A Lagrangian-based SPH-DEM coupling model is proposed to study fluid–solid interaction (FSI) problems with free-surface flow. In this model, SPH uses an incompressible divergence-free scheme for simulating complex flow problems. Based on the Mohr–Coulomb criterion with tension cut, the DEM describes the characteristics of solid deformation and failure by means of contact models between particles. The coupling mechanism between SPH and DEM is realised by the decoupling of the force field during the process of fluid–solid interaction. That is, the motions of fluid and solid particles are reflected by the Navier–Stokes equations and interactions among solid particles are determined by Newton’s second law in the DEM. To demonstrate the applicability of the SPH-DEM model, three case studies are used to verify the different fluid interaction situations with rigid bodies, deformable objects, and granular assemblies, respectively. The results of the proposed model shows good agreement with experimental data and indicates that it is capable of capturing the features of solid movement, deformation and failure under complex flow conditions with convincing accuracy and high efficiency.