9 Best Landscape Fabric Types & How To Use Them
The best landscape fabric prevents weeds, maintains soil moisture, stops erosion and more. Our buyer's guide helps you pick the right one!
Weeds are the arch-enemy of gardeners so we’ll do anything to keep them at bay. Luckily, there’s an easy solution that’s simple, easy to install, and long-term. The best landscape fabric will save you!
This material provides a physical barrier between the soil and the sun. It cuts off weeds from the sunlight and literally holds them back if they manage to sprout. With it, your plants can freely grow without all the competition and you can focus on more important things.
Landscape fabric can be a bit of an investment, so you definitely need to do your research first. That’s where we come in! In this article, we’ll recommend our favorite landscape fabrics for every use. We’ll also go over the many ways to use landscape fabric and how to install it.
|Best AerationECOgardener Professional Grade Landscape FabricBest Aeration||Check Amazon Price|
|Best ValueGardenMate Woven Weed Control FabricBest Value||Check Amazon Price|
|Best DurabilityHappybuy Landscape FabricBest Durability||Check Amazon Price|
|Strongest FabricMutual WF200 Geotextile FabricStrongest Fabric||Check Amazon Price|
|For Small ProjectsAGTEK Garden Weed BarrierFor Small Projects||Check Amazon Price|
|UV ResistantHOOPLE Premium Pro Landscape FabricUV Resistant||Check Amazon Price|
|Best Weed BarrierBecko Garden Weed BarrierBest Weed Barrier||Check Amazon Price|
|LightweightSCOTTS Pro Landscaping FabricLightweight||Check Amazon Price|
|Best Basic FabricFLARMOR Landscape FabricBest Basic Fabric||Check Amazon Price|
Best Landscape Fabric Reviews
1. ECOgardener Professional Grade Landscape Fabric
- Premium weed barrier landscape fabric to make your...
- Super-easy to install and set up landscaping...
- Garden weed barrier mat designed to conserve your...
ECOgardener focuses on creating products to help the environment while also keeping the weeds away. This landscape fabric is eco-friendly in that it won’t release chemicals into the soil and works in place of pesticides. The roll of fabric weighs about 5 pounds, so it’s light enough to carry but heavy enough to protect the garden. Cut edges won’t fray as long as they’re fully covered with mulch.
The fabric is a two-layered combination of woven and non-woven material. It’s also needle punched for optimal aeration and water flow. It’s made from 100% Polypropylene, so it won’t biodegrade. The fabric works great in the cold and heat, is easy to cut, and long-lasting.
Unfortunately, some gardeners have reported weeds sprouting despite the fabric. Also, if it’s not covered immediately after laying down, the fabric is easily damaged by the sun. Aside from its weak points, this is popular, highly-rated landscape fabric.
2. GardenMate Woven Weed Control Fabric
- ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY WEED BARRIER: Our weed...
- DURABLE AND STABILISED: Our 3 oz/yd² weed fabric...
- VERSATILE APPLICATIONS: Our geo-fleece can be used...
Heavy duty is the name of the game with this weed barrier. The fabric is thick, tough, and tear-resistant. In fact, multiple customers have recommended using it in ditches since it holds up well under rocks. The fabric is woven and made with UV protection so it can be in the sun without damage.
Like most landscape fabrics, the edges fray a little when cut. Most gardeners praise its water drainage, but some report that the water permeates slowly. With its reasonable price, we recommend this fabric as a high quality yet affordable solution.
3. Happybuy Landscape Fabric
- Pro-environment & Durable Fabric: The landscape...
- Weed & Soil Erosion Control: Due to its...
- Good Permeability: The garden cloth weed barrier...
This landscape fabric is by far one of the most durable. It’s thick, tear-resistant, and tough. Gardeners have used it for high-traffic walkways and riverbeds with no complaints. The woven fabric is made of polypropylene, which is chemically safe and won’t break down quickly.
Due to its excellent drainage, this fabric will help prevent root rot when used as a grow bag. The company sells it in a variety of large quantities, which is great for big projects. The downsides to this weed barrier are that it may unravel when cut and is a bit expensive. For the quality you’re getting, this fabric is worth it.
4. Mutual WF200 Geotextile Fabric
- Grab Tensile Strength: 205 lbs; Grab Elongation:...
- Woven geotextiles are used to hold soil in place,...
- Woven geotextiles area time and money saving...
This is the product you’ll want for the roughest and toughest jobs. The Mutual WF200 landscaping fabric is so strong that it can handle the weight of heavy machinery without ripping. It can be used for driveways, retaining walls, and a base for heavy rocks. This is a stabilizing fabric that’s designed to act as a barrier between the ground and a top layer such as gravel. It isn’t specifically made to stop weeds but may do so.
