How to Lay Geotextile Fabric

Updated February 21, 2017

Geotextile fabrics separate two layers of soil or a layer of gravel from underlying soil. This prevents the top layer of gravel or soil from being forced into the underlying soil in wet conditions. For example, the geotextile placed between a roadbed and the gravel road surface prevents the gravel from embedding into the roadbed in wet or muddy conditions. In a farm feedlot or livestock yard, the fabric prevents the top soil and manure from mixing with underlying mud thus maintaining better footing for the animals.

Clear and slope the existing ground in preparation for the geotextile fabric. Remove any rocks or tree roots that could tear the fabric. Slope the surface appropriately to provide drainage. For roads this commonly means crowning or creating a high spot in the centre of the road to facilitate drainage towards the ditches.

Lay the fabric across the intended coverage area. Anchor the end of the roll with stakes or rocks and unroll across the space. Use rocks or stakes to hold the fabric in place in windy conditions. Overlap the edges by about 2 feet in areas where multiple passes of the geotextile material are necessary.

Place the gravel or soil on the fabric. Dump the materials in place with a dump truck, tractor and loader or skid steer loader depending on the size of the project and the available equipment. A minimum of 6 inches of gravel or dirt is required for light-traffic areas with 8 inches recommended for high-traffic areas.

Pack the soil or gravel in place with repeated traffic by farm or construction equipment.


Start applying gravel on one end of the project and work towards the other. Traffic on the geotextile fabric won't tear it but might cause it to shift and thus create gaps at seams.

Things You'll Need

  • Gravel
  • Skid steer loader
  • Rocks or stakes
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About the Author

Keith Allen, a 1979 graduate of Valley City State College, has worked at a variety of jobs including computer operator, medical clinic manager, radio talk show host and potato sorter. For over five years he has worked as a newspaper reporter and historic researcher. His works have appeared in regional newspapers in North Dakota and in "North Dakota Horizons" and "Cowboys and Indians" magazines.