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How to Install Weed Barrier Cloth

Updated on June 22, 2012
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My Garden BedYellow FlowersKnockout Rose
My Garden Bed
My Garden Bed | Source
Yellow Flowers
Yellow Flowers | Source
Knockout Rose
Knockout Rose | Source


Nicely landscaped beds make your yard look great. Keeping weeds out of your garden can be a difficult assignment. You can try to pull them as soon as they appear, but a few days later, they grow back again. It is a constant battle to keep your garden beds weed free. To solve this problem, many people install weed barrier cloth to help prevent weeds from growing. Done right, weed barrier cloth can keep your landscape beds weed free for years to come.

Considerations Before Installing Weed Barrier Cloth

Weed barrier cloth works well in new gardens where there are not a lot of weeds to start. In more established beds, it is harder to remove the weeds before laying the barrier cloth because you do not know if you removed the whole weed. Several factors should be considered before installing weed cloth. First, if you are still adding plants, weed barrier cloth can be a pain to deal with because you will have to make new holes in it every time you add a plant. In addition, moving plants creates the same type of problem. Good planning is the key to getting good results.

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Easy to Follow Instructions for Installing Weed Barrier Cloth

Remove Existing Vegetation

If you are starting a new garden bed, mark the area either with a string, a hose, or use spray paint. Remove grass, sod, and any weeds that are in the new bed. It is a good idea to spray Round Up on this area and wait a week to ten days for it to work its way out of the soil. Keep the area watered to see if any weeds or grass comes back. Repeat the Round Up if necessary. Placing weed barrier over weeds will not work. They will grow through the barrier cloth and will become difficult, if not impossible to remove without tearing out the barrier cloth out..

Prep the Soil

It is important to prep the soil with compost or other soil amendments because once the weed barrier cloth is in place; it will prevent you from amending the soil. Till the soil and mix the nutrients in to a depth of 4-6 inches.

Mapping out Your Garden

Figure out where you want to plant your plants. Take your time and be sure that you have everything just right. Once the fabric is put into place, it is harder to move plants around. Some people suggest laying the barrier cloth first, but it is easier to dig holes before the cloth is laid down. Do not plant anything at this point; just make sure that the holes are big enough to fit your plants. The reason that you do not want to plant anything at this stage is that it is a major hassle to cut a hole and fit the cloth over the plant. Plus there is a high probability of damage to branches or stems on your plants doing it that way.

Install the Weed Barrier Cloth

Cover the garden bed with the barrier cloth. Cut off any excess with a sharp pair of scissors or a good knife. It is a good idea to put something on the edges to hold the cloth in place until you finish planting. Home improvement stores sell landscape pins to hold the cloth in place, but a few sticks or rocks are fine until you have finished planting and then I would suggest covering the cloth with either mulch or garden rocks.

Planting Your Garden

Cut an “x” in the cloth and fold the ends inside. Do not cut holes the size of the root ball because it leaves room for weeds to grow. Put the plants in the ground and use additional soil as needed. Pull the end of the cloth back out and place around the plant to cover as much as the hole as needed.

Cover the Barrier Cloth

Cover the barrier cloth with mulch or landscape stone to hold the fabric in place and to improve the look of the bed. I prefer the look of mulch myself, but the landscape stone may work better with the barrier cloth because the stones do not decay. Eventually, the mulch decays and creates a layer of soil over the top of weed barrier cloth. Over about a ten-year period, there is enough decay to where weeds can begin to grow on top of the cloth. Fertilize the plants and water thoroughly.

Finally, enjoy your garden. The cloth should last easily five to ten years. Happy gardening!


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    • alwritetea profile image

      Lisa Sumner 5 years ago from Vancouver

      Great tips! I especially like where you say to cut an X into the cloth instead of punching out a big hole for plants--super smart!

      Voted up and useful!

      Keep going Hubaholic teammate!

    • lindacee profile image

      lindacee 5 years ago from Arizona

      Several years ago, I lived in two newly constructed homes and neither of the builder's landscapers put weed barrier cloth down prior to planting. Duh. What a simple and relatively inexpensive thing to do to avoid doing constant battle against weeds. Thanks for the easy-to-follow instructional Hub!

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco

      I had always wondered how these work! Thanks for the helpful how-to. :D

    • Man from Modesto profile image

      Man from Modesto 5 years ago from Kiev, Ukraine (formerly Modesto, California)

      Excellent hub, practical, too.

    • ercramer36 profile image

      Eric Cramer 5 years ago from Chicagoland

      Thanks! Your bulb story is a great examples of the draw backs to putting the barrier down:)

    • leahlefler profile image

      Leah Lefler 5 years ago from Western New York

      This is great information! I once laid out a weed barrier cloth and completely forgot about the bulbs I had planted the fall before... I ended up ripping out the barrier cloth because my poor daffodils and alliums were being suffocated! Oops!

    • krsharp05 profile image

      Kristi Sharp 5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      This is very useful information about weed cloth. I didn't realize that it was important to dig first, lay cloth second. That's good information to know. -K

    • ercramer36 profile image

      Eric Cramer 5 years ago from Chicagoland

      Thanks! It works well when it is laid right.

    • cat on a soapbox profile image

      Catherine Tally 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      This is a good and helpful guide for a very effective way of weed-free gardening. Thanks!