In this study, the large-scale apparatus used to examine vacuum preloading in conjunction with conventional surcharge loading. Several tests were performed to examine the effect of a vacuum and determine parameters such as the extent of smear zone and the soil permeability characteristics. The settlement and excess pore pressure associated with a combined vacuum and surcharge load indicates that applying a vacuum has specific benefits. The analytical modeling of one-dimensional consolidation by vertical drains with vacuum preloading considering both variation of soil compressibility and permeability is used to predict the soil consolidation behavior. It is shown that the analytical model can reasonably predict the laboratory behavior.