How to Use Landscape Fabric: Step-by-Step Guide

If you’re interested in gardening, we’re sure you’ve seen rolls of landscape fabric at your plant nursery or supplies store.

This fabric is a must-have for people who live in dry regions. When used correctly, the material creates a barrier that limits the penetration of sunlight.

how to use landscape fabric

Not only does this keep the soil from drying out too fast, but it also helps reduce the unwanted growth of weeds.

So, keep on reading if you want to know how to use landscape fabric to get the best outcome. With a few tricks up your sleeves, you might be able to get a more efficient result with the product.  

How to Use Landscape Fabric: Complete Step-by-Step Guide

How to Install Landscape Fabric

To get the desired results, you need to lay the fabric down properly. Otherwise, sunlight might seep through and cause a wild sprout of weeds.

Step 1: Get Rid of Existing Vegetation

To start with the installation process, you first need to clear out your working space. Any existing weeds, grass, or plants you might have grown out of the ground need to be removed.

While digging the plants out, make sure you get the roots out of the ground. Otherwise, the plants might start to grow even after the landscape fabric is laid down.

Use a garden hoe or shovel to avoid making a mess. These tools will also ensure that you get every bit out.

If that is too much work for you, try and use an herbicide. A broad-spectrum herbicide will kill all the existing plants. This might take some time, but the product will ensure that all fast-spreading weeds are demolished.

Step 2: Level the Soil Underneath

To make sure the fabric lays flat on the ground, you need to level the soil you just dug up.

Using a steel rake will give you the best results. You could also take out any stones, sharp objects, or remaining roots while flattening the soil. Please don’t leave any stones behind, as they can later dig into your feet through the fabric.

Make sure the soil is as smooth and flat as it gets.

Step 3: Place the Landscape Fabric

Layout your landscape fabric on the ground and make sure to get the dimensions right. Lay it down to see if every inch of land is covered before you get to cutting.

Start cutting the fabric based on the dimensions you have measured. I suggest using a sharp knife or scissors to make clean cuts.

Some wider areas might need two rolls laid down side by side. When overlapping the fabric, make sure you keep 6 inches of extra material. Cut more than you have to; you can trim the extra later.

Step 4: Staple the Fabric

Weigh down the fabric that you have cut with heavy rocks. This will hold the product in place while you are working.

After you are sure that the material has been laid down perfectly, use landscape fabric staples and a hammer to secure it in place.

If you don’t have a hammer, a small maul will do as well. To ensure that the fabric stays put, put a staple every 10 feet.

The seams and edges of the fabric also have to be sealed with staples. Trim any extra material that is left after stapling.

If you plan to put gravel or other things on the fabric afterward, you might not have to staple the interior so heavily. Just seal the edges properly, and you’ll be good to go.

How to Install Edging for Garden

Edging for the garden is a great way to separate plants. The process gives your garden a better groomed and crisp look.

Here is how you can install edging at home with a few simple steps:

Step 1: Dig the Border

Firstly, you need to outline the border. You can use any helping medium to make the lines straight.

After that, dig a trench along the lines using a small shovel. The canal needs to be at least 6 inches deep.

Step 2: Place Plastic Edge

Place the edge into the trench lightly. Keep 2 inches of the canal you just dug empty underneath. Also, the border should be placed so that the top inch of the plastic is above ground level.

You could use a few steel stakes to hold the edges in place. If you have a longer line to cover, you might need to layer one edge over the other.

Step 3: Fill the Sides

Now take some loose soil and cover both sides of the edge. You could press the soil in so that the edges don’t move. Keep at least half an inch free and peeking out of the ground.

Step 4: Clean up

You’re all done now. Tidy up the edges and clean all the mess. The separated parts are now ready for planting.

How to Lay Landscape Fabric in Vegetable Garden

A significant advantage of using landscape fabric in a vegetable garden is that it holds moisture in the ground. So, you won’t have to water your plants as often.

Besides that, adding this barrier will also eliminate the growth of wild weeds and grass around your precious vegetables.

How to Lay Landscape Fabric in Vegetable Garden

A fool-proof and more efficient way for you to add this barrier is by adding landscape fabric over the soil.

Place a landscape fabric flat on the ground after prepping the soil and staple it in place. Then follow the steps mentioned below:

Step 1: Cut an “X” Shape

Adding plants on top of the fabric adds a pop of color. To do this, select the area you want to plant in and cut an X shape on the material.

You don’t need to make incisions that are too big. Plants can squeeze their way through the fabric. Cutting too big of a whole might distort the purpose of the fabric.

Step 2: Plant the Vegetables

Rather than placing the plant directly onto the soil, try and add a tub. This will create a layer between the soil underneath and the soil of the plant.

The separation keeps growth in control and further eliminates the possibility of weeds growing underneath the landscape fabric.

