July 22nd, 2022

Building Vegetated Retaining Walls with the GEOWEB® System

If you're looking for an environmentally friendly and cost-effective alternative to conventional retaining walls and MSE walls, the GEOWEB® System is an industry-leading solution. The naturally vegetated structure creates a sustainable living environment while meeting all structural design requirements with no need for complicated installation processes and materials that can be costly and time-consuming.

The GEOWEB® Vegetated Retaining Walls are an excellent choice for any environment. They can perform in soft soil and seismic zones and tolerate reasonable differential settlement better than rigid wall systems. The system offers flexibility to build around obstructions, such as utilities, and allowance to conform to natural bends and contours in a channel or slope applications.

What is the GEOWEB® System?

Developed by Presto Geosystems for soil stabilization challenges, the GEOWEB® Soil Stabilization System is the original and most complete geocell system. The technology of cellular confinement is powerful yet simple. Through an interconnected honeycomb-like network, the 3D geocells confine and stabilize soils that would otherwise be unstable. Geocells are efficient and economical for fast-built roadways and retaining walls. They can also provide erosion control in slope and channel applications. Learn more in our Ultimate Guide to the Presto Geosystems GEOWEB® Geocells blog post. Identify how the GEOWEB System's straightforward design and easy implementation ensure long-term performance and your project's success. Read Now.

What are the benefits of using the GEOWEB® System for vegetated retaining walls?

The inherent flexibility of GEOWEB® retaining walls allows their design for various wall and reinforcement types, applications, and site conditions. The GEOWEB® Retaining Walls can be designed in a variety of wall configurations to meet specific site and reinforcement requirements. Infill is enhanced when confining aggregate materials within a monolithic system of isolated cells, thus, allowing for more flexibility when sourcing qualities of infill needed for construction. The cellular confinement of the GEOWEB® System can also open the door for reusing on-site materials under certain conditions to significantly reduce the overall cost of the project.


The GEOWEB® Retaining Walls may be designed as steepened slopes when simple fascia protection is required over a structurally stable soil embankment. The tiered wall structure is designed without the need for additional earth reinforcement.


GEOWEB-reinforced retaining walls are designed for earth reinforcement when geogrid or other materials (geotextile or soil nails) are included. The reinforced wall system creates a fully confined wall facing that is united with the backfill using the selected tie-back system at defined design intervals—typical of MSE wall systems. This system integrates well with a variety of reinforcement geosynthetics.


GEOWEB® gravity retaining walls are effective when space constraints prevent the use of earth reinforcement materials. The system is constructed as a layered gravity wall that resists lateral pressures and maintains structural integrity even when subgrade deformations occur.


GEOWEB® channel side slopes with vegetative infill offer a natural appearance, stability, and protection to channels exposed to erosive conditions ranging from low-to-medium flows—intermittent or continuous, along with varying shear stresses. GEOWEB® multi-layered channels tolerate differential settlement without loss of system integrity and can provide a near-vertical profile, reducing valuable land use. When applied in areas of anticipated high-energy water impact, GEOWEB® wall sections can be filled with aggregate or concrete or wrapped with coir fabric to reduce soil loss potential in the outer face while vegetation is being established.

What are the environmental impacts of using the GEOWEB® System for vegetated retaining walls?

The GEOWEB® Retaining Walls feature horizontal terraces with exposed outer fascia cells that create a natural environment for select vegetation and plantings. Indigenous vegetation or specified plantings may be incorporated for aesthetic appeal and sustainability. Aggregate or concrete fill provides hard-armor protection where vegetation is not desired.

Flexible and lightweight GEOWEB® walls adapt to a wide range of design criteria and construction requirements—meeting site challenges even in soft soil environments. GEOWEB® walls are highly permeable and act like multiple planting pots—allowing rainwater to infiltrate through the wall face, minimizing runoff.

The GEOWEB® Retaining Walls Low Impact Development (LID)/Best Management Practice (BMP) for reducing stormwater runoff and managing stormwater on-site. With a high percentage of open area, the ability to use on-site fills, and efficient transportation of materials, GEOWEB® walls are an eco-friendly solution for any site.

The GEOWEB® vegetated retaining walls vs. MSE block wall systems?

Surrounded by lush greenery, the vegetated fascia system is a great way to achieve natural green aesthetics. The open-celled front fascia infiltrates stormwater while the flexible wall structure performs well in soft soil environments and seismic zones—it's also 2x more resistant against movement caused by fault lines! Gravity walls require no reinforcement, so they can be installed 25% faster due to their redundant sections. The GEOWEB® System's high-density polyethylene (HDPE) material allows you to cut around obstructions easily, and the system is highly durable against environmental degradation over time. The GEOWEB Retaining Wall System also provides better load support at the face of the wall, should the need arise, distributing weight across the entire system's panels.

