FLEX MSE - Vegetated Wall System
The Flex MSE Vegetated Wall System uses the same globally accepted principles of Mechanically Stabilized Earth that builders rely on for making massive retaining walls. Geobag walls with less robust technology and components than Flex MSE have been built as high as 75ft tall, with great success. Our Second Generation interlocking Plate is a 100% recycled, recyclable component which adds increased geogrid compatibility and friction strength over its precursors.
- Flex MSE is 60% of concrete’s cost installed.
- Flex MSE is a simple two component system that often installs in half the time of concrete block walls.
- No specialized equipment, labour, cranes, forms, footings, or rebar.
- Flex MSE walls require minimal initial leveling or subgrade embedment.
- The flexible, easily adjusted units conform perfectly to trees and unexpected bedrock
- Flex MSE is a recycled, non-toxic product that conforms to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) qualifications. For applicable LEED credits, click here Flex MSE LEED credits.
- Flex MSE vegetated walls are graffiti proof.
- Flex MSE expends only 3% of the Green House Gases (GHGs) over comparably sized concrete blocks.
- Flex MSE lasts almost twice as long as concrete (120 year ASTM System Life rating).
- A light weight soft armour product that integrates easily with other proprietary systems and has great performance in limited access, tough or unstable terrain.
- Settlement and water ruin concrete walls. Flex MSE has a very high settlement tolerance and excess water drains through the system. The drainage aspect eliminates the need for chimney drains and pipe behind the wall, while feeding the vegetation.
Flex MSE Vegetated Retaining Walls are aesthetically pleasing and help to prevent graffiti while providing an engineered solution.
A retaining wall made of poured concrete is expensive, time consuming and often requires specialized equipment.
Concrete block systems go in cheaper than poured walls, but have common structural and finish issues.
When used for a vegetated retaining wall, basket systems require large amounts of very specific material and often don’t provide thorough, sustained vegetation – resulting in premature corrosion and shortened life span.
Wood systems have a short life span and due to the chemicals used in the wood preservation treatment process, treated timbers are difficult to dispose of at the end of use.
Flex MSE’s Vegetated Wall System has several advantages over conventional methods.
- Superior drainage and settlement tolerances make it perfect for areas with poor soils and water infiltration.
- Minimal excavation, light reinforcement, no forms, footings or rebar, and often no expensive drainage design.
- Light, permeable and flexible units are easily installed around trees, rock, and water.
- No more graffiti or wall staining, or failures from frost cycles and leaky soils.
A Vegetated Retaining Wall built with Flex MSE can be installed anywhere up to 82 degrees using the same two components. Flex MSE’s versatility offers you the ability to build your wall according to the projects needs as they develop.
The added benefit of being able to construct a Flex MSE wall which follows the natural landscape or flows over land formations allows designers to build organic structures without having to rely on right-angle decisions.
Retaining walls often support structures or are used to create level building pads. Flex MSE is ideally suited for these applications given that it is as strong as concrete the day it goes in and only gets stronger over time as the root web from the vegetated face takes hold.
Flex MSE is used to build everything from small creek banks to massive roadways – providing permanent stability you can build on.
Erosion control is crucial to maintaining soil and water integrity. Flex MSE offers stakeholders and end users an affordable, dependable solution. From urban coastal areas to natural habitats, responsible reclamation plays a big part in maintaining balance in the development equation.
Flex MSE creates reinforced vegetated slopes that decrease erosion and maximize available land. The Flex MSE Patented system protects soils from erosion without altering hydrology – providing a permanent, green solution. Perfect for culvert headwalls, unstable stream banks, in-stream structures, and flood protection, Flex MSE is ideal foranywhere land meets water.
Flex MSE’s resilient green structures not only improve water quality, they repair damage to fragile natural areas, public assets and private property.
Flex MSE can reclaim original property lines and increase building footprints along waterways, while preventing future erosion from wave and high flow scour.
Building along sensitive waterways and tributaries often limits the choice of building materials. Flex MSE is ideally suited for anywhere land meets water: it limits Heat Island effects on water, toxic leachants, and allows for rapid regrowth of vegetation in riparian zones.
The versatility and ease of installation make installing Flex MSE in water a simple solution for traditionally hard to access areas. The raw materials used in the construction of the Flex MSE components are incredibly stable in extreme heat and cold, as well as able to withstand strong water flow and complete submersion without breaking down prematurely.
Flex MSE can also be used for dams, weirs or bridge abutments, providing stability for nearly any aquatic application.
Flex MSE helps to stabilize and revegetate areas that then capture sediment, filter water and slow flows to further help with sediment control. Flex MSE’s ability to act as both a sediment and erosion control solution make it an ideal choice when addressing waterway sediment levels or storm water design.
Flex MSE re-establishes natural land forms and builds a deep and varied root web – key features to reducing sediment and pollution levels in our waterways. One simple system can be used to ‘retain, detain, and convey’.
Dykes, retention/detention ponds, abutments, swales, ditches, urban waterways and wetlands can all be built to any scale with Flex MSE.
