How to Properly Use Landscape Fabric

Landscaping fabric used between a row of plants to prevent weeds

Landscape fabric is a useful and relatively inexpensive landscaping tool that gardeners, homeowners, and landscaping companies often use for various landscaping projects. While landscape fabric is not rocket science and is actually quite easy and straightforward to use, it’s important to know how to properly use it so it can be as effective as possible. While improperly used landscape fabric will still do something, it’s best to take the time to properly prep the space, apply the fabric, and fix it to ensure it can work effectively. Do your best using the landscape fabric, and it will do its best for you!

What Is Landscape Fabric?

A roll of landscape fabric on a white background

Landscape fabric is basically what it sounds like: a kind of fabric used in landscaping projects. Laying down landscape fabric is an easy and effective way to control and manage weeds in the garden or other parts of the yard. Landscape fabric creates a barrier between the soil and air, meaning, it is more difficult for unwanted plants to propagate and for flying seeds to land, grow, and make themselves at home. Because landscape fabric is porous, it still allows for soil moisture regulation and airflow while keeping out sunlight and seeds to prevent unwanted growth.

Different Kinds of Landscape Fabric

Person with gardening glove on smoothing out the landscape fabric around a small shrub

Different kinds of landscape fabric differ in their durability, life expectancy, weight, and permeability, and other factors. The two main kinds of landscape fabric are woven and nonwoven, the latter being the more porous of the two and ideal for cultivated garden beds.

Landscape fabric is often preferred by gardeners or landscapers over black plastic because it’s more durable, porous to moisture and air, less toxic, and easier to work with. Black plastic has its place, but can tear easily and create a big plastic mess in the yard and garden with loads of little shreds of plastic flying around. For environmentally-conscious gardeners and homeowners, you can specifically buy biodegradable landscape fabric that is durable to last but won’t cause the long-term problems of petroleum-based landscape fabric.

Why Use Landscape Fabric

Person wearing red gardening gloves while removing weeds from their garden

The main use of landscape fabric is weed control. It is considered a resilient barrier system ideal for gardens or beds that are prone to lots of weeds. It can also be used in landscaping projects and garden beds to help prevent erosion and loss of soil. Landscape fabric is also an effective tool to use under walkways, stone patios, or other landscape features where weeds could creep through the crack. For example, laying heavy-duty landscape fabric beneath your stone walkway will ensure that weeds are less likely to sprout out between the stones.

In a garden setting, it’s typically best to use lighter and more porous landscape fabrics to ensure proper moisture regulation and airflow. Black landscape fabrics are also sometimes used by northern gardeners in vegetable gardens to help warm up the soil in the spring and retain heat in the fall. This is helpful in extending the growing season. If you’re looking to try this technique, be sure to use light landscape fabric that allows for ample moisture and air to move through and isn’t UV resistant, as the sun’s UV rays are what ultimately warms the soil.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Properly using landscape fabric ensures that it lasts long and works effectively. Follow this step-by-step guide to be sure you cover all the bases:

Landscape fabric is a versatile and useful tool that, when used properly, is impressively effective in weed control for a wide variety of garden and landscaping projects.

While do-it-yourself projects can be fun and fulfilling, there is always a potential for personal injury or property damage. We strongly suggest that any project beyond your abilities be left to licensed professionals such as electricians, plumbers, and carpenters. Any action you take upon the information on this website is strictly at your own risk, and we assume no responsibility or liability for the contents of this article.


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