How to lay a weed fabric

Written by heidi a. reeves
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Many landscapers and gardeners put down landscape fabric, a special cloth designed to control weed growth, when planting new plots. The cloth creates a barrier that keeps sunlight from hitting exposed soil while still allowing rain to soak through and nourish plants. With a little planning, you can properly install landscape (weed) fabric in your garden or landscape design.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Weed fabric
  • Rake
  • Scissors
  • Landscape staples
  • Utility knife
  • Landscape plants
  • Mulch

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  1. 1

    Rake the planting area to remove weeds, stones and twigs, and to smooth out the soil.

  2. 2

    Cover the planting area with weed fabric--unrolling the material lengthwise across the garden bed.

  3. 3

    Trim weed fabric along the perimeter of the planting area with heavy-duty scissors.

  4. 4

    Anchor the weed fabric to the ground with landscape staples--focusing especially on securing the edges in place.

  5. 5

    Determine where you will plant on the landscape fabric-covered plot.

  6. 6

    Cut an "X" into the fabric where each plant will go. Make each "X" large enough to comfortably fit the plant's root ball. Use a utility knife to make precise cuts.

  7. 7

    Plant shrubs, flowers and grasses as usual. When you dig each hole, keep the weed cloth above the soil.

  8. 8

    Tuck the weed cloth flaps around each plant's stem.

  9. 9

    Cover the weed cloth with 2 to 3 inches of mulch.

Tips and warnings

  • If you're installing weed cloth around existing plants, cut slits in the cloth to allow the plants' stems to slide into place. Once the weed cloth is in place, cut a larger hole around each plant stem to ease pressure. Cover any exposed ground with scrap pieces of weed fabric.
  • If you need to use multiple pieces of weed cloth to cover your landscaping plot, overlap the cloth edges by 3 to 6 inches. This will prevent weeds from growing through cracks in the cloth.

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