The Best Landscape Fabrics of 2022

If you’ve got the right planting setup, landscape fabric might be your best bet for holding pesky weeds at bay.

By Heather Blackmore and Timothy Dale | Updated Dec 20, 2021 10:27 AM

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The Best Landscape Fabric Options

Photo: istockphoto.com

Whether we like it or not, weeds are part of every landscape, competing with your trees, shrubs, and flowers for vital nutrients. Landscape fabric could be your golden ticket to a weed-free landscape.

By acting as a physical barrier between the soil and the sun, landscape fabric prevents seeds from seeing the light of day, while still allowing air and water to penetrate to the roots of the plants you do want. Here are some important features to consider when selecting the best landscape fabric, as well as our top weed barrier picks for your landscape.

  1. BEST OVERALL: HOOPLE Garden Weed Barrier Landscape Fabric
  2. BEST BUDGET: GardenMate 6 x 33 Sheet Woven Weed Control Fabric
  3. LONGEST LIFESPAN: Dewitt 12 Year Weed Barrier Landscape Fabric
  4. BEST ECO-FRIENDLY: ECOgardener Premium 5oz Weed Barrier
  5. BEST HEAVY-DUTY: FLARMOR Landscape Fabric Weed Barrier
  6. BEST FOR SMALL AREAS: AGTEK Landscape Fabric Heavy Duty Ground Cover
  7. BEST FOR LARGE AREAS: GDNaid 3ft x 300ft Weed Barrier Landscape Fabric
  8. BEST FOR UNDER GRAVEL: ArmorLay Commercial Grade Driveway Fabric
The Best Landscape Fabric Options

Photo: istockphoto.com

Before You Buy Landscape Fabric

In vegetable and flower gardens, gardeners frequently move or change plants, and access to the soil is vital to the health of the garden. Landscape fabric laid across the entire area would make amending the soil very difficult, if not impossible.

Instead, consider using it in the vegetable garden for weed suppression between rows. Soil that’s been covered with landscape fabric compacts over time as a result of the reduced earthworm population and poor aeration in these areas. Landscape fabric is best used beneath walkways or in areas with permanent trees and shrubs or no future planting plans.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Landscape Fabric

Choosing the best landscape fabric for weed control is not a tough decision, but choices can vary based on the size of the job, foot traffic, whether you will cover the fabric, and the intended use of the area you’re protecting.

Woven, Nonwoven, and Perforated

Often made of polypropylene or linen, woven landscape fabric is the most common weed barrier best suited for flower beds and areas around trees and shrubs. Small holes in the fabric allow water, air, and nutrients to penetrate. For gravel gardens and pathways, consider the sturdier nonwoven option.

While it allows some water movement, nonwoven fabric isn’t as porous as its woven and perforated counterparts, so it’s not the best choice for landscaped beds. Highly permeable perforated landscape fabric is lightweight and ideal for areas with less foot traffic, specifically vegetable gardens and raised beds.

Thickness and Durability

Generally, the thicker the landscape fabric, the more it costs. Choose thicker barriers in gravel areas like pathways where rocks can wear away thinner fabrics over time. Tough weeds also are worth considering, since some—like thistle—can grow through weak barriers.

Avoid heavy fabrics around vegetables, herbs, and annuals because their roots can lie close to the surface and can be crushed beneath the weight. Choose thinner, perforated options for these applications.

UV Resistance

Exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays has damaging effects on many surfaces, including landscape fabric. For this reason, these barriers often require spreading a layer of mulch or gravel over the fabric to decrease exposure to UV light, thereby slowing the breakdown of the material.

Many barriers are labeled UV resistant or UV stabilized. “Resistant” implies that the fabric has innate qualities that make it less susceptible to damaging sunlight. Those labeled “UV stabilized” have been chemically coated to repel ultraviolet light. If chemicals are out of the question, like around edible plantings, choose the UV-resistant option.

Size of Roll for Project

Avoid overbuying by estimating the amount of landscape fabric you’ll need to complete your project. Rolls usually are available in widths of 3 feet or more and in lengths of 50 to 300 feet. Based on the area you’re covering, determine the best length and width for the job. Factor in the 8-inch overlap recommended between layers in wider areas that require multiple pieces of fabric.

Lifespan

In a perfect world, laying landscape fabric would be a one-and-done job. It’s not hard to do, but it is time-consuming and difficult to repeat when aged landscape fabric needs to be replaced around an established landscape. Selecting the right weed barrier for the right application is key to getting the biggest bang for your buck.

Some weed barriers estimate how long you can expect the product to last in your landscape. Longevity depends on a number of factors, including temperature, application, exposure, and moisture specific to the area where it’s installed.

