

Check for level across the blocks.

Step Eleven

Next, trim the wire sheets to form the sides of the cages with an angle grinder. We designed our grilling station to work to the 4” increments of the wire and made it a U shape to tie the base together and give a place to set charcoal and accessories.

Step Twelve

Stand the sides in place.

Step Thirteen

Tie the corners together with rebar ties 4” on center.

Step Fourteen

Continue assembling the cages.

Step Fifteen

Fill the cores of the CMU block solid with block fill or Type S mortar. Be sure to pack it in tight around the rebar. Then start prepping for the stone infill and adjust the wire one last time.

Step Sixteen

Start infilling the rock. Choose pieces that fit in each area similar to a puzzle. For larger rock, like ours, it will be necessary to trim the end pieces with a masonry cut off saw.

Step Seventeen

Tamp pieces into place to make sure the rock is well consolidated. For round rocks, this is less necessary as they will self settle.

Step Eighteen

We bought a charcoal grill and base but only assembled the side brackets. These brackets normally hold the side surfaces so we mounted them upside down to give a good support on the rock fill. Measure the distance between these.

Step Nineteen

Trim out the wire where the side bracket will sit.

Step Twenty

Finish the rock around the grill.

Top It With a Custom Counter

To counterbalance the strong stone and metal base, we made a cedar wood cap which softens the look and gives a good food prep surface. Yard projects don't have to be super expensive. For only $500 and a day's work, we created this custom gabion grilling station and you could too.

Next Up

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