best landscape fabric

Choosing the Best Landscape Fabric & How to Install It

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Choosing the best landscape fabric is an important choice for any garden and to meet your needs. There are a variety of landscape fabrics on the market, each with advantages and disadvantages. For example, do you need thick and durable fabric or thin landscape weed barriers between your plants and the soil? This article will talk about the different types of landscape weed cover fabric available and how to install them properly.

Table of Contents

What Is the Best Landscape Fabric?

1. Best Overall Value

Sale
Happybuy 6FTx300FT Premium Weed Barrier Fabric Heavy Duty 3.2OZ
  • Durable PP Fabric: This 3.2 oz heavy-duty weed barrier fabric measures 6 ft wide and 300 ft long. The 1800 sq. ft broad coverage can cover more area at once to protect your land from weeds, which will highly increase your productivity and efficiency.
  • High Permeability: Our landscape fabric is designed with excellent permeability. You never need to worry about the water will be puddled on the top of the material. In addition, the sturdy structure of the fabric stops weed or grass from going through, effectively inhibiting weed or grass growth.
  • Weed Control & Soil Improve: This garden fabric can allow the soil to breathe and keep soil retaining humidity. In addition, the black color has better shading performance, and the material won't cause harm to the earth. Finally, it will provide you with premium weed protection for a long time under various weather conditions.

Made of sturdy, durable, and tear-resistant material, this fabric is a must-have for homeowners who want to protect their land from pesky weeds. This product is easy to install, and the exclusive garden control mat allows air and water to permeate, conserving your soil’s moisture and preserving its value. Plus, the large size means you can cover more areas at once.

2. Best Residential Landscape Fabric

ECOgardener Premium 5oz Pro Garden Weed Barrier Landscape Fabric
  • Discover The Professional Gardening Solution – The ECOgardener ultimate pro weed barrier landscape fabric is here to make your life easier and 100% hassle-free. Designed to provide unparalleled weed control, this premium weed barrier fabric will skyrocket your productivity and efficiency!
  • Super-Easy To Install and Set-Up – You don’t have to be an expert or call in expensive professionals in order to set up the elite ECOgardener weed blocking fabric, since it is light enough so that you can carry and cut it and also heavy enough to protect your garden.
  • Your Soil Has Value And We Know It – Our exclusive garden weed control mat is designed to let air and water through, thus conserving your soil’s moisture and preserving its value. The ECOgardener simple and easy gardening solution is going to keep weeds away without blocking air or water.

Environmentally friendly and convenient, the ECOgardener Premium 5oz Pro Garden Best Weed Barrier Fabric is perfect for anyone looking for unparalleled weed control. Durable and sturdy, this landscape fabric is light enough to carry and cut while heavy enough to protect your garden. In addition, there is a low risk in trying it out with a 30-day, hassle-free, full refund guarantee.

3. Best Commercial Landscape Fabric

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HOOPLE Garden Weed Barrier Landscape Fabric (32inch X 180ft)
  • Premium Weed Barrier Fabric: Measures 32 Inches x 180 Feet. Thick and durable fabric can be used for a long time. Saving your time on buying normal fabric and reinstall it. Keeping your garden and flower beds free of weeds for a long period of time.
  • Easy to install a roll of extra thick sunlight minimizing weed barrier fabric for yard landscapes, flower beds and garden. It’s very easy to roll out, place down and start planting.
  • Environmentally friendly, chemical- free, weed barrier roll that doesn't harm the ecosystem of your yard. Allowing your plants to thrive.
  • Our exclusive garden product is designed to let air and water get though. Our heavy-duty fabric will block weeds away for free irrigation.
  • Tough and durable under direct sunlight.

HOOPLE Garden Weed Barrier Landscape Fabric is a premium weed barrier fabric that effectively controls weeds and grasses from growing in your garden and flower beds, paver stones, gravel, or other outdoor projects. Its heavy-duty landscape fabric design makes it great for long-term use. This weed block fabric features an ultra-thick layer of nonwoven polyethylene, which resists tearing and puncture even when used on sharp objects such as rocks and pavers. This durable landscape fabric also has an anti-UV coating to prevent sun damage, resulting in a 5-year guarantee.

What Is Landscaping Fabric, And How Does It Work?

Landscaping fabric is used to cover the ground to prevent weeds from growing and keep your garden weeds free. It is usually made of synthetic material, such as polyethylene, and it is placed over the soil before any plants or mulch are added. The fabric allows water and air to pass through while preventing the growth of weeds. It is an important part of garden maintenance, and it’s crucial to choose the right type of fabric for your needs. Make sure to invest in high-quality landscaping fabric to ensure the physical barrier between your plants and soil lasts!

Why Use Landscaping Fabrics?

