Does Landscape Fabric Let Water Through? A Complete Guide

Among many of the steps, using landscape fabric can bring success in your garden. It controls many of the useful ingredients for plants and allows plants to grow healthy. Ensuring proper sunlight, air, and nutrients, does landscape fabric let water through?

Does Landscape Fabric Let Water Through

Landscape fabric lets water through. However, it comes with non-porous surface that prevents evaporation from the soil. As a result, the soils stays enough wet which is beneficial for plants. But after 24 hours of providing water, the fabric becomes porous and ensures evaporation of extra water under fabric.

Additionally, landscape fabric (Check here) offers some other benefits. When planning to use this item in your garden, you should also know some of its disadvantages. Let’s find all of its essential information before using it in the garden.

Does Landscape Fabric Let Water Through?

Yes, landscape fabric lets water through. Generally, landscape fabric is designed for application on the garden soil so that water can’t evaporate fast. Moreover, it prevents excessive weed growth in the garden for a limited water flow.

Landscape fabric contains a coating that makes the surface non-porous. So, the water can’t evaporate from the fabric instantly and make the soil completely dry. That’s how the garden remains healthy for plants’ growth.

This fabric is made of woven fibers and contains holes. So, the construction of the fabric helps to hold sufficient water for the plants. The non-porous coating helps this process further. But this coating is not permanent.

The coating will degrade if it rains heavily or you water the garden with too much water. The degradation can happen within 24 to 48 hours if the heavy water flow continues. Then the landscape fabric can’t remain non-porous, and the water evaporates out of the soil.

However, landscape fabric helps to grow plants effectively in many ways. Sometimes, people think that the fabric might not let the water go through the roots of plants. But you can see that this fabric contains thousands of holes. So, water can seep through the holes, and roots get enough water.

You must ensure the holes are not clogged. Otherwise, clogged pores will not let the water go through the fabric. So, landscape fabrics with cleaned pores will let water through.

How Fast Does Water Go Through Landscape Fabric?

How fast water goes through the landscape fabric depends on the coating of the fabric. If the landscape fabric doesn’t have any coating, it will flow water instantly within a couple of minutes. The landscape fabrics have thousands of holes that allow water to go through the fabric immediately.

How Fast Does Water Go Through Landscape Fabric

But most manufacturers apply one type of non-porous coating on the landscape fabric. This coating helps the water to go through the fabric slowly. This keeps the evaporation of water slowly. That’s why the water quantity remains limited and sufficient simultaneously.

But heavy rainfall and too much water will dissolve the non-porous coating from the fabric surface. So, the water starts to leach out from the fabric after a day or two. As a result, water starts to go through the fabric very fast.

The coating helps prevent fast evaporation of the water from soil. This feature is one of the most beneficial features of landscape fabric. But if the fabric’s holes are clogged, you will not get the benefit anymore. However, the coating on the fabric determines how fast water will go through it.

Where to Use Landscape Fabric?

Landscape fabric is used beneath mulched areas around trees, bushes, or shrubs which are usually made of linen, polypropylene, polyester, or recycled materials. It can also be used below rock, sand, gravel, asphalt, hardscaping, etc.

Not only for your garden, but it’s also quite beneficial in road construction projects. Let’s know about its most popular uses.

Weed barrier:

Landscape fabric is used as a weed barrier in your garden or flower bed. When it is placed on the top of the soil and beneath the mulch, it helps prevent weeds. This prevents weeds from taking deep roots into the soil, but won’t stop the growth of weeds.

A Protective Layer of French Drains:

The use of landscape fabric for lining French drains is quite popular. Generally, French drains have a perforated pipe that helps to move the drain’s water and groundwater from a pooling area.

The fabric is wrapped around the entire pipe. So that it does not clog dirt, weeds, gravel, and other debris in the hole and cause any obstruction to water flow. In this case, a non-woven landscape is usually used.

Separation Layer of Drain Fields:

In drain fields, the landscape fabric acts as a separation layer between soils and separates the gravel from the soil.

Driveway and Road Construction:

Whenever you are doing road construction work, installing landscape fabric on road is a great idea. The fabric should be laid before placing gravel on the driveway or road. This will save a lot of time and cost to repair and refresh the gravel.

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Should I Use Landscape Fabric in My Flower Bed?

