How to lay a weed mat

Updated June 18, 2018

Weed mat or weed cloth is used in walkways, flowerbeds, or any area in the landscape where weed growth is undesirable. It is a breathable layer of cloth installed on top of the soil's surface. Grass or weed seeds remaining in the soil beneath the matting cannot germinate due to loss of light. Unwanted vegetation can still grow in the soil or mulch layer above the cloth. Remove those weeds by hand pulling or spraying with an herbicide. Installing the weed mat is relatively basic and requires few tools.

Measure the width and length of the area using a tape measurer. This gives you an idea of how much weed mat you need to cover the area.

Remove any mulch, branches, rocks or other debris from the area. Rake the material from the bed, so the weed mat will have even contact with the soil. Spread a tarp next to the area and rake the mulch on it, if reusing it.

Spread the weed mat out next to the bed, lining up the ends, so it covers the entire length of the area. Cut the matting to size using a sharp knife, box cutter or scissors.

Lay the matting in its designated space in the bed. Make a slice in the matting so it slips around any existing plants growing in the bed. The matting should lay down flat on the ground once sliced to accommodate the plants.

Stick 6- to 8-inch landscaping staples into the matting to hold it in place. Place the staples approximately 2 inches away from each corner edge and approximately every 3 to 5 feet along the edges.

Lay the next strip of weed mat out next to the installed piece and cut to size. Cut a slice in the matting so it fits around existing plants. Overlap the matting approximately 2 inches on top of the installed piece and pin in place as you did the first piece of matting.

Continue installing the matting, cutting it to size, fitting it around plants, overlapping and pinning in place, until the desired area is covered.

Cover the exposed weed mat with the mulch you removed from the bed, or by laying a fresh topping over it. You can also use landscaping rocks to cover the matting. The mulch or rock helps cut down on new weed growth growing on top of the matting and covers it for a more appealing look.


If adding new plants to the matted area, rake the mulch away, cut a slot in the weed mat and plant as usual.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Rake
  • Tarp
  • Knife
  • Box cutter
  • Scissors
  • Landscaping staples
  • Mulch
  • Rock
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About the Author

For over 25 years, Joyce Starr has owned businesses dealing with landscape & design, lawn maintenance, specialty herbs and a garden center. She holds certificates in landscape design and xeriscaping. Starr shares her passion for nature in her writing, publishing articles on horticulture, outdoor recreation, travel as well as business.