Our Top Picks

The right landscape fabric makes keeping weeds in check a lot easier. Here are a few to consider if you’ve decided a weed barrier is necessary for your landscape.

Best Overall

The Best Landscape Fabric Option: HOOPLE Garden Weed Barrier Landscape Fabric
Photo: amazon.com

If the goal is to find a durable, nonwoven fabric for any landscape situation, the HOOPLE weed barrier fits the bill. Because it is two to three times thicker (at 5 ounces per square yard) than some landscape fabrics, it tends to drain more slowly than those thinner options in heavy rainfall.

Still, the fabric remains highly permeable in average precipitation. The nonwoven fabric is durable enough to withstand the pressure of brick pavers and heavy stone, though it can also be used under gravel or mulch to add attractive layers to the landscape.

Whether the landscaping fabric is covered with mulch or not, UV stabilizers prevent it from rotting when exposed to direct sunlight, so users can rely on this landscape fabric to prevent weed growth for years. This roll measures 32 inches wide by 180 feet long, though it comes in other widths and lengths.

Product Specs

  • Material: Nonwoven fabric
  • Dimensions: 32 inches by 180 feet
  • Thickness: 5 ounces per square yard

Pros

  • Heavy-duty durability
  • Built-in UV stabilizers
  • Multiple sizes available
  • Highly permeable in average precipitation

Cons

  • Not suitable for vegetable gardens
  • Puddles quickly form in heavy rain

Best Budget

The Best Landscape Fabric Option: GardenMate 6 x 33 Sheet Woven Weed Control Fabric
Photo: amazon.com

Instead of spending almost every weekend throughout the summer months just trying to tame the weed growth in the garden, install this GardenMate woven weed control fabric to prevent weeds from growing so the family can enjoy time off. The landscape fabric measures 6 feet by 33 feet.

At its size, this fabric is a great option for smaller garden beds or for use underneath patios or paths. However, if there is a large job that needs to be tackled, this probably isn’t the best product due to the small size.

The GardenMate landscape fabric has a thickness of 3 ounces per square yard, which is an ideal size for raised garden beds, rockeries, and gravel paths. The fabric is also treated with UV stabilizers to help prevent premature breakdown due to overexposure to the sun.

Product Specs

  • Material: Woven fabric
  • Dimensions: 6 feet by 33 feet
  • Thickness: 3 ounces per square yard

Pros

  • Easy to customize the size and shape
  • Suitable for small garden beds
  • Built-in UV stabilizers

Cons

  • Small size may not be enough for large projects

Longest Lifespan

The Best Landscape Fabric Option: Dewitt 12 Year Weed Barrier Landscape Fabric
Photo: walmart.com

The lightweight, woven fabric of Dewitt Weed Barrier is impressively durable with a guaranteed lifespan of up to 12 years before it needs to be removed and replaced. This landscape fabric roll measures 4 feet wide by 50 feet long, which is an excellent size for small garden beds, while the thickness of 1.5 ounces per square yard is suitable for low-traffic areas.

Despite the UV protective coating, this landscape fabric requires a layer of mulch after installation to protect it from direct sun exposure. Unlike other fabrics prone to unraveling, Dewitt Weed Barrier won’t fray when cut and has had hydrophilic treatment to allow for maximum water, air, and nutrient penetration. The fabric minimizes light penetration, which helps suppress weed growth.

Product Specs

  • Material: Woven fabric
  • Dimensions: 4 feet wide by 50 feet long
  • Thickness: 1.5 ounces per square yard

Pros

  • Protective UV-resistant coating
  • Long 12-year lifespan
  • Hydrophilic treatment improves permeability

Cons

  • Small size isn’t suitable for large projects

Best Eco-Friendly

The Best Landscape Fabric Option: ECOgardener Premium 5oz Weed Barrier
Photo: amazon.com

The thick dual-layered, needle-punched fabric of the ECOgardener weed barrier allows for optimum air and water circulation so that the plants in the garden can thrive while weed seeds are prevented from sprouting. Made of perforated woven polypropylene, this fabric is safe for the environment, ensuring that rain and snow runoff won’t release chemicals into the soil.

At just 5 pounds, the 3-foot by 50-foot roll is lightweight and easy to install, though it’s still important to put landscape pins about once every foot to keep the landscape fabric secure. Because it’s untreated for sun exposure, it’s damaged easily by the sun, and anyone installing the weed barrier should cover the fabric with mulch immediately after installation. Leaving the fabric exposed to sun will shorten its lifespan.