Using landscape fabric is a great way to add extra value to your garden or yard. The soil needs just the right moisture for plants and flowers to grow. However, a large amount of water seeping through the bottom can cause mold and mildew, which can harm and kill your plants. The best way to prevent this from happening is to use a weed control barrier, which will keep the moisture in a while, allowing air and water through. Landscaping fabric is commonly used in areas with many weeds since weed control is the main purpose of the fabric.

Prevent Waterlogging

One of the main concerns when using landscape tarp or fabric is waterlogging, which occurs when too much water seeps through and creates problems such as mold and mildew. Waterlogging can be prevented by using thicker fabrics or taller plants that shade the ground below. Using mulch is another way to avoid waterlogging since it allows excess moisture to run off without seeping into the ground below.

Prevent Gravel and Soil From Moving Around Unnecessarily

Weed control fabric barriers are essential structures that prevent soil erosion by preventing gravel or dirt from moving into unwanted areas. Some fabrics are more effective for this purpose than others since they offer better protection against the elements. However, all fabrics will help keep mulch in place, especially during heavy rainfall.

Less Time Gardening

Using landscape fabric can save homeowners a lot of time throughout the year. Mulch does not need to be watered or raked as often, which can reduce the amount of time spent maintaining your garden by up to 80%. Landscape fabric is especially useful for gardens that receive heavy foot traffic.

When to Use Landscape Fabric

Landscaping fabric is an excellent tool for use in mulch beds. Mold and mildew can be prevented from growing in your soil when using a weed fabric barrier that allows air and water to pass through.

Vegetable and floral gardens may not be the best location for landscaping fabric since the ideal conditions for growing plants are moisture control and sunlight penetration. Since vegetables also need air circulation, landscape fabric may not be a great option to absorb moisture and block light.

Types of Landscape Fabric Materials

Below are some of the different types of landscape fabric materials you can choose for your garden.

Woven

Woven garden fabric is a popular option that allows water and air to pass through while keeping weeds from growing up into the garden bed. Woven fabrics are often made with polypropylene and linen fabrics for durability. This type of fabric is recommended for high traffic areas since the added reinforcement allows it to be walked on without tearing or wearing thin.

Nonwoven

The most common types of landscaping fabric are made up of nonwoven materials such as polyester and are lighter weight than their woven counterparts, making them easier to work with. However, they tend not to last as long and are recommended for mulch beds that receive low traffic. The nonwoven fabric also has less permeability, meaning less air and water passing through for your plants.

Spun

Spun landscape fabric is a versatile option that can be used for various purposes. This type of fabric, typically made from swirling polyester fibers, is ideal for mulch beds, as it will block out weeds while still allowing water and air to pass through. The open weave of spun landscape fabric makes it stronger and more durable than most. Since the material is made of fibers instead of a solid piece, this landscape fabric is less likely to tear or become worn. In addition, this landscape fabric effectively keeps large tree roots from breaching the fabric layer while water and air still permeate.

Perforated

Landscape fabric can be purchased with perforations to help air and water pass through easily. This fabric is excellent for vegetable and flower gardens due to precut areas for planting. However, since the fabric is lightweight, use in areas with high traffic or large root systems may not be advisable.

Burlap

There are many benefits to using organic landscaping fabric as opposed to synthetic materials. If you’re looking for high-quality fabric that will stand the test of time, consider a natural, organic material such as burlap. They can help protect plants and flower beds from harsh weather and wildlife. However, organic landscaping fabric is not as durable as synthetic materials, meaning you may be replacing materials more often.

Plastic

Plastic landscape fabric is not very porous as it does not allow water and air passage and can trap high heat levels. Plastic can also block Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide from entering the soil, affecting your plants’ ability to grow and remain healthy. If you need fabric to use with gravel environments, plastic may be more beneficial.

Pros and Cons of Using Ground Cover Fabric

Pros

This fabric is permeable, allowing air and water to reach the ground cover plants while preventing weeds from surfacing. Using ground cover fabric can prevent overgrowth from plants with creeping tendencies, and the durable and sturdy fabric allows plant growth while keeping lower-lying weeds at bay.

Cons

While durability and strength are beneficial, they can also make the fabric difficult to cut through to fit your garden space. Trimming this fabric may require heavy-duty scissors or a utility knife. In addition, many ground cover fabric rolls are commercial-sized and become expensive when purchased in bulk.

Considerations for Buying the Best Landscape Fabric

Thickness/Durability

You want to choose a material that is going to be durable and long-lasting (not a cheap commercial grade weed barrier). The weight of the fabric you choose will depend on how much traffic it will endure. If you’re more on the minimalistic side of gardening, using a thinner fabric will work for some weed protection without as much durability. For more decorative landscapers, consider heavier-duty materials with a tighter weave design. This will produce a subtle effect of texture and pattern.

