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Envirolok is designed for easy installation. No matter the size, scale, or location of your project. Simply follow these instructions for your Shoreline, Waterway or Green Retaining Wall Project.

Recommended Tools

& Materials

Tools and materials will range from project to project. For large projects with easy access, machinery such as an excavator or skid-steer are ideal. For small or hard to access sites, here is a list of the Hand tools you’ll need:

  • Marking Paint

  • Tape Measure

  • Level or Transit

  • Hard Rake(s)

  • Shovel(s) (flat & spaded)

  • Hand Tamper

  • Vibratory Compactor

  • Grub Ax

  • Chalk Line

Getting Started

The following instructions are for gravity wall. Review the plan set or specification for foundation course setting, embedment depth, reinforcement needs and vegetation applications. If you have questions or need more guidance, contact the Envirolok Team at 608-226-2565 or

  1. For slopes greater than 3.5’ tall or more complex projects, determine the type of additional reinforcement required (tie-back bags, geogrid, or anchors)

  2. Fill the Envirolok Bags. (Click Here for Filling Instructions)

  3. Mark the face of the toe of the wall on site.

  4. Locate site utilities prior to any excavation.

1 - Filling and Closing Envirolok Bags.p

1. Fill the Envirolok Bags

Begin by filling the Envirolok geotextile bags with a mix of 70%-80% sand / 20%-30% topsoil . All bags should be filled consistently with 1.25 cf of engineered fill (80-90 lbs) and closed securely with the provided UV-resistant zip tie or sewn shut with approved threading.

COMING SOON!Click Here For Complete Filling Instructions

2. Prepare the Base 

 Starting at the face of the toe location, excavate a level trench to the designed width and depth. These measurements will vary depending on wall height and application and will be detailed in your plan set or construction details.





Standard Trench.tif
Tie-Back Trench.tif

3. Compact the Base

Loose soil, gravel, fines, or sand can be used to level the trench as needed.

  • In heavy clay or wet soil conditions, an additional compacted aggregate foundation base may be required.

  • If grade changes along the foundation course of the wall, create a stepped base trench at 5.5"-6” high intervals to accommodate the height of the bag.

4. Install the

Foundation Spikes

When base conditions are suitable, spikes should be placed in the base material. Begin by placing 2 spikes at the starting location of the foundation course. Spikes should be centered in the desired bag location and placed 12”-18” apart as shown.

Tie-Back Pattern

Standard Pattern

5. Install the

Foundation Course

  1. Install the first bag by laying it over the spikes. Wrap the snorkel under the bag to help control bag height and length.

  2. Compact each bag after it is set using a hand tamper.

  3. Set all spikes and bags in the  Foundation Course until it is  complete.

  4. Backfill and compact material in any gaps in front of or behind the Foundation Course.

6. Bag Setback

Measure and mark the bag setback with a chalk line or tape measure and marker. This will help as a guide when setting and ensure a more uniform setback.


Note: Mark the line 1” behind the desired setback, as the bag “widens” when compacted.

7. Set the Spikes

Place 2 spikes at the start of the next course. Spikes should be centered in the desired bag location and placed 12”-18” apart. 

8. Place the Bag

  • Set the bag end down and wrap the snorkel* under the bag. This will help control the bag height and length.

  • Install the bag over the 2 spikes with the seam facing inward. For Foundation Courses set in a tie-back pattern, place the bag with the snorkel facing inward.


*For bags that are sewn shut, fold 6" of fabric from sewn end under the bag  before setting to control bag height and length.

9. Compact the Bag

Compact the bag using a hand taper. For the best uniformity and connection, compact each bag as it is set.


10. Backfill

Place and compact backfill after each course is installed.


DO NOT use clear gravel for backfill as it will limit growth of vegetation. See Envirolok specifications or consult the Envirolok team to determine appropriate backfill material.

11. Reinforcement

Larger and more complex projects may require additional reinforcement for strength and stability. Click Below to Learn more about our recommended reinforcement techniques and how to install them.

  • Tie -Back Units

  • Geogrid Layering

  • Geogrid Wrap

  • Earth Anchors

  • Rock Anchors

12. Live Planting

Plant plugs, live stakes, or bare root, plants can be installed during construction:

1. Place 2-3 plants per bag so that the root node or soil level will be even with the face of the bag above.

2. Sprinkle a handful of loose soil around the roots.

3. Install the next course of Envirolok Units above.

13. Set the

Coping Course

  1. For the best vegetative results, place the top course or “Coping” Course in a tie-back pattern with the back of the bag angled downward.

  2. Follow Steps 3 & 4 above for instructions for spike and bag placement, compacting and backfill. DO NOT PLACE spikes on top of the Coping Course.

  3. Place 1"-2” of topsoil over the top of the bags prior to planting or seeding.

14. Clean Up & Prep for Vegetation

Here is a quick checklist for the final steps in completing the Envirolok installation and getting ready for vegetation.

  • Tuck any exposed snorkels or zip ties between bags.

  • ·Check the wall and surrounding area for encroaching weeds. Remove weeds as needed.

  • Trim exposed geogrid from layering or anchor wrapping

  • Redirect surface flow away from wall until vegetation is established

  • Identify nearby water sources for irrigation or watering.

For more complex projects, check out our advanced reinforcement techniques for added strength and stability during installation.


Remember, every slope stabilization and living wall installation is unique, and our team is here to make sure your project is a success. For more information, check out our installation videos below or contact us for more in-depth training for your project. 


Reinforcement Techniques
Tie back detail drawing

Tie Back

By turning a course perpendicular, it provides additional reinforcement that becomes compacted and buried into the backside of the hill. This is a great method for small walls or can be paired with other reinforcement techniques to provide strong reinforcement and stability.

Geogrid Layering

Geogrid layering is a great option for reinforcement when there is room to excavate behind the Envirolok units. Simply lay the geogrid out, pin to the bags using connection spikes, backfill over the geogrid and compact. This is a simple, easy, and effective advanced reinforcement technique.

Geogrid Wrapping

For areas of high wave energy or freeze/thaw action it can be useful to wrap the face of the bags in geogrid and bring back into the hillside for additional reinforcement. This gives extra strength and durability to those areas experiencing more intense conditions. Vegetation can successfully grow through the geogrid covering the face of the bags.

Cinch & Twine Method

This is a great alternative to geogrid and earth anchors for small walls that cannot be reinforced any other way. The cinch and twine method of weaving, allows the Envirolok system to be installed while minimizing soil disturbance, preserving natural and cultural resources, and allows existing hydraulic patterns to remain intact.

Earth Anchors

For areas that cannot be excavated, earth anchors can be used to secure the Envirolok units and create additional reinforcement. Earth anchors are secured into the parent material and connected to a section of rebar that is wrapped in geogrid and pinned to the Envirolok bags.

Rock Anchors

Rock anchors are like earth anchors, however, when rock anchors are drilled into the bedrock they are grouted into place for additional reinforcement and then connected to the Envirolok system. Anchors can maximize strength and stability for applications where there is limited ability to disturb the existing soil for excavation and backfill.

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