Product Specs

  • Material: Perforated fabric
  • Dimensions: 3 feet by 50 feet
  • Thickness: 5 ounces per square yard

Pros

  • Eco-friendly polypropylene construction
  • Dual-layered protection
  • Multiple sizes available

Cons

  • Untreated fabric must be covered to prevent UV damage

Best Heavy-Duty

The Best Landscape Fabric Option: FLARMOR Landscape Fabric Weed Barrier
Photo: amazon.com

When the toughness of nonwoven fabrics is combined with the permeability of perforated landscape fabrics, the result is an incredibly strong and versatile hybrid. Made of nonwoven polypropylene, the thick needle-punched fabric in FLARMOR Weed Blocker is highly permeable and equally effective beneath rocks and landscape beds, with a thickness of 1.8 ounces per square yard.

This fabric is also a great choice for covering sloped areas for weed and erosion control. However, FLARMOR weed blocker will degrade quickly under direct sunlight, so it requires a covering of mulch or rock right after installation. The product comes in a 3-foot by 300-foot roll, which is best suited for big jobs to minimize leftovers. It also is also available in 3-foot by 50-foot lengths, as well as several additional sizes so users can choose the most suitable length based on the size of the project.

The nonwoven fabric should not fray when cut, which adds to its lifespan. However, reapply mulch or gravel if the fabric becomes exposed to sunlight or it can deteriorate quickly.

Product Specs

  • Material: Perforated nonwoven fabric
  • Dimensions: 3 feet by 300 feet
  • Thickness: 1.8 ounces per square yard

Pros

  • Dual-layered construction
  • Highly permeable
  • Heavy-duty durability
  • Multiple sizes available

Cons

  • Untreated fabric must be covered to prevent UV damage

Best for Small Areas

The Best Landscape Fabric Option: AGTEK Landscape Fabric Heavy Duty Ground Cover
Photo: amazon.com

Dinner leftovers might be good for lunch the next day, but too much unused landscape fabric from a small project is frustrating. Unlike most fabric rolls that come in minimum lengths of 50 feet or more, the AGTEK Landscape Fabric gives users smaller options so they don’t have to buy more than needed.

The smallest choice comes in a two-pack of 4-foot by 8-foot pieces, but this product is also sold in a two-pack of 4-foot by 12-foot pieces for slightly larger patios, playgrounds, or gardens. The heavy-duty woven polypropylene fabric drains well and it’s UV stabilized for impressive sun resistance. This product’s thickness of 3.8 ounces per square yard is best for use beneath walkways, in playground areas, and on slopes to prevent erosion.

Product Specs

  • Material: Woven fabric
  • Dimensions: 4 feet by 12 feet
  • Thickness: 3.8 ounces per square yard

Pros

  • Small size is suitable for patios, walkways, and play structures
  • Landscape fabric can be used with gravel or mulch
  • Heavy-duty durability prevents tears

Cons

  • Fraying may occur when the fabric is cut or modified

Best for Large Areas

The Best Landscape Fabric Option: GDNaid 3ft x 300ft Weed Barrier Landscape Fabric
Photo: amazon.com

Gardens are meant to be enjoyed, but when it’s necessary to spend hours pulling weeds every week, a garden can soon seem like more work than it’s worth. Take back the garden and hardscape areas of the yard with this GDNaid Weed Barrier Landscape Fabric. It is made at a thickness of 1.8 ounces per square yard in a nonwoven polypropylene fabric.

The product comes in multiple sizes, though the most suitable for a large space is the 3-foot by 300-foot option that allows users to protect up to 900 square feet of garden, path, or patio.

Many products require the user to cover them with decorative mulch, gravel, or crushed stone to prevent damage from the sun, but it isn’t necessary with this landscape fabric due to the UV-stabilized polypropylene material. The nonwoven fabric is not as permeable as woven or perforated fabric, so it may not be the best choice for lush garden plants that need a lot of water.

Product Specs

  • Material: Nonwoven fabric
  • Dimensions: 3 feet by 300 feet
  • Thickness: 1.8 ounces per square yard

Pros

  • UV-stabilized material
  • Durable, heavy-duty fabric
  • Impressive size for large projects

Cons

  • Nonwoven fabric has reduced permeability

Best for under Gravel

The Best Landscape Fabric Option: ArmorLay Commercial Grade Driveway Fabric
Photo: amazon.com

While most landscape fabrics are put to use in the garden to help prevent weeds from sprouting up among the vegetables or flowers, ArmorLay nonwoven landscape fabric is designed for use under gravel paths, patios, and driveways. It serves the usual purpose of landscape fabric by preventing the growth of weeds, but this product also improves the stability of the ground.