UV Resistance

Since landscaping fabric resides outdoors, it will be susceptible to the sun’s ultraviolet light (UV rays). Extended exposure to these rays will cause your landscaping fabric to deteriorate quicker, which is why many fabrics are UV resistant or UV stabilized. Resistant fabrics are made with qualities that make the fabric less at risk of deterioration from rays, while stabilized fabrics are chemically enhanced to block the UV rays. Consider chemically treated fabrics carefully when using around food crops and edible plants.

Size/Amount in the Roll

When purchasing landscaping fabric, buyers will want to consider the size of the area being worked with. If a garden or flower bed takes up a lot of space, buyers should consider buying fabric in commercial size or bulk. Buying bulk can get expensive fast, but the unit price may be lower than buying smaller fabric loads in higher quantities.

Lifespan

Landscaping fabric can be affected by many factors such as sun exposure, foot traffic, soil moisture levels, and more. These factors can affect the fabric’s longevity and effectiveness over time. Therefore, many products include descriptions of estimated lifespans of their fabrics, which the product and fabric design materials can influence.

Cost

Landscaping fabric can vary in price depending on the buyer’s needs. It’s available in varying levels of thickness and size. Thicker fabrics tend to cost more, while products with larger length and width dimensions tend to cost more.

Reviews/Rating

When purchasing any product, it is imperative to do your research. Most products will come with testimonies from users, including ratings from 1-5 stars and reviews. In the rating section, you can see the average rating users give products, which can indicate quality, satisfaction, installation process, weed prevention fabric, etc. Landscape fabric reviews can also include pictures from users that show how they have used the product. Reviews can help compare how you can use the product in your own space. It is important to read both high ratings and low ratings to become more informed on a product.

Installation

Some fabric materials are thicker and more durable than others, meaning they may require stronger professional tools. For the DIY gardener looking to avoid expensive installations, be sure to select a product that can be cut with typical scissors. Hiring Gardeners comes at a price, usually charged by the square foot of material needed. Product reviews can also give insight into the installation process and other materials needed besides the landscaping fabric.

Fabric vs. Plastic

Landscape fabric is made from either nylon or polypropylene, while plastic is made from polyethylene (HDPE). Both fabrics are intended to prevent weed growth. The difference? Nylon and polypropylene fabric are absorbent materials that allow water to pass through, while polyethylene doesn’t absorb water. With plastic, weed growth is inhibited when it does not have access to water, while landscape fabric allows the roots of your plants to receive water from underneath.

Fabric vs. Geotextiles

In gardens, landscape fabrics are used for weed prevention to create a barrier between the soil and plants while allowing water, oxygen, and carbon dioxide gases to pass through. Geotextiles, typically made with woven polypropylene, are used mostly in soil erosion control and slope stabilization. If a garden has a higher incline, geotextiles can be used to allow water and gases to reach your plants while keeping the soil firmly in place. Geotextiles can help prevent water drainage issues on a property as well.

How to Install Weed Control Fabric

1. Gather Equipment, Tools & Materials

Depending on the amount of landscaping fabric you need to install, you may need some or all of these tools.

  • Landscaping material of choice
  • Tape measure
  • Scissors or utility knife
  • Hammer or mallet
  • Bow Rake
  • Garden hoe
  • Landscaping staples
  • Soil
  • Mulch
  • Garden Plants

2. Remove All Vegetation

It’s important to get rid of existing weeds in your garden before laying landscaping fabric. A garden hose can help the gardener remove vegetation by the root to prevent the spread of weeds once the fabric is installed.

3. Clear and Level the Soil

To clear and level your soil, use a steel bow rake to remove any uprooted weeds, rocks, twigs, or other sharp items that could damage your landscaping fabric. The unwanted materials can be discarded outside of the garden space. After removing debris, use the bow rake to create a level soil plane to place the landscape fabric on.

4. Lay the Landscape Fabric

Take your roll of landscaping fabric and cut the desired length using your utility knife. This length of fabric will be laid on the cleared soil of your garden space and can be weighed down until ready to be stapled. If fabric overlapping is necessary, make sure to have at least a 6-inch overlap of fabric. Lastly, install the proper side facing upwards, as directed by the manufacturer.

5. Secure the Fabric With Staples

Once the fabric is in place, landscape staples can be placed every 10 feet with a hammer or mallet. Be sure to add extra reinforcement along edges and curves. The soil, mulch, and additional garden plants will help to keep the landscaping fabric in place.

6. Plant Through the Landscape Fabric (Optional)

Now the space is ready for planting, should the gardener choose to do so. Using scissors or a utility knife, cut an X shape into the landscaping fabric from outside to inside. Pull the flaps outward, dig a hole the size of the plant roots, and place the plant in the ground. Cover the exposed roots with additional soil, and place the flaps back around the plant base.

