How to lay weed control fabric

There is a handy weapon in the battle against weeds. Landscape fabric is made from woven material which smothers weeds while allowing some water to reach plants’ roots.

The use of the fabric is divisive. Some love it for helping to keep weeds under control while others say it leads to hard, compact soil which hinders plant growth and makes gardening tasks like planting difficult.

But if you want to lay it, here are some top tips.

Firstly, choose your fabric. There are lots of different brands and thicknesses on the market but the thicker and heavier your weed fabric, the harder it will be to damage and the more weeds it will hold back. Our experts at Poplar Nurseries will be happy to offer advice on this.

To lay your fabric, you will need a tape measure, garden hoe, utility knife or scissors, hammer and landscape staples as well as your selection of plants and mulch.

Measure the garden bed where you will be fitting the fabric so you know exactly how much you will need to cut. Then set to work with your garden hoe and dig up any weeds which are already growing in the area you intend to cover. Be vigilant and make sure you remove all the weeds…you don’t want to have any growing up once you have laid your fabric. You could also use a herbicide on the area just to be sure but you’ll then have to leave the site for a few days before laying the fabric. You should also add any compost or fertilizer to your soil before you lay your fabric as you won’t be able to once it has been installed.

Next level out your soil using a rake which will also get rid of any remaining weeds, stones or other debris which could damage the fabric. Try to make the soil as smooth and flat as possible.

Now the ground is prepared, it is time to lay your fabric.

Roll out the weed control fabric across the area and cut off any extra fabric with your utility knife or scissors. It can help to leave a couple of extra inches just in case.

If you need to use more than one roll of the fabric, make sure each section generously overlaps as you don’t want the weeds finding a way through. Be careful to read the instructions so you know which way up to lay the fabric.

Using your hammer, tap the landscape staples into the soil to keep the fabric in place. You should aim to put in a staple every six inches along the edge so it stays securely fastened down.

Once your fabric is in place, it is time to plant your flowers. Cut an X shape incision into the fabric using your knife or scissors and make the cuts just big enough to dig a hole for the plant’s roots. Once the plant is firmly in place and the soil stamped back in, secure the fabric neatly around the plant making sure there is no space for weeds to get through.

Now for the finishing touches. Add a layer of mulch, bark, gravel or wood chippings on to the fabric. This will help to hold the fabric down and also help the soil underneath to retain its moisture. You may still have to keep an eye out for weeds which can germinate on top of the fabric but you should see significantly less. You can also use a weed control product which is added to your mulch in spring to stop weeds from growing. Organic mulch will need to be replaced over time while hard wearing covering, such as rocks or rubber, will need to be kept clean.

But the result of your endeavours will be a beautiful garden where plants grow…but not weeds.

If you would like any advice, contact our friendly team who will be happy to help you. Email us at  [email protected] or see our website at