Everything You Need to Know for Installing Landscaping Fabric

January 5, 2023

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Installing landscape fabric is an excellent choice for keeping your lawn and landscaping healthy and lush. This fabric reduces weed growth while maintaining moisture in the soil. Additionally, some fabrics provide a solid foundation for rocks, mulch, and other materials.

However, property owners must realize that different fabric types are available for their yards. Choosing the right one ensures a beautiful lawn, while the wrong fabric can damage the soil. To make the right decision for installing landscaping fabric, check out some added details about these materials. Then, you can discuss your property with a landscaping contractor near you.

What is the Point of Installing Landscape Fabric?

First, it’s good to understand the reason for installing landscaping fabric. Second, you might consider the various landscaping fabric designs. This information can help you decide the proper material choice for your property.

Landscaping fabric acts as a barrier for anything growing under it. This fabric blocks sunlight while keeping in moisture. In turn, landscaping fabric inhibits plant growth. Consequently, it stops weeds and unwanted plants from making their way through the soil!

Moreover, landscaping fabric is a barrier against anything on top of the soil, not just growing under it. This can include snow-clearing salt, power-washing detergent, and other chemicals that often end up in landscaping features. Also, this fabric helps regulate soil temperatures, encouraging healthy root growth.

Additionally, landscaping fabric can provide a firm foundation for river rock, gravel, and mulch. The fabric keeps these materials from sinking into the soil. It can also prevent these materials from absorbing moisture from the soil under them.

Lastly, note that installing landscaping fabric can control soil erosion. The fabric protects against harsh sun and high winds, which otherwise risk evaporation. Also, the fabric helps keep moisture in the soil. In turn, the soil is typically healthier and resists drying out.

Landscaping fabric is a crucial part of the landscape installation process.

What Are the Different Types of Landscaping Fabric?

Check out some details about how landscaping fabrics differ and why you might use each. Then, again, talk to a landscaper if you still have questions about using this material on your property.


Woven landscaping fabric allows air and moisture to permeate the soil. As such, it’s best for drier areas and for keeping small weeds from growing through. However, woven fabric is very durable and tough to cut through. In turn, it’s not suitable for areas where you might want to dig for new plants.


Solid, nonwoven material doesn’t allow much air or moisture to permeate the soil. Consequently, it can choke your plants when misused. Many landscapers use this material for underneath mulch or rock beds. The tough fabric keeps everything in place and prevents it from sinking into the ground!

Also, note that nonwoven fabric makes it easy to pick up and move rocks, mulch, and other materials! If you think you might rework your landscaping, consider the nonwoven fabric.


Spun fabrics are thin, nonwoven landscaping materials. These allow for slight water and air permeation of the soil. Many landscapers use spun fabric around landscaping and garden edges. These help repel insects and grasses from invading your outdoor features.

Additionally, thicker or heavy-duty spun landscaping fabrics are excellent for installation around retaining walls. These keep small plants from growing through cracks along the wall’s surface. Lastly, these are also a perfect choice for mulch or rock beds.


Perforated fabrics allow for the most sunlight, air, and moisture permeation. These are also easy to cut through, while some come with precut holes for plants. Use perforated fabrics in gardens, where you need to keep the soil moist.

How Do You Install Landscaping Fabric?

Before installing landscaping fabric, you must prepare the ground properly. Also, use staples meant for this fabric to keep it secured. Here are some tips for ensuring proper installation:

  • Remove all vegetation from the area where you’ll be installing the fabric. Ensure you pull up the roots of the plants so they don’t regrow! Use a hoe or other tool as needed for complete removal.
  • Fill in all your excavations, then rake the soil to remove rocks and other debris. Removing anything sharp that might tear your landscaping fabric would be best.
  • Next, smooth the soil so that it’s level and even. Use the back of your gardening rake if needed.
  • Roll out the landscaping fabric over the soil and trim it down with a sharp utility knife or scissors. Ensure you leave some extra at the edges, as it’s better to have too much fabric than not enough.
  • If you need to overlap fabric pieces, do so by about six inches. This added length keeps those pieces in place more securely.
  • While working, you might need to secure the fabric with rocks, bricks, or other heavy objects.
  • Use your landscaping fabric staples to secure the material in place. Don’t hesitate to use a mallet or hammer lightly tap the staples through the fabric. Start along the fabric edges and then space the staples no more than ten feet apart.
  • Cover the fabric with mulch or rocks if desired. Tamp these into position to help keep the fabric in place and block moisture that encourages weed growth.

installing landscape fabric

How Do You Secure Landscape Fabric?

To keep landscape fabric secure, use staples meant for this material. Nails, tacks, and regular staples are likely to tear the fabric. Also, they might not be long enough and deep enough to keep them in place. You also don’t want fasteners to rust, corrode, and damage nearby plants.

Additionally, use gravel, river rocks, or mulch on the fabric as these also weigh down the fabric. You can even put down bricks or heavy stones where needed. Cover these with mulch to keep the landscaping area looking its best.

