How to put down landscape fabric under wood mulch

Written by jenny harrington Google
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How to put down landscape fabric under wood mulch
Mulch adds a protective layer over landscape fabric. (pine bark mulch image by robert mobley from

Landscape fabric is a finely woven fabric that allows moisture to penetrate the soil while preventing many weeds from growing through it. It's used primarily in ornamental flower beds, although it also provides a suitable mulch around shrubs and other landscape plantings. On its own, the landscape fabric isn't an attractive ground covering, but wood chips and shredded bark mulches disguise it well. The fabric and wood mulch must be applied correctly, or the fabric will pull out from under the wood and become visible again.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • Landscape fabric
  • Spade
  • Tarp or wheelbarrow
  • Mulch

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  1. 1

    Measure the length and width of the bed you are mulching. Add 6 inches onto both measurements.

  2. 2

    Cut a piece of landscape fabric to the adjusted measurements of the bed using a pair of scissors.

  3. 3

    Dig a 2-inch-deep trench around the perimeter of the garden bed. Place the soil in a wheelbarrow or on a tarp outside the bed.

  4. 4

    Lay the fabric over the bed, adjusting it so there is an equal overhang on each side. Cut an "X" in the fabric over any existing plants, and then slip the plants through the "X" cut.

  5. 5

    Push the edges of the fabric into the trench. Smooth the fabric over the soil so that it is in full contact with the soil and there are no air pockets trapped beneath it.

  6. 6

    Fill the trench with the removed soil, anchoring the edges of the fabric. The soil prevents the edges of the fabric from blowing up.

  7. 7

    Spread a 2-inch layer of wood mulch on top of the fabric. Leave a 2-inch space between the mulch and the stems or trunks of plants. Insects and rodents sometimes bed in wood mulch and gnaw on plant stems if the mulch is set too closely.

Tips and warnings

  • Landscape fabric lasts up to five years if laid correctly and kept covered in organic mulch.
  • Replenish the layer of wood chips each spring and fall. They break down over time, revealing the fabric if more is not added.

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