What are typical applications for GEOWEB® vegetated retaining walls?

• Natural Living Walls
Design naturally vegetated walls to infiltrate water at its source to minimize runoff. Incorporate GEOWEB® System for Green Infrastructure (GI) and Low Impact Development (LID) projects. Build green walls at commercial & industrial sites as well as parks & nature preserves to capture the integrity of the natural environment.

• MSE Slope Cover
Design steepened slopes for simple fascia protection over structurally stable soil embankments. Build without additional earth reinforcement. Plant select or indigenous vegetation to blend with the natural landscape—or allow volunteer vegetation to thrive.

• Road Embankments
Design GEOWEB® walls with varied wall batter, benching or terracing to suit landscape grade and safety. Design with varied infill: topsoil for vegetation -or- aggregate or concrete grout for a low-maintenance non-vegetated solution.

• Rockfall Protection
Design near-vertical slope veneers without earth reinforcement for rockface protection and rockfall control. Create natural barriers to protect vulnerable embankments from erosion and potential rock fall along roadways

• Dikes & Levees
Design near-vertical dike & levee earthen barrier walls to stabilize reservoir embankments and prevent flooding onto adjoining land. Replace rip rap and concrete structures with naturally-vegetated earthen structures.

• Road Shoulders
Design natural earth retention structures for steep roadway change-in-grade elevation drops. Build GEOWEB® walls to resist soft subgrades and tolerate reasonable differential settlement. Create a natural environment for sheet flow runoff to permeate and minimize entering waterways.

• Soft Soil Areas
Design GEOWEB® walls to tolerate reasonable differential settlement, performing better than rigid wall systems for soft soil environments and seismic zones. Replace expensive pile walls and concrete structures with green walls in soft soil areas.

• Change-in-Grade
Design near-vertical living green walls for steep change-in-grade landscapes. Create natural aesthetics in urban areas with green infrastructure.

• Shoreline Revetments
Protect coastal embankments from erosive forces caused by wind and sheet flow runoff. The GEOWEB Retaining Wall System is made from HDPE to resist corrosion and environmental degradation.

• Multi-Layered Channels
Design multi-layered channels for low-to-medium flows and stormwater capacity. Replace wire-framed gabions & concrete systems with green channels.

• Streambanks Natural Vegetation
Design streambank embankments to resist erosive forces caused by water fluctuations and storm events. The flexible GEOWEB Channel Protection System conforms along the contours of the natural streambank

• Culvert Headwall
Design vegetated culvert headwalls to replace concrete MSE block walls. Flexible GEOWEB® material easily cut to fit sonotubes, pipe contours & obstructions without damaging system integrity

• Culvert Outfall Protection
Design culvert outfall areas with robust vegetated systems to resist short-term, high-velocity flows & turbulence. Flexible system allows the integration of coir fabric wrapped around the channel face to resist infill loss.

How hard are GEOWEB® vegetated retaining walls to install?

The GEOWEB® System's flexible wall sections conform to differential settlement and allow natural conformance to landscape obstructions and contours. Lightweight, compact sections are easy to transport and construct in difficult-to-access or remote locations. The installation process can be pared down to 4 simple steps; preparing the site, establishing the footer, building the wall sections, and vegetating the system. Installation tools such as spreader bars, stretcher frames, and the ATRA® stakes make it easy to deploy and infill the system. Engineered components such as ATRA® Keys allow for quick and easy installation of the system. All in all, the installation process is intended to offer a solution for quickly constructing a retaining wall with reduced crew, equipment, time, and cost to the project. Download your "4-step Installation Guide for GEOWEB Vegetated Retaining Walls" to learn how to identify how easy it is to get your new wall up and running. Download.


The unquestionable need of a sustainable, long-term solution for retaining walls has been met by the GEOWEB® Retaining Wall System. The inherent flexibility of the GEOWEB® Retaining Walls allow their design for various wall and reinforcement types, applications and site conditions. The GEOWEB® Retaining Walls are cost- competitive with conventional MSE walls and earth retention systems.

With over 40 years of proven success, the GEOWEB® Soil Stabilization System minimizes environmental impact and offers cost-effective means for creating a sustainable, long-term solution for building green walls.

Free GEOWEB® Vegetated Retaining Walls Project Evaluation
Identify how you can reduce cost using on-site materials for infill. Ensure proper water filtration to avoid sliding and overturning. Implement your low-impact development vegetated retaining wall system ensuring your success.
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4-Step Installation Guide for GEOWEB® Vegetated Retaining Walls

Download our 4-Step Installation Guide for GEOWEB® Vegetated Retaining Walls to identify how easy it is to get your new wall up and running.

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