This paper presents a theoretical model for investigating the installation effect of high pressure jet grouting column in soft clay. The model is formulated by assuming the installation process as a series of pressure-controlled spherical cavity expansion in semi-infinite soil, of which the approximate solutions are derived by combining use of two fundamental solutions of spherical cavity expansion in finite spherical symmetry soil and displacement-controlled spherical cavity expansion in semi-infinite soil. The approximate solutions are then validated by comparing the predictions with FEM results as well as published results. The comparison results show that the presented approximate solutions are suitable for the problem of pressure-controlled spherical cavity expansion in semi-infinite soil, particularly in evaluating the limit expansion pressure as well as the expansion pressure-ground surface displacement relation. Subsequently, the proposed approximately solutions are applied to interpret the limit injection pressure and the grouting pressure-ground surface displacement during the installation process of HPJ-GC. Some parametric studies are also conducted. Furthermore, an instrumented field test study of HPJ-GC is conducted in the thick soft soils comprising quaternary alluvial and marine deposits of the Lianyungang-Yancheng Highway located in Jiangsu Province, China. The measured ground heave is compared with the analytical predictions using the proposed theoretical model. Reasonable agreement is achieved.