weed barrier for low maintenance landscape

Installing weed barrier

Prevent weeds from taking over your yard by installing weed barrier under a layer of gravel or mulch. Just a few of hours of labor done once will free up many more hours you can spend relaxing in your backyard oasis.

This is the type of project that one person can do easily as I’ve done in my new concrete and gravel backyard.

Weed block fabric topped with gravel makes for about the lowest maintenance yard you can have. Here are some tips for installing it.

Using weed barrier fabric effectively

First of all, I do not recommend using it in flowerbeds. In my yard landscape fabric is used everywhere else.

To work effectively it has to be covered with a thick layer (about 4 inches) of gravel or mulch to block light and prevent seed germination. I prefer gravel because it will always look good and will not have to be replenished like mulch does. And because it can’t be dragged into the house on my little dog’s fur.

The first thing to do is figure out the square footage (length x width) and add 20 to 25% to account for overlap. Then get a heavy-duty weed barrier. The one I used was Scott’s landscape fabric from Home Depot.

weed barrier

Scott’s landscape fabric

Preparing the area

Prepare the ground by weeding it and raking it smooth. I also think it’s better to plant trees and shrubs first before installing weed block. You can plant them afterwards but care must be taken not to leave soil on top of the cloth.

Rolling out the weed fabric

Lay out a strip of fabric leaving some extra at the beginning, end and side where it might come into contact with a wall or garden edging. The next row should be overlapped on top of the previous one by at least 6 inches.

Tacking down the fabric

sod staple

Six inch 11-gauge sod staple

Weed block fabric needs to be anchored so it doesn’t get blown away before you get a chance to cover it.

Sod staples can be pushed into the ground at one foot intervals all along the edges. You’ll definitely need those if you’re going to be using mulch as a topper.

But with a gravel topper you can just use bricks to hold the edges down until you spread gravel on top. The weight of the gravel is more than enough to keep it in place.

Working around plants

What I do is roll it down to the plant, fold it back then cut along the fold up to the plant. Then I snip the fabric all around the plant until the fabric is lying flat. Underneath the seam I put down a large scrap piece to overlap so that no ground shows through.

weed barrier

Mama’s little garden helper

Maintenance

Because there’s no such thing as 100% weed protection, eventually a stray one will pop up here and there. Sometimes they come up from the ground, and other times they grow on the surface. Either way, they should be removed before they have a chance to make big holes in the weed barrier.

I carefully push the gravel away from the weed until I see the root, then I pull the whole thing out. If it’s grown up through the fabric and the entire root doesn’t come out, I spray a little herbicide on that spot before covering it back up.

And that’s about it. You can now enjoy your low maintenance yard for many years to come.

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