How to make a garden with pebble ground cover

Updated November 22, 2016

Growing the plants you enjoy outdoors can be made into a chore when your days in the garden are turned into endless battles with weeds. While some gardeners opt to cover everything in mulch or spray harsh chemicals on their garden, you can surround your perennial garden with a pebble ground cover which is both pleasing to the eye and functional. By taking the time to set up your garden and surround it with small rocks, you'll find more time to enjoy your plants and relax outside.

Dig in your garden bed to loosen the soil. Add in any nutrients or amendments to the soil as desired such as incorporating compost or sprinkling an all purpose fertiliser. Rake over the bed to make it level and smooth out any hills.

Spread out a sheets of black landscaping fabric lengthwise from one end of the garden area to the other. If the width of the fabric doesn't cover your bed, then cut another sheet to the same length as the first. Spread the second layer next to the first and overlap the two by six inches. Continue laying strips of landscaping fabric until the surface of your garden bed is covered.

Insert garden staples through the fabric and into the soil every 4 feet along the edge of the garden area. Add staples to the overlapped portions every 4 feet as well to secure the overlap and prevent weeds from growing between the sheets of fabric.

Arrange the placement of you plants by setting the pots they are in on top of the fabric. Move the containers around as needed until you are satisfied with the layout of the garden. Make a cut into the fabric in an X shape at the point where you want each plant to go with the X as large as the bottom of the pot you're working with.

Pull back the loose tabs in the fabric from cutting the X but do not cut them off. Dig the soil to the depth needed for your pot and plant into the hole. Firm up the soil around your planting and fold the tabs back over to close the X around the base of each plant. Repeat cutting X's and planting until the bed is complete.

Spread pebbles (2 to 3 inches deep) over the fabric. Work carefully around your plants to avoid damaging them. Add pebbles from one end of the garden area to the other to ensure an even thickness of pebbles throughout and rake over the pebbles to smooth the surface.


If it is windy as you are making the garden, use bricks or large rocks to hold down the landscaping fabric to keep it from shifting and blowing around until you can staple it. Take the colourations of your plants into consideration when selecting the colour of your pebbles from red or black to white or natural shades of beige. White blooming flowers will standout well with white pebbles while a more colourful variety of blooms may benefit from beiges.


Pay attention as you add pebbles to the overlapped areas of landscaping fabric and don't let any of the rocks slip under the fabric to keep your barrier intact.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Compost, fertiliser, as desired
  • Garden rake
  • Black landscaping fabric
  • Garden staples or U pins
  • Box cutter or knife
  • Potted perennial plants
  • Pebbles
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