Installing this layer of landscape fabric under a gravel path can minimize the damage caused by falling rain, sleet, and snow, protecting the soil from erosion and preventing potholes from forming. It’s about 8 ounces per square yard thick and measures 12.5 feet wide by 60 feet long, though multiple sizes are available.

Just keep in mind that the nonwoven construction has low water permeability, so this product is not a great option for garden beds.

Product Specs

  • Material: Nonwoven fabric
  • Dimensions: 12.5 feet by 60 feet
  • Thickness: 8 ounces per square yard

Pros

  • Highly durable to resist tearing
  • Suitable for weed prevention and path stabilization
  • Reduces erosion and prevents potholes from forming

Cons

  • Low water permeability

Our Verdict

The long-lasting durability and UV resistance of the HOOPLE landscape fabric combine for an excellent option to protect garden beds from rampant weed growth. The affordable GardenMate landscape fabric is a more appropriate choice for smaller gardens, paths, or patios.

How We Chose the Best Landscape Fabrics

Extensive research that covered more than 30 different landscaping fabric products helped form the basis for the selection of the best landscape fabrics. However, in order to properly assess each product, it was necessary to take into account the size, material, thickness, and overall quality of each landscape fabric.

The size of each landscape fabric product was crucial information to have because the size is the primary factor that influences the price. The larger the landscape fabric, the higher the price. Given that landscape fabrics are separated into three different types, the material was the next aspect to consider. Most products were made with woven fabric, though there were a few standout nonwoven fabric options as well.

The durability of the product often comes down to the thickness, so for more heavy-duty jobs, it is necessary to find a thick landscape fabric that can hold the weight without tearing. Some preference was given to products that were made for specific jobs, like increasing stability on a gravel path or serving as an underlay for artificial grass.

Tips for Using Landscape Fabric

When you are adding landscaping fabric to a garden bed, it’s important to take the time to remove all weeds and mix in any compost or soil nutrients that you want to add to the soil before installing the landscaping fabric. Once you have pinned down landscape fabric, it is best not to pull it back up.

In addition, you should use a rake or hoe to properly smooth the soil so that the landscaping fabric lays completely flat. Otherwise, it can become difficult to fully cover the fabric with mulch or gravel due to peaks and folds in the fabric.

Landscaping fabric is typically secured with pins that pierce the fabric and hold it to the ground, like stakes for a tent. Install these pins once every foot or so to help ensure that the landscape fabric will not be pulled up by scavenging animals or washed out of place in heavy rain.

  • Add compost and soil nutrients before laying down landscaping fabric.
  • Smooth the soil to properly install the fabric.
  • Install one pin for every foot of landscape fabric.

FAQs

Landscape fabrics aren’t always easy to install, but these weed barriers help to protect flower beds and prevent weed growth. Keep reading to find the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about weed barrier landscape fabric.

Q: What are the different grades of landscape fabric?

Landscape fabric is typically separated based on the type of material used to make the product. These types include woven, perforated, and nonwoven landscaping fabric.

Each type has its own benefits depending on the application, so think about whether you are looking to protect a flower bed, vegetable garden, or a walkway when deciding on the best weed control solution for your next landscaping project.

Q: How does landscape fabric let water through?

Landscape fabric is designed to block out UV radiation as well as prevent weed seeds from growing, but this weed barrier fabric allows water and some air to pass through. This is possible due to construction of the fabric.

Even thick and durable fabric is either woven or has perforated holes to allow water to seep into the ground, though it should be noted that some fabrics can greatly reduce the flow of water, leading to standing puddles after big rainstorms.

Q: Is filter fabric the same as landscape fabric?

Filter fabric is a similar product to landscape fabric, but it’s usually thinner and doesn’t have the same UV resistance, leaving it susceptible to premature degradation. To protect your flower beds, invest in thick landscape fabric that will be able to block the weeds and stand up to the sun and rain.

Q: Do you put soil on top of landscape fabric?

In most cases, landscape fabric is laid down and secured over the soil in a garden or around the base of a tree or bush in the yard. After the installation, you can put mulch on top of the landscape fabric to protect the fabric from foot traffic and UV rays. You also can use gravel or crushed rock as the top layer.

Q: What do you put under landscape fabric?

The purpose of landscape fabric is to prevent weed growth. This is achieved by pulling all the weeds in the garden, then installing landscaping fabric directly over the soil. Some users also put sand or gravel underneath the landscaping fabric to help level the ground,, though this isn’t necessary. This is especially true since mulch, gravel, and crushed stone are often spread over the top of the fabric.