7. Add Mulch (Optional)

Add a 3″ layer of mulch on top of your landscape fabric to help suppress weed growth, help soil retains its moisture, and add nutrients to the garden.

Tips for Using Landscape and Weed Barrier Fabric

Professional Grade Materials

Professional grade landscaping fabrics are made of strong polypropylene mesh with UV protection to help protect against degradation due to direct sunlight. When installing the fabric, make sure to use professional-grade staples for durability and protection from ripping or tearing. Also, make sure to check the required materials when installing professional-grade landscaping fabric.

Overlap the Edges

As mentioned earlier, it is recommended that if overlapping of landscaping fabric is necessary, at least 6 inches of overlap should be present. Without adequate overlap, weeds have an opening to creep through the gap and infiltrate the garden.

Landscape Fabric Alternatives

  • Cardboard: This material can be low-cost and easy to cut. It’s environmentally friendly but breaks down quickly. In addition, its weed protection abilities are weak compared to landscaping fabric.
  • Newspaper: Similar to cardboard’s qualities, newspaper is cheap and easy to work with but lacks longevity and durability.
  • Ground Cover Plants: For a more organic alternative, ground cover plants such as creeping juniper and ajuga can help prevent weed growth. These plants absorb valuable sunlight instead of weeds.
  • Herbicides: There are a variety of weed-killing herbicides on the market that can prevent weed growth and treat weeds that appear throughout the season. Be prepared to reapply herbicides every few months for optimal results.

Best Landscape Fabric FAQ

How Much Does Landscaping Fabric Cost?

There is a wide variety of landscape fabrics on the market, their costs ranging anywhere from $5-$10 per square foot. The size and type of material you choose will influence your total cost. Purchasing fabric in bulk can also reduce costs.

How Long Does Weed Barrier Last?

The inhibition abilities of weed tarp are most effective up to a year of use. While the fabric can remain intact in the soil for up to 20 years, the landscape fabric is still exposed to sun, water, and other elements. As a result, over time, weeds can begin to grow through the holes of the landscape fabric.

Is Filter Fabric the Same as Landscape Fabric?

Filter fabric allows water to pass through while filtering undesired materials like sediment, dirt, and silt. This material is often used in construction sites and drainage areas. In garden areas, landscape fabric serves as a weed barrier for gardens.

Which Side Faces up When Installing My Landscaping Fabric? 

Most landscape fabrics are two-sided. The side that faces up is typically the shiny side, while the felted or matted side faces down into the soil to prevent it from moving or sliding out of place. Check product description and instructions before installing.

What Are the Different Grades of Landscape Fabric?

Landscaping fabrics are typically classified based on material. The most common materials used in landscaping fabric are mentioned earlier in this article in more detail but include woven, nonwoven, and perforated.

What Do You Put Under Landscape Fabric?

Under your landscaping fabric should be a level and cleared soil layer. Be sure to remove the soil of sharp items and rocks and rake it until it is even to ensure the landscape fabric stays in place.

Should Landscape Fabric Go Under Gravel?

Landscaping material can be beneficial under gravel and rock areas in the garden. Not only does the landscape material block weed growth, but it can also prevent gravel from mixing into the soil.

What Can I Put On Top of Landscape Fabric?

Once landscaping fabric is installed, and any plants are added to the soil through cuts in the fabric, mulch can be added to cover the remaining area. A mulch layer of 2 to 3 inches will be sufficient in covering the landscape fabric, and any additional rocks or decorations can be added to personalize your garden space.

Can I Lay Landscape Fabric Over Weeds?

Landscape fabrics can be placed over weeds already present in an area, but it is recommended to clear the garden space of weeds before installation to reduce the risk of weeds growing up into the garden.

Do You Put Soil on Top of Landscape Fabric?

This is not wise. The purpose of landscape fabric is to block weed growth, and if used below soil rather than on top, weeds will have no barrier to stop them.

Will Landscaping Fabric Affect the Drainage of My Lawn?

Landscape fabric comes in varying thickness degrees—the thicker the material, the lower the permeability. Fabric with more porosity allows more water to flow down into your soil, reducing runoff. Thicker fabrics will have more runoff after heavy rains.

How Does Landscape Fabric Let Water Through?

Perforated holes are found within the gardening fabric, allowing water to flow through the fabric and into your soil to benefit plant growth.

The Bottom Line—Should I Use Landscape Fabric?

Overall, landscaping fabric can be a beneficial staple to any garden space and can be used in various ways, from helping your soil retain moisture and serving as a weed block. This fabric can be used with gardens for weed prevention and gravel areas as a base. It is important to choose the best landscape fabric and recognize the needs of a garden space when making your selection to best suit each space. Which type is the best landscape fabric for your garden?

Last Updated on August 23, 2022 by Gustaf Johansson

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