An added benefit with Flex MSE is the ability to use the system for focused storm water management. By relying on the system’s gentle percolation rate and flow through ability, damaging flow rates can be lowered and prevent sediment pollution from entering storm water.
Governments and Municipalities worldwide have begun adopting strict Erosion & Sediment Control guidelines. Best Management Practices (BMPs) must be in place for most new developments and include silt plans, designed sediment discharge, pond deactivation methodology, and clear identification of sensitive waterways.
Agricultural lands on waterways are falling under stricter municipal water quality plans as well. Creating resilient, plant based banks that filter and collect sediment while resisting major erosion is a solid investment for everyone involved.
Flex MSE green retaining wall projects are easily scaled for use in supporting retaining walls, Living Walls, green sound barriers, trail systems, and stormwater structures. Green and Low Impact Development Communities as well as LEED standard projects benefit greatly from Flex MSE’s environmental advantages.
Flex MSE is an ideal system for integration into Water Sensitive Urban Design and Low Impact Development plans. Flex MSE green retaining walls reinforce green spaces, is 50% recycled content, repurposes excavated materials, is non toxic and expends 3% of the Green House Gas (GHG) emissions of comparative concrete solutions. With the current trend towards Green Construction for projects of all sizes it’s good to know that Flex MSE uses 97% less GHG than concrete and can qualify for as many as 21 LEED credits in 4 distinct categories. Flex MSE berms and walls also reduce sound pollution by absorbing reflective sound into the vegetated soils and all but eliminate graffiti concerns. A further benefit of Flex MSE to Green Construction is that it is easy to install and has less impact on the health and welfare of the installation Team. Less opportunity for injuries and machinery breakdown allow for projects to complete on time and under budget.
Flex MSE has all these benefits, while still being less expensive than hard armour systems – making it a very economical engineered green retaining wall solution.
To see a list of potential applications within the LEED framework and check out our Green House Gas calculator, click here.
Compared to most other systems you’ll find that installing Flex MSE will be one of the easiest tasks on your project. Flex MSE allows for simple installation, vegetation and maintenance.
Ease of Installation is one of the Flex MSE Vegetated Wall system’s greatest advantages. To begin installing Flex MSE:
- A reasonably level base is all that’s required to begin construction – Very little excavation is required for the base layer, minimizing site disturbance and prep time.
- Flex MSE Bags are laid end to end with Interlocking Plates at every unit joint – Flex MSE bags weigh between 65-80 lbs and the plates are clearly marked “This Side Up” with an arrow pointing to the front of the wall.
- Successive layers are added in a standard brick and mortar running-bond pattern – This helps engage the Interlocking plate to provide the initial system strength.
- Backfill and compact every two lifts – Compacted backfill and often geogrid reinforcement are added at regular intervals for retaining walls. Bags turned 90 degrees to the face can also be used as Tie-Back reinforcement if excavation is limited, allowing installers to work in between tree roots and bedrock to create stable slopes.
Vegetation is achieved in a number of different ways, depending on the application and desired aesthetic.
- Hydroseeding with specific deep rooting grasses and forbs is very common, as is preseeding the Bag fill medium to supplement growth.
- Live staking and brush layering with quick rooting and resilient species such as willows and small shrubs can be used to quickly reestablish riparian environments.
- Live planting directly into the Bags is often used in landscaping walls to achieve a fully customized, instant finished aesthetic.
Standard irrigation systems such as spray heads and drip and soaker lines are typically added in drought prone areas to establish and mature the vegetation.
A mature Flex MSE installation requires very little maintenance and provides living stability for generations.
Flex MSE’s versatility, 50% recycled content, reuse of in situ materials, and creation of green spaces make it a great addition to any LEED project.
Potential categories include Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Materials and Resources, and Innovation and Design.
You can view a list of potential LEED credits available with our system here.
Flex MSE also releases 97% less GHG versus a concrete block wall, allowing owners to dramatically reduce their carbon footprint in construction that used to demand concrete-based solutions.
When building with the Flex MSE Vegetated Wall System we always tell our clients to construct like traditional block retaining walls and finish like you would a landscaping project. Both aspects are integral to the system’s unique strengths and lifetime rating.
When choosing vegetation, things to consider include: application type, growing zone, local invasive plant control programs, and exposure to sunlight. Vegetation planning for Flex MSE balances practical concerns and aesthetic desires.
Depending on the planting method, vegetation is installed into the structure at completion or during construction of the project. It is recommended that full vegetation be achieved within 6 months of completion to ensure the system’s 120 year lifespan. However, this may also vary according to application, site characteristics and local climate.
Native drought tolerant plants will increase the long term viability of vegetation, as well as contribute to the sustainability of local plant life. Nitrogen binding and rhizomatous varieties are also great choices to be considered when developing your planting plan.
If you are unsure which vegetation works best in your region we recommend consulting with a qualified horticulturist or contact a local Flex MSE Dealer for further assistance.