Yes, the uses of landscape fabric have great benefits. It can prevent weed growth in your flower bed. It’s a chemical-free method. Not only that, it acts as a soil insulator, controlling soil erosion, and limiting evaporation.

It helps in maintaining soil health remarkably. It regulates temperature and retains soil moisture. This fabric keeps the soil cool during summer and warm during winter. Usually, herbicides are required for your garden. But landscape fabric can also reduce the use of the herbicide.

It is very helpful in the flower bed where rock mulch is used. Because you may know that small rocks sink slowly into the ground. This makes digging the ground difficult. Here landscape fabric acts as a barrier between the rock and soil. This prevents the rocks from sinking into the ground.

But along with the advantages, it also has some disadvantages. If you think this will make your flower bed completely weed-free then you are wrong. It’s just an ideal option that you can use to control or manage weeds. You should decide to use landscape fabric after considering all the pros and cons.

Can I Use Landscape Fabric for French Drain?

French drains require holding back the surrounding soil and drainage ditch structure. This is why fabric should always be used when making French drains. In this case, landscape fabric works well. It can be used for your drainage issue. But you must pick the right one among these four types: woven, non-woven, spun, and perforated.

However, among these four, woven and non-woven are used more for drainage issue. Although both have the ability to increase soil stability and ground support, there are slight differences between them in their strengths and weaknesses. Their performance depends on their characteristics and the application for which they’re being used.

I recommend non-woven geotextile as an ideal choice for drainage application. The main concern of this geotextile is to flow water highly to the surface thoroughly. Its notable uses are French drains, drain fields, and erosion control.

Do You Put Soil on Top of Landscape Fabric?

No, you should not put soil on top of landscape fabric. Landscape fabrics are perforated fabrics that are used on gardens and lawns. Generally, people use landscape fabric in their lawns to control unnecessary weeds and plants.

However, landscape fabrics are placed over the soil, and the upper parts of the plants are over the landscape fabric. This arrangement allows the plants to get enough sunlight, water, and other necessary ingredients.

Other unexpected plants or weeds can grow on the lawn since the soil is covered with landscape fabric. This fabric doesn’t allow sunlight, water, and other ingredients to unnecessary plants.

If you put soil on top of landscape fabric, weeds and grasses will have soil and sunlight to grow. Moreover, when you grow plants on the soil on top of the fabric, the roots will not go deep.

You might know that the plants’ roots need to go at least some inches deep into the soil. But if you put soil on top of the landscape fabric, the roots will not get water, nutrients, and other elements from the soil. That’s why you should not put soil on top of the landscape fabric.

Should I Put Landscape Fabric under Rocks?

If your garden is overgrown with weeds and you really don’t want to pull them every day, you can put a good quality landscape fabric under rocks. It will keep the seed germination of weeds under control by blocking sunlight and water. It will also help to maintain your landscape easily and enhance its beauty manifold.

If your garden soil is loose, heavy rain can easily wash away the soil. As a result, rocks can also become loose and shift erratically. This can damage the roots of your favorite plants. In this case, landscaping fabric can save you from this issue. It will hold the soil in place by preventing it from washing away even during heavy rains.

But yes, no matter how much you use the best quality fabric; you will never be able to control 100% of weeds from growing. Some weed seeds will still germinate despite the weed barrier and mulch. The advantage is that weed roots can’t spread through the soil because of the landscape fabric.

It also has some drawbacks. As such it can create drainage problems, which can lead to soil waterlogging and damage your plants. Blocking water, air, and sunlight from reaching the roots can prevent the growth of weeds. But the downside is that it can also rot your plant’s roots. So decide to use it considering all aspects according to your needs.

Should Landscape Fabric Go Under Gravel?

You can put landscape fabric under gravel. Gravel over the landscape fabric provides stability and helps prevent weeds’ growth. Generally, people use landscape fabric and gravel to prevent the excessive growth of weeds and unwanted plants.

If you put landscape fabric under gravel, it will prevent weeds even more efficiently. Moreover, the landscape fabric stabilizes the soil when under gravel. The soil also holds moisture since the weed growth is under control.

Besides, if you don’t use landscape fabric, you will need more gravel for the purpose. This fabric reduces the amount of gravel requirement. Also, the landscape fabric filters away unnecessary and harmful elements to go into the soil.