If you order this product, expect to receive a large package. Depending on the size you get, it may be around 50 pounds. The fabric itself is woven polyethylene which will fray when cut, but only minimally.
5. AGTEK Garden Weed Barrier
- Chemical-free Ground Cover-Heavy duty PP woven...
- Conserving Soil Moisture-Water will penetrate the...
- Enhance The Growth Of Plants-Since the barriers...
Don’t you hate it when you have a small project to do and you end up with tons of leftover supplies? If so, you’ll want to take a look at this landscape fabric. Agtek sells it in a variety of small sizes at a cheap price just for your space-conscious landscaping.
This woven fabric is very durable and tear-resistant. It holds up extremely well in the sun and is ideal for walkways and playground areas. It also has excellent water drainage and weed prevention. The only downside we’ve found with this fabric is that it frays easily, which can be remedied with a torch.
6. HOOPLE Premium Pro Landscape Fabric
- Professional material: Hoople 3.2oz weed barrier...
- Good for your garden: Hoople weed barrier fabric...
- Easy to install: a roll of extra thick sunlight...
If you want a landscape fabric that can handle any job, this is the one for you. HOOPLE’s weed barrier is 2-3 times thicker than regular fabric and is superior at handling heavy loads including walkways. In fact, the company guarantees at least 5 years of use without damage.
The fabric itself is non-woven and very water permeable. It drains somewhat slowly with large amounts of water but doesn’t collect puddles. It’s UV stabilized and even advertised for use without mulch. With a reasonable price, this is a quality fabric for your landscaping needs.
7. Becko Garden Weed Barrier
- Premium Material - Becko Weed Barrier Landscape...
- Uv Resistant Technology - Processed with special...
- Easy To Use - Clean up the weeds and flatten the...
The selling point with this product is that it contains no toxic chemicals and is hydrophilic. The fabric is non-woven and perforated so it won’t unravel when cut. It’s easy to trim, install, clean, and reuse. It can even serve more creative purposes such as making a grow bag.
This landscape fabric is UV resistant, but will eventually get damaged if left in the sun permanently. It’s light-weight but still provides heavy-duty capabilities. And, best of all, gardeners rave about its superior weed-blocking ability.
8. SCOTTS Pro Landscaping Fabric
- Controls weeds without chemicals
- Walkways, patios and retaining wall jobs
- Long term durability
For some projects, like lining a pot or preventing erosion, you don’t need a heavy fabric. That’s where SCOTTS Landscape Fabric comes in. This medium-duty weed barrier is thin for such projects, but still tough enough to last. It has excellent water drainage and holds up well in the sun.
Unfortunately, because it’s light, this fabric is more likely to let the weeds through than heavy barriers. It’s also not ideal for tough jobs like walkways or sharp rocks. As such, this non-woven fabric is great for your specific tasks but isn’t a fix-all solution.
9. FLARMOR Landscape Fabric
- PREMIUM LANDSCAPE WEED BARRIER FABRIC: Premium...
- ENVIRONMENT-FRIENDLY LANDSCAPE FABRIC: You want...
- EASY TO INSTALL: Make gardening a little easier...
This landscaping fabric gets the job done without any frills. It lets the water and air through, blocks weeds, and controls erosion. It’s also a good price for the amount of fabric you’re getting. The fabric is three layers of non-woven, needle-punched polypropylene. It’s flexible and easy to cut.
We recommend this for easy jobs where you want a lot of fabric for cheap. It won’t hold up to heavy projects or very stubborn weeds. Mulch is a must since it doesn’t have UV protection. This product is advertised as heavy-duty, but gardeners have reported it to feel thinner than other landscape fabrics.
Should I Use Landscape Fabric?
For the barrier itself, many gardeners choose to use cardboard, plastic, or newspaper. While inexpensive, these options can be damaging to the soil because they block airflow, water, and nutrients. If you really want to take care of your plants and keep your landscape nice, weed barriers are a much better option.
Weed barrier fabric is unique in that it will allow water, air, and nutrients to pass through. They’re usually woven like typical textile fabric, but can also be manufactured solid with perforated holes. Heavy-duty weed control fabric also lasts a lot longer than cardboard or newspaper. The best weed barriers can stay intact for 12 years or more.
Unfortunately, landscaping fabric isn’t a cure-all solution. It only works at its best in certain types of landscaping. Here are some great uses for it:
- As a membrane for weeds until the plants are large enough to take care of themselves.
- Keeping animals, like dogs, from digging in the soil.
- Providing a solid foundation under pavers, river rocks, etc.
- Diminishing the need for frequent maintenance in permanent landscapes.
- Making grow bags for small trees or other heavy plants.
