earth anchors, Earth Anchoring Systems Explained

Earth Anchoring Systems Explained

Seawalls are necessary to protect waterfront properties from erosion and flooding. But when water from a heavy rainfall builds up on the land side of a seawall, it can put pressure on the structure and cause it to lean toward the sea. To prevent this, seawalls should be stabilized and strengthened with strong Earth anchors, also known as soil or ground anchors. This guide will explain how these systems work and how contractors can benefit from using them to install and repair seawalls.

earth anchors, Earth Anchoring Systems Explained

How Earth Anchoring Systems Work

Typically made from steel or iron, ground anchors are a very simple yet effective anchoring solution. For securing seawalls, the installation process can be broken down into 3 steps.

  1. The anchor is attached to the seawall by a threaded tie-back, which is securely mounted on a steel plate that’s bolted to the wall.
  2. The anchor is then driven into the ground using hydraulic equipment.
  3. When the desired depth is reached, the drive steel is removed and the anchor is pulled, rotated, and locked into a perpendicular position.

Holding Capacity

Earth anchors come in models that range from light to heavy-duty holding capacities to suit a variety of projects. Lighter models may have a max holding capacity of a few hundred pounds, while a more heavy-duty model may provide resistance up to 6,000 pounds or more. If you’re worried about whether an Earth anchor will support your seawall, always check the class or load capacity. (Or ask our helpful Decks & Docks team!)

The holding capacity of an Earth anchor will also vary depending on the type of soil it’s used in — a softer soil like peat or sand will offer a much lower capacity than a hard soil like gravel or hard clay.

The last thing to consider is depth. The deeper the anchor is driven into the soil, the stronger the hold will be. You can check the holding capacity gauge attached to the anchor locker to determine when the right depth has been reached.

Earth Anchor Applications

While this post will primarily discuss Earth anchors as they are used to stabilize seawalls, Earth anchors have a variety of applications. Some of these include:

  • Anchoring trees that are not yet mature
  • Stabilizing utility poles and similar structures
  • Anchoring other marine construction projects such as floating docks or underwater pipelines
  • Securing temporary structures such as large tents and outdoor stages
  • Supporting guyed masts

7 Advantages of Earth Anchors

There are many reasons to use Earth and soil anchors to secure a seawall.

Easy Installation

One of the main reasons contractors use soil anchors is that they’re so easy to install. There is no need for digging – the anchor can be driven directly into the ground.

Getting the right seawall reinforcement hardware is a breeze, too. The conventional hydraulic and pneumatic equipment used to push the anchor into the soil is compact enough to fit into the back of a pickup truck, further simplifying the installation process.

Minimal Soil Disturbance

Because no holes are dug, Earth anchor systems cause very little soil disturbance. As the anchor is driven into the ground, it compacts the soil that it pulls against. The lack of displaced soil doesn’t just make installation easier – it’s also better for the environment. This means that if you’re worried about your property or landscaping, don’t be! As long as you install the Earth anchors properly or hire a skilled marine contractor, you should be fine.

Cost Effective

Earth anchors have cost benefits as well. Installed with a new seawall, a strong soil anchor will prolong the life of the wall and save you money on repairs later on.

You can also save money on seawall repairs using Earth anchors. Instead of demolishing and replacing a failing wall, you can use a tieback-anchor system to shore up and restabilize it. Lastly, a reinforced seawall will prevent the costly damage associated with the flooding and soil erosion that can occur when a seawall is in poor condition.


Sometimes, a seawall will need to be installed very close to a property. Structures, landscaping, and swimming pools are common obstacles that can make securing a seawall difficult. Earth anchors are a versatile solution that can be easily installed underneath these types of obstacles without disruption.

They can also be used with a variety of seawall materials, including vinyl, wood, and concrete.

Powerful Hold

Earth anchors can turn a strong seawall into a well-fortified barrier between land and sea. The strongest Manta Ray anchors have maximum holding capacities up to 40,000 pounds! Even in poor soil conditions, Earth anchors can still support relatively high loads.

Accurate Hold Capacity Readings

Some Earth anchor systems, like those from Manta Ray, show the hold capacity on a gauge attached to the anchor locker. These readings make it easy to reach the necessary hold capacity for each project and load test during the installation process.


Ground anchors are resistant to corrosion and soil alkalis. High-quality anchors made from galvanized ductile iron can last as long as 120 years, minimizing the costs associated with removal and replacement.

Repairing an Old Seawall with Earth Anchors

If a seawall is damaged, it needs to be repaired as soon as possible. Not only does it pose a safety risk, but the next storm or high tide that comes along will only make the damage worse and the repairs more costly.

Earth anchors are a quick and cost-effective way to reinforce an old or damaged seawall. Demolishing and replacing the wall requires a great deal of time, money, and heavy equipment. Contractors can save themselves a lot of hassle by opting to restabilize the wall with an Earth anchoring system instead. Or, if demolition and replacement are deemed necessary, then an Earth anchor system can keep the wall intact until that process can get underway.

Find Quality Seawall Construction Materials

If your next project involves installing or repairing a seawall, you’ll need quality construction material to get the job done right. Decks & Docks Lumber Co. is proud to be a leading provider of marine construction materials in the Southeast. From vinyl seawall to engineered earth anchors, we have everything you need to make your next project a success. Call us or visit one of our locations to learn more about our selection of seawall products.