As a result, the overall condition of the garden soil remains in good condition for the landscape fabric under gravel. Considering the benefits, people recommend using landscape fabric under gravel.

Can I Put Landscape Fabric Over Weeds?

You can but if you do this, weeds may grow unhindered under the fabric and steal nutrients the plants need, disturbing their proper growth.

Remember that this is not an effective technique at all. Your troubleshooting efforts may fail. That is because landscape fabric mainly acts as a weed controller. You are using it to get rid of weeds problem. Putting landscape fabric over the weeds is a totally useless attempt.

For the most effective result, be sure to pull out weeds before using the fabric. If your garden has a lot of uncontrolled weeds, it may be necessary to dig deep into the soil. Remove all unwanted weeds, and allow the soil to dry properly. Then install the fabric on it.

However, if you already have installed landscape fabric directly over weeds, then the solution is to cover the fabric with good organic mulch on top of it. You can use small stones, gravel, or rock to make mulch.

Can I Use Two Layers of Landscape Fabric?

Now that you know the benefits of landscape fabric, you might want to use a double layer of this fabric. But using two layers of landscape fabric on the soil is not a wise idea.

The primary purpose of using landscape fabric is to control other plants’ growth. But this doesn’t mean the fabric is used to prevent all the necessary elements like water, sunlight, nutrients, etc.

When you put two layers of landscape fabric on the soil, the soil will not get enough sunlight. Moreover, water will not pass through the two layers. As a result, the roots of plants will not get sufficient water.

Besides, the nutrients will not be delivered evenly to the soil. Most importantly, air and oxygen will not pass through the thick layer of double landscape fabric. That’s why you should only apply one layer of fabric for the well-being of plants in your garden or lawn.

Why Shouldn’t I Use Landscape Fabric?

Whether to use landscape fabric is a controversial question. Although many gardeners are in favor of its use, some are not at all. Let us know the reasons that discourage the use of landscape fabric.

Why Shouldn’t I Use Landscape Fabric

Not Effective Against Weeds for Long Periods of Time:

If you make mulch on top of landscape fabric, it can last for decades. But the issue here is its effectiveness. Let me make it clear to you.

When you create a garden and any perennial or deep-rooted weeds are there, which will gradually grow through the mulch layer over time. Also, when you are sowing seeds, there may be some weed seeds mixed in as well. Some of these species have the ability to grow through several layers of mulch.

After a few weeks, no deep-rooted weeds may survive for weed control fabric barrier. But by this time, the weed seeds will have penetrated your mulch and germinated. Also, there is a strong possibility of weed seeds being spread by bird droppings. Landscape fabric can’t effectively stop their sprouting at all. Ripping up your fabric may be the only solution to get rid of weeds completely.

Prevents The Essential Elements from Reaching to The Soil:

By using landscape fabric, you are creating a kind of barrier. Naturally, it will hinder the necessary light, air, and water from reaching down into the soil. It will stop normal soil improvement and the soil will become compact.

It also doesn’t allow nutrients or organic matter to easily reach the soil. As a result, they struggle for nutrients and gradually become unhealthy or can eventually die.

Difficult to Re-seedling:

When you use landscape fabric, re-seedling is almost impossible. And this is one of the worst experiences for gardeners. Using it can deprive you of seeing the beauty of re-seeding every year.

Contains Harmful Substances:

Although it is not very harmful to the environment, it may contain petroleum and some other harmful chemicals. They are not equally harmful to all plants but are certainly harmful to edible plants. Horticultural experts recommend using as little as possible of products containing petroleum or chemicals around plants.

Not Budget-friendly:

Landscape fabric is quite expensive. Then there is another type of cost of installing it properly. It will not hold itself to the ground. Pins are required to hold it down for a long time. If you frequently need to install additional pins, that will add an extra amount to your expense account.

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Final Words

Landscape fabric is a useful item for gardeners. If you can apply it properly in the garden, you can notice the change soon. Along with increasing beauty, it saves your time and expenses to control weeds regularly.

But you should also be careful about its downsides. Consider all that I described above, and make a decision whether should you use landscape fabric or not. And one point is sure that it lets water through and ensures everything for your plants to grow well.

Hi, I'm Robert Jameson. I'm a textile engineer. As a textile engineer, I design & create fabric. When I'm not busy with my family members, I research, write, and edit content for Fabric Fits.

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