The best part of having a garden is enjoying it and maybe getting the random complement from your neighbors but one thing for sure pulling weeds is not fun for anyone.
Depending on the design of your garden and the flowers you grow the use of landscape fabric could reduce about 80% of the headaches associated with weeds. Now nothing other then concrete is a sure fire way to prevent weeds even concrete if it gets cracks in it will have a weed here and there but landscape fabric can reduce the problem by not allowing weed seeds to get to soil and preventing seeds in your soil from sprouting.
The best time to install landscape fabric is when you are planning your flower garden. After the soil has been treated with fertilizer and amended with manure or peat moss is the time to lay down a layer of fabric.
Landscape Fabric anchors that look like large staples are available but usually not necessary.
While working to apply the landscape fabric simply place a shovel of mulch every few feet to hold it in place. Even that is not necessary if you are doing the work on a relatively calm day with no wind.
Your choice of material type is also important depending on the area you are protecting and the mulch you will apply.
Most landscape fabrics are made of a polly-blend fabric that will not break down easily over time. Others are of natural fiber that will break down after a few years. Make sure you read the information on the product if you need a natural fiber based material.
Landscape fabric can also be purchased in colors other then black. Although you are most likely to find black fabric in the store it is possible to get a white or brown fabric that better matches your stone mulch. This is important if you are installing quartz or a white stone near a high traffic area because you are likely to have some movement in the mulch from day to day and a black fabric may not look so great poking its way through.
Applying the Landscape Fabric
When planting shrubs you will cut an opening in the fabric in the shape of an X and after the plant ball is established in the hole fold back the fabric to within a few inches of the trunk of the plant.
Bulbs should be planted slightly different because you need to make sure the flower will have enough open area to emerge in the spring. If you are planting a large group of bulbs or a row of them then cut an opening that gives at least 5 inches on either side.
Mulch either wood chips or stone will work best for a top cover. Windy areas may cause some problems for retaining wood mulch because the landscaping fabric won’t allow the chips to embed into the dirt. If you do have a problem with heavy winds in your area you will be better off with a shredded mulch that will interlock instead of bark chips which look real pretty but are very light. Apply at least 3 inches of wood mulch in all areas.
Stone mulch won’t blow away and if you are using stone landscaping fabric is a must. Stone should be applied in a layer that is at least twice the height of the stone so if you are using half inch stone apply about an inch and a half for good coverage. The thicker you go the less chance you will be able to see between the rocks. Another good choice is stone that is in a variety of sizes. This will allow the stone to interlock and fill voids.
Stone requires a landscaping fabric because over time and watering the stone will begin to migrate into the soil. By using a landscaping fabric you separate the two layers and don’t endup needing to remulch your garden and your soil won’t be full of stone.
All gardens will require some amount of weeding over time but with a good layer of mulch and landscape fabric to back it up you have a better chance that your weeding will be once or maybe twice a season verses once a month.