This material should not be used with annuals or vegetable gardens since the plants often need to be removed and replaced. This is a long-term solution meant for areas where things stay put, such as trees and shrubs. This is also the wrong choice if you want your plants to reseed since it won’t let the seeds reach the soil.
Weed barrier fabric wouldn’t be an option if it didn’t have its advantages. Here are some reasons why many gardeners love it:
- Easy installation – the initial process is simple and only has to be repeated when the fabric needs replacing.
- Convenient garden-ready sizes – garden stores know what we want. Barrier fabric comes in helpful dimensions and is easy to resize if needed.
- Prevents weed germination and development – we wouldn’t use it if it didn’t!
- Limits use of herbicides – save time and resources while also keeping your plants healthy.
- Keeps the soil moist – weed barrier fabric limits evaporation, keeping the water in the ground.
- Prevents erosion – the material protects the soil from wind and water run-off. This is especially useful if you’re using pavers on a hill and don’t want them washed away.
- Long-term weed control – many fabrics will last 10+ years.
- Helps regulate temperature – the barrier will trap heat in the winter and keep the soil cool in the summer.
Some gardeners argue that using this material requires more maintenance due to its disadvantages. Whether or not you choose to use fabric should ultimately depend on your gardening plans and personal taste. Here are the disadvantages you need to be aware of though:
- Reduces earthworm populations – even though they live underground, worms need to reach the surface to survive.
- Compacts the soil – over time, the limited aeration and lack of worms can pack down the soil.
- Disrupts the nutrient cycle – garden membrane prevents organic matter from integrating into the soil. Over time, the soil’s nutrients will be leached out by plants without being replaced.
- Weeds are stubborn – it’s still possible for weeds to appear, especially if you use an organic mulch they can take root in. Pre-emergent herbicides can slow this problem.
- Difficult to change later – what you plant needs to stay put. If you like to move things around, weed barrier fabric isn’t for you.
- Must be covered with mulch – without it, the fabric can be damaged by the sun. Also, it looks pretty ugly on its own.
- May contain chemicals – some fabrics may release chemicals that should be avoided with edible plants. Do your research beforehand to make sure your fabric is a good choice.
- Can disrupt bulbs – bulbs are often pushed around underground by roots. If they move away from their fabric opening, they won’t be able to sprout.
How To Install Weed Control Fabric
Picking The Right Fabric
In general, thickness and weight are good indicators of quality. The thicker and heavier, the more durable the product is likely to be. Very light, paper-thin fabrics are most likely going to tear and break down easily. Thick and heavy fabrics can withstand years of use and are a must for use under rocks. Lightweight fabrics do have their place though in gardens that only need temporary cover.
Most landscape fabrics are 3-6 feet wide and 10 to 400 feet long. The amount you buy should depend on how much you’ll use. If you do have leftovers, most fabrics come in rolls that are easy to store.
Putting It In Place
The process for laying landscape fabric is simple. Before you begin, here’s what you’ll need:
- Landscape fabric of your choice
- Landscape fabric pins (at least one per square foot of fabric)
- A hammer or mallet
- Sharp scissors
- A sharp utility knife
- A torch or lighter (optional)
The first thing to do is prep the soil. Remove weeds and debris. Add fertilizer and alter the pH if needed. If you aren’t sure if you need to amend, have the soil tested so you know what’s needed. Local agricultural universities usually offer soil testing services. You can also do it yourself with an at-home soil testing kit.
Make the surface level and smooth with a garden rake, leveling out steep hills. For pathways, you may want to lower the soil surface a few inches below the surrounding area so there’s room for the pathway material.
Set the fabric in place with the textured side down. Leave about 2” of extra material around the edges to be tucked under the border or buried in the soil. If you’re overlapping pieces, overlap by at least 6”.
Using a sharp utility knife, cut circles where you want the plants to go. Make them large enough that you can plant easily and there’s room to grow. If needed, anchor around the hole with pins. If the fabric is fraying on the edges, you can use a torch or lighter to seal them.
Plant your plants. While planting, be careful not to disturb the material. Make the holes larger if needed, but try not to move it around much.
Place a landscaping pin every 8-12” around the outside and every 12-18” in the center. If it overlaps, pin it down on the overlap every foot. This anchors your material in place.
Cover the entire fabric with 2-3 inches of your choice of mulch. Mulch allows water through, helps the soil retain moisture, holds down the fabric and protects it from the sun. Also, mulch is much prettier and natural-looking!
Pull weed seedlings that sprout from the mulch. If left to grow, their roots can damage the material.
If you used organic mulch like wood chips, you’ll need to replenish them as the original stuff breaks down. Remove the older, finer mulch and add it to your compost pile. Replace it with fresh, chunkier wood chips. This prevents a soil-like layer from developing.
Last update on 2023-12-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API