Topsoil Filled MSE Bagwork

Simple, Clean & Environmentally Acceptable

Topsoil Filled MSE Bagwork

What is Topsoil Filled MSE Bagwork?

Soil filled mechanically stabilised earth (MSE) bagwork has been around for approximately 15 years in its current form and there are a number of comparable products on the market. In general, they all consist of geotextile bags containing typically free draining sandy soils for the construction of earthworks such as riverbanks, slopes and walls. In addition to the fabric bags, an integral component to the bagwork is the inclusion of spikes, pins or plates between the rows of bagwork which prevent slippage or movement of the bags.

The characteristics of the geotextile bags, coupled with the soil that the bags contain, allow for the establishment and promotion of vegetation growth, both on and inside the bagwork. This not only greens up the bagwork to improve its appearance, it also strengthens the bagwork structure and improves both riverbank habitat and biodiversity.

As a form of construction, soil filled MSE Bagwork is very simple, requiring, in many cases, little or no specialist plant and no need for skilled labour. It is often a very cost effective, environmentally safe and ecologically beneficial form of riverbank, slope or wall construction.

MSE Bagwork PDF

MSE Bagwork Product Datasheet

For the construction of earthworks such as riverbanks, slopes and walls.

Topsoil Filled MSE Bagwork

As with all forms of MSE Bagwork, SoluForm MSE bagwork consists of soil filled geotextile bags and spikes/pins between the rows of bagwork. SoluForm MSE bagwork is a prefilled bagwork product, meaning the bagwork arrives to site ready to place and there is therefore no requirement to hand fill bagwork yourself. This ensures a consistent and quality controlled end product, with the bagwork product then covered under our ISO 9001 and 14001 quality system.

Bags are held together and prevented from moving by the inclusion of spiked shear keys between the courses of the bagwork and an equal number of shear keys are included along with the bags. 

For bagwork underwater, typically our underwater concrete filled hand placed bagwork is used to form a firm and secure base onto which the soil filled bagwork is placed. This is different from other suppliers who often rely upon gravel filled bagwork, rock rolls or compacting the ground as a suitable based for soil filled bagwork. 

Lined concrete bagwork is however a much sounder foundation for soil filled MSE bagwork, and remember, our concrete bagwork is designed to provide clean and safe placement in water. Our concrete bagwork is also carbon neutral and EPD certified.

Soil Stitched Bag White
Growth Hybrid Labelled 2022

What makes SoluForm MSE Bagwork different from other forms of MSE Bagwork?

There are many competing versions and suppliers of soil filled MSE bagwork in the UK. What makes SoluForm MSE Bagwork different is:

  • Smaller, Easier to Handle Bagwork

    This is obviously linked to manual handling, making the bags easier and safer to handle on site. Although this then requires more bags and shear keys for a given volume of bagwork, we have reduced our prices to make SoluForm soil filled bagwork comparable on a cubic metre basis, with larger 40kg alternatives.

  • Better Soil

    Our prefilled bags are prefilled with the highest quality BS 3882:2015 compliant sand rich topsoil. This provides a more nutrient rich soil, whilst still ensuring the bagwork is free draining.

  • More Practical Bag Dimensions

    Importantly, the length of the bag is close to being twice the width. This allows for bagwork to be rotated and better fit together to form a consistent width to a wall.

  • Colour and Appearance

    rather than black or beige coloured bags, our SoluForm Bagwork is dark green. Ultimately, with any form of MSE bagwork, the aim is to “green-up” and vegetate the bagwork, so having a green appearance from the offset seems the most logical approach.

Design Guidance

Please find below a number of standard designs for a range of common applications:

Design guidance documents are in Acrobat PDF format.  If you wish to save these to your local computer, please right-click each link and select the ‘Save As’ option.

Assembly Instructions / How to Use prefilled SoluForm MSE Bagwork


Ultimately the goal in all MSE Bagwork projects is to establish planting on/in the bagwork, to establish growth and increase biodiversity to the bagwork structure. Rooting within and between the bagwork helps to hold all the soil filled bags together, as well as helping protect the fabric bags long term.

The establishment of planting on prefilled bagwork can can be achieved in a number of ways including any one or a combination of the following methods:

  • Hydroseeding by a commercial Hydroseeding Contractor – this involves spraying the bagwork following placing with a seed/mulch mix that then germinates and grows on the bagwork.
  • Live planting after placement – Plugs and plants are inserted into the gaps and joints between the bags, which then establish and cover the bagwork.
  • As with other forms of MSE Bagwork, other options for planting are available. These may include live stake planting, covering with topsoil and seeding/seeded geotextiles on slopes, covering with turf or pre-vegetated wildflower mats. Some success with seeded fabric (Hytex) has also been achieved, though these need to be regularly watered.  

Always bear in mind that any planted solution will require care and attention, particularly during the initial germinating and growing period, to achieve the best results. Any planted solution should be kept watered until it has established, to avoid it drying out. If this cannot be ensured, placement of the bagwork and planting should avoid sustained periods of dry hot weather. Regular maintenance and aftercare of the vegetated bagwork is often also required.

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