The Best Landscape Fabric for Blocking Out Weeds
To select the appropriate weed-blocking landscape fabric for your garden, read our guide explaining the key considerations to bear in mind—and don't miss our top picks!
Whether we like it or not, weeds are part of every landscape, competing with our trees, shrubs, and flowers for vital nutrients. At times it can seem like weeds are the one true constant in the yard—and in many ways that’s true. Thousands of weed seeds lie just beneath the surface of the soil, waiting for the sun to warm them so they can burst forth and grow faster than any other plants on your property.
Landscape fabric could be your golden ticket to nipping your weed woes in the bud. By acting as a physical barrier between the soil and the sun, landscape fabric prevents weed seeds from seeing the light of day, while still allowing air and water to penetrate to the roots of the plants you do want.
Continue now for our guide to understanding and choosing between the wide array of available weed barriers, along with our top picks among the very best landscape fabric options today.
- BEST OVERALL: HOOPLE Premium Pro Garden Weed Barrier
- LONGEST LIFESPAN: DeWitt 12-Year Weed Barrier Fabric
- HEAVY-DUTY PICK: FLARMOR Pro Garden Landscape Fabri
Before You Buy
In vegetable and flower gardens, plants are frequently moved or swapped out. Landscape fabric laid across the entire area would make this very difficult, if not impossible. So, consider using landscape fabric for weed suppression between rows only. Keep in mind, 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.
Key Shopping Considerations for Landscape Fabric
Choosing the best landscape fabric for weed control is not a tough decision, but choices vary based on the size of the job, the amount of foot traffic you expect in the areas, whether or not 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 in 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.
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.
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
1. BEST OVERALL: HOOPLE Premium Pro Garden Weed Barrier
If you’re looking for a durable fabric for any landscape situation, HOOPLE Premium Pro Garden Weed Barrier fits the bill. Because of its thickness, it tends to drain more slowly than thinner fabrics in heavy rainfall, but remains highly permeable in average precipitation. The nonwoven fabric is durable enough to withstand the pressure of brick pavers and heavy stone. Whether you cover it with mulch or not, UV stabilizers prevent it from rotting when exposed to direct sunlight. The company guarantees it for five years of use in your landscape without damage.
2. LONGEST LIFESPAN: Dewitt 12-Year Weed Barrier
The lightweight, nonwoven fabric of DeWitt Weed Barrier is guaranteed for up to 12 years and best for small beds and 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.
3. HEAVY-DUTY PICK: FLARMOR Pro Garden Landscape Fabric
When you combine the toughness of nonwoven fabrics with the permeability of perforated ones, you end up with an incredibly strong and versatile hybrid. Made of nonwoven polypropylene, this needle-punched landscape fabric is highly permeable and equally effective beneath rocks and landscape beds. It’s also a great choice for covering sloped areas for weed and erosion control. Note that FLARMOR Pro Garden Landscape Fabri will degrade quickly under direct sunlight, so it requires a covering of mulch or rock after installation.