A Mechanically Stabilized Earth (MSE) retaining wall is a composite structure made combining three main components including the compacted backfill, soil reinforcement elements, and wall facing. The stability of the mechanically stabilized earth wall system is based on the interaction between the backfill and soil reinforcements, involving friction and tension. The wall facing is relatively thin, with the main purpose of preventing erosion of the structural backfill. The result of this harmony is a coherent gravity structure that is flexible and can carry heavy loads.

The properties and materials of these three major components can vary, and a specialized mechanically stabilized earth wall engineer must choose the most efficient combination based on the wall’s design criteria, such as wall height and service life. Facing elements of RECo retaining walls are made out of modular precast concrete panels or wire mesh. Each facing type offers different advantages when considering criteria such as aesthetics, durability, construction procedure, and expected settlement.

Sixty years after Reinforced Earth®, the original Mechanically Stabilized Earth (MSE) technology was invented, it has been used on five continents and is an example of the benefits that can be reaped by groundbreaking innovations. Reinforced Earth Company Ltd. (RECo) continues to keep Henri Vidal‘s pioneering legacy alive by adopting an active research and development policy and investing in considerable resources. We strive to continuously improve the Mechanically Stabilized Earth wall technology that we provide to our customers by offering solutions that are:

  • Better performing
  • More reliable
  • More economical
  • Environmentally sustainable

Over the years, the RECo retaining walls retaining wall technology has been enhanced by numerous technological breakthroughs. Our expert engineers will put decades of design experience at the service of your next project.

Benefits of Mechanically Stabilized Earth (MSE) Walls

  • Bearing pressure is distributed over a wide foundation area
  • Extreme wall heights can be achieved
  • Extreme loads can be carried (bridge abutment footings, cranes)
  • High resistance to seismic ground movement and other dynamic forces
  • Free-draining, due to granular backfill and open panel joints
  • Form liners creating elaborate murals can customize the aesthetics
  • Very versatile. Special design can allow for nearly any geometry
  • Rapid, predictable, and repetitive construction
  • Superior finished wall alignment


Mechanically Stabilized Earth (MSE) Walls