Step 3: Pat Down the Soil and Seal the Edges

Pat down the soil around your plant by using your hands. This will hold the plant firmly in place.

To cover any regions that might be exposed, you can use more landscape fabric. A thick layer of rocks or mulch will also help.

How to Lay Landscape Fabric Under Rocks

Rocks can sink into the ground if there is no barrier underneath. Also, weeds that grow around rocks are a lot harder to take out or clean.

How to Install Landscape Fabric Under Rocks

It’s better to add a layer of landscape fabric underneath if you want a cleaner outcome.

Step 1: Remove Existing Rocks

The best way to do this procedure is to remove all existing rocks first. Placing the fabric around the rock can be quite tricky.

Large rocks can be wide and shaped unevenly. This makes the method of placing landscape fabric around the object inutile.

Step 2: Spray Weed Killer

It’s better to be safe and spray some weed killer on the ground beforehand. This will kill any existing plants and stop them from piercing through the landscape fabric.

Step 3: Level the Ground and Add Fabric

Following the same process as mentioned before, you can now level the ground and add the fabric.

After stapling and pressing down the edges, you can place your rocks on the barrier. Choose any method of placement; now, your rocks won’t sink into the ground!

Using Landscape Fabric Around Trees

Adding protection fabric around small bushes or flower beds is easy. You can cut a hole for the plant and place the material over it. But what if you have a tree that is too tall to go over with fabric like that?

Here is how you would save your trees from unwanted weeds then:

Step 1: Cut a Slit

Get a sharp pair of scissors and cut a long slit starting from the edge to the middle of the fabric.

Now cover the edges of the bottom of the tree with the fabric to cover all areas. The tree will be in the middle of the slit.

Step 2: Overlap the Flaps

Take the flaps that have been cut and overlap them. It should hug the bottom of the tree tightly. Leave no space for sunlight or water. Then you have to staple the fabric in place.

Step 3: Cover with Mulch

You can add a few inches of mulch on top of the landscape fabric to add extra protection. This will hide the fabric and the staples and also make your garden look more natural.

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How to Install Landscape Fabric around Existing Plants

How to Install Landscape Fabric around Existing Plants

It’s never too late to add this protective barrier fabric to your garden. You can install landscape fabric around existing plants without having to hurt them.

Step 1: Prepare the Ground

The first step would be the prep the ground. For this, you need to remove any sharp stones and existing weeds. Scrape the ground with a steel rake and level it down.

Step 2: Place Landscape Fabric

Place the fabric over your bushes or plants and let it lay flat. Cut more than what you think you might need.

Step 3: Cut a Hole

After placing the fabric over the pants, cut an “x” shaped hole. The hole should be large enough to push the plants through.

When the plants have been pushed through the hole completely, take the flaps of landscape fabric and lay them flat against the ground to cover the soil and roots.

Step 4: Cover Exposed Area

After stapling down the product, you could put some mulch over it to ensure there is no exposure. If needed, the additional fabric can be set to cover the exposed parts.

This will ensure that no sunlight gets through. You could also place decorative rocks on the fabric.

How to Lay Weed Barrier Fabric Under Gravel

When planning to add gravel for decorating your garden, adding a landscape fabric underneath is a must.

Otherwise, the gravel will move around and mix with the ground after a few months of use. Sunlight that will reach this exposed ground will initiate the growth of weeds.

To fix this, you will have to take out all the gravel, kill the weed, and place the gravel over again. Why go through so much trouble when you can fix this issue with landscape fabric?

You will install the fabric the same way you usually would. But you need to make a few adjustments.

Ensure the Ground Underneath Is Flat

To get professional-level gravel decorations, you need to start with a fresh canvas.  So, make sure that the ground is flat and has no existing stones or weeds.

If the ground underneath is bumpy, the gravel won’t lie flat. The finished result will be a bit wonky.  

Pile up the Gravel

It’s always better to add 6 inches or more of gravel over your landscape fabric. Doing this eliminates any chances of weeds sprouting, even if there are a few accidental holes in the fabric. A thick layer of gravel will not let any sunlight go through.

Staple Generously

If there are any gaps in the fabric that you have left out, weed growth is possible. To get rid of this, you will have to deconstruct the entire arrangement and start again.

To avoid this, you can add more staples to the fabric. Ensure that there are no gaps, especially at the edges.

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Final Words

Adding a barrier fabric to your garden can help you in many ways. It helps keep heavy rocks from sinking into the ground, keeps your garden soil moist for a longer time, and also helps get rid of uncontrollable weeds and vines.

If you know how to install landscape fabric properly, you can reduce your garden maintenance time by half!  

So, add this super helpful protective layer around your plants, underneath gravel or rocks, and give yourself a break.

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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