This paper proposes a new numerical approach to model geocell reinforced soils, where the geocell is described as membrane elements and the complex interaction between geocell and soil is realized by coupling their degrees of freedom. The effectiveness and robustness of this approach are demonstrated using two examples, i.e., a geocell-reinforced foundation and a large scale retaining wall project. The first example validates the approach against established solutions through a comprehensive parametrical study to understand the influence of geocell on the improvement of bearing capacity of foundations. The study results show that reducing the geocell pocket size has a strong effect on improving the bearing capacity. In addition, when the aspect ratio maintains the same value, the bearing capacity improvement with increasing geocell height is insignificant. Comparing with the field monitoring and measurement in the project, the second example investigates the application of the approach to practical engineering projects. This paper provides a practically feasible and efficient modelling approach, where no explicit interface or contact is required. This allows geocell reinforced soils in large scale project can be effectively modelled where the mechanism for complex geocell-soil interaction can be explicitly observed.