Lastly, address any developing gaps and open areas as you install the fabric. Cut more fabric for those areas if needed. Above all, don’t be stingy with the staples! The more you install, the more secure your fabric. You might also check them periodically to reinsert or add new staples.

Which Side Goes Down on Landscape Fabric?

Check the packaging if you notice different textures on your landscape fabric sides. Which side goes up or down depends on the manufacturer! Some fabrics might also be the same on both sides, so don’t panic if you don’t notice a difference between them.

If you can’t find the instructions, try putting some fabric down one way and more material on the opposite side. Then, note if one allows weed growth more than another. In turn, you can switch that fabric’s direction accordingly.

How Much Should You Overlap Landscape Fabric?

Most manufacturers recommend a three-inch overlap for two pieces of landscaping fabric. However, a more significant overlap helps keep that fabric in place more effectively. Consequently, please don’t skimp on how much material you allow to sit on another layer under it! Instead, use at least six inches of overlap wherever two fabric pieces meet, if not even more.

Add more fabric pieces around areas that gap or pull away from landscaping edges, nearby plants, and the like. The more fabric you use, the less risk of gapping in those spots. You might also note that added fabric pieces and more staples keep all the material in place more readily. Consequently, be generous with staples, mulch, heavy stones, and other materials.

Should Landscape Fabric Go Under Gravel?

Adding landscape fabric under gravel can keep the material in place effectively. In addition, the fabric keeps the gravel, river rock, and other items from sinking into soft dirt underneath it. This step is vital in areas prone to heavy rains or overly moist soil! Rock, gravel, mulch, and other materials sink into muddy or soft soil far easier than compacted dirt.

Additionally, fabric helps keep a gravel or rocky surface level and even. This is important for walkways and driveways, as it reduces tripping or slipping hazards. A level gravel surface also keeps your space looking manicured. Consequently, your investment in landscaping fabric can pay off with a safer and more attractive outdoor space.

What to Use Instead of Landscape Fabric

Property owners might avoid using household sheets, garbage bags, and tarps in place of landscape fabrics. These materials typically don’t block weed growth effectively and might absorb moisture. Plastic garbage bags can also choke soil, and your grass and landscaping feature it! Additionally, plastic traps so much moisture that it often encourages unhealthy mold, fungus, bacteria, and even rot.

However, you might use various other materials to reduce the risk of weeds and keep the soil healthy. For example, wood chip mulch is excellent for maintaining healthy soil. Mulch keeps moisture in the soil and helps block harsh sunlight. The wood also helps the soil to breathe, keeping it healthy.

Shredded leaves, grass clippings, pine needles, and other debris also keep your property’s soil healthy. Also, you can add these as well as compostable trash such as food waste and newspaper clippings to a compost pile. Once this material breaks down, you can scatter it around your landscaping features. Again, this compost feeds soil and keeps it healthy.

Moreover, don’t forget that tilling the soil can help keep weeds from growing. Use a hoe or rake to pull up weeds regularly, so they don’t get larger and more robust. You might also add new plantings or greens to help choke out the plants you don’t want to see grow!

landscape fabric

Do You Put Landscape Fabric Down Before Planting?

The short answer is yes, you should put down landscape fabric before planting. Trying to fit the fabric around plants is often difficult. On the other hand, it’s easier to cut through the fabric when you’re ready to plant. Also, you can add more material to areas you’ve cut once you see where it’s needed.

Cut the sheet into smaller sections if you’ve already added your greens and need to put down landscaping fabric. This makes it easier to slice into it from one edge, creating an opening you can wrap around your plant. Use as many staples as needed to keep those smaller sections in place.

Can I Put Landscape Fabric Over Weeds?

You can put landscape fabric over weeds to help inhibit their growth. First, consider spraying the weeds with a weed killer and letting them sit for a day. Second, pull out as many weeds as you can. This is often easier after a weed-killer application!

Once you’ve removed as many weeds as possible, cut your fabric and install it as instructed above. Overlap two pieces over thicker or larger weeds or those who refuse to die. Use added staples around these to keep the fabric in place.

Lastly, consider adding river rock, gravel, mulch, or other materials over the fabric. This extra weight will keep it in place and stop those weeds from growing. Consider checking on the fabric often, adjusting its position as needed.

How Long Does Landscape Fabric Last?

As with any other material, landscape material lifespans depend on their manufacturer. Higher-quality materials might last three to five years. On the other hand, lower-quality fabrics might last two years at most. After this time, they often degrade and need replacing.

While you might not appreciate changing landscaping fabric every few years, this gives you a chance to check plant health and add fresh mulch. You might also check the soil pH and add fertilizer if needed. Doing so ensures healthy soil and stunning landscaping!

Denver Landscaping and Design is happy to offer this information about installing landscaping fabric. So if you’re ready for a stunning exterior space on your property, call our Denver landscaping contractors. We’ll schedule a FREE consultation and price quote appointment at your earliest convenience. To find out more, reach out to our customer care team today.


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