How do you turn a simple retaining wall into an ecological feature and educational, community engagement tool? Swing by the Somerville Community Growing Center to check out the gabion wall bench installation, completed recently!
The bench is made of an "invasive" , highly rot-resistant black locust wood as an alternative to the typical ipe and cedar heartwood options. The gabion wall system offers a low-tech, modular system that we could engage community during the built process. And yes - low-tech doesn't need to look sloppy.
It has superior water drainage properties, an alternative to traditional mortared masonry wall that are susceptible to freeze-thaw cracking and requires drainage added to it.
The gabion fill consists of upcycled 19th century bluestone salvaged from a local house demolition, saving cost on materials for us, and eliminating a waste issue for the developer.
Stay tuned for a planting day when SCGC volunteers will backfill the gabion wall, planting beautiful edibles and ornamental planting to complete the whole process!