The Best Weed Barriers of 2023

Stop yanking unsightly, disruptive weeds from the garden with the best weed barrier for your property and budget.

Best Overall

The Best Weed Barrier Option: ECOgardener Premium 5oz Pro Garden Weed Barrier

ECOgardener Premium 5oz Pro Garden Weed Barrier

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Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Weed Barrier Options: Sunifier Heavy-Duty Landscape Fabric Weed Barrier

Sunifier Heavy-Duty Landscape Fabric Weed Barrier

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Best Professional-Grade

The Best Weed Barrier Option: Dewitt P5 Weed-Barrier Woven Landscape Fabric

DeWitt P5 Woven Landscape Fabric Weed Barrier

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Weeds are an unattractive nuisance in any garden. To keep these pesky plants at bay, consider installing a weed barrier. Also known as landscape fabric, a weed barrier is garden fabric usually made of woven or nonwoven polypropylene. Woven barriers are the most common; their mesh texture is thick enough to prevent weeds from infiltrating your garden bed while allowing water, fertilizer, and oxygen to seep through.

The best weed barrier options can save hours weeding in vegetable beds and ornamental gardens, and they can prevent new weed seeds getting to the soil and taking root. They’re effective, reliable, and durable, providing long-lasting protection so gardeners can spend less time pulling up weeds and more time enjoying their verdant outdoor space.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Ecogardener Premium 5oz Pro Garden Weed Barrier
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Sunifier Heavy-Duty Landscape Fabric Weed Barrier
  3. BEST PROFESSIONAL-GRADE: DeWitt P5 Woven Landscape Fabric Weed Barrier
  4. BEST NATURAL: Burlapper Natural Burlap Garden Fabric Weed Barrier
  5. BEST LONG-LASTING: Sta-Green Ultimate Landscape Fabric Weed Barrier 
  6. BEST HEAVY-DUTY: DeWitt 12YR450 12-Year Fabric Weed Barrier 
  7. BEST FOR LARGE AREAS: Agtek Landscape Ground Cover Fabric Weed Barrier
  8. BEST FOR SUNNY AREAS: DeWitt SBLT4300 Sunbelt Ground Cover Weed Barrier
The Best Weed Barrier Options
Photo: amazon.com

How We Chose the Best Weed Barrier

There are several important features to consider when choosing a weed barrier, but most gardeners would narrow it down to two key features: effectiveness and durability. The weed barriers on this list are made from materials (like polypropylene) that do an excellent job of weed control. Durability is also important to home gardeners; no one wants to spend time installing a weed barrier just to have it tear or degrade after only one season.

Based on thorough product research, brand reputation, materials, and online reviews, we can attest that the weed barriers in this lineup are hardy enough to last several seasons—and some even come with anywhere from 5 to 30 years of guaranteed weed protection. We also included a variety of sizing, barrier types, and UV-protected options to better enable gardeners to find the ideal choice.

Our Top Picks

Weed barriers are a top pick for gardeners who want to reduce weeding maintenance while also reducing or nixing the need for herbicides. The best weed barriers reliably inhibit weed growth and help retain moisture and soil health. Plus, they are made to withstand the outdoors, so they won’t need to be replaced for several seasons.

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High strength and high permeability make this weed mat from Ecogardener an excellent pick. It’s tough enough to handle outdoor conditions while also letting vital nutrients reach precious plants.

A dual-layer polypropylene design features a woven layer and a needle-punched perforated layer. The two layers give superior durability, effectively block light to prevent weed growth, and help conserve water and soil moisture.

This versatile barrier aims to bring the best of both worlds: It’s heavy enough to stifle weed growth, but it’s a relatively lightweight option compared to thicker products, so it’s easy to roll out and cut for a hassle-free setup. Plus, the weed barrier is striped for simple plant alignment. This roll measures 4 feet wide by 50 feet long, but various other sizes are available.

Product Specs 

  • Dimensions: 4 feet wide by 50 feet long
  • Material: Polypropylene
  • Type: Woven and perforated

Pros

  • Dual layers offer high strength for excellent durability and protection from weed growth
  • Lightweight and easy to cut, making installation straightforward even in complex landscaping
  • Needle punched to allow moisture to penetrate, plus stripes to help with planting alignment

Cons

  • Complaints are rare, though a few buyers found thin grasses could grow through

Get the Ecogardener weed barrier at Amazon or Walmart.

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Sunifier weed barrier landscape fabric can prove economical in a couple of ways. First, the price is very competitive. Second, the range of sizes is greater than most, so gardeners can buy ground cover that is appropriate to their needs rather than wasting money on rolls that are too large.

At 3.2 ounces, this is a medium-weight polypropylene fabric that’s woven to allow moisture penetration. The affordable weed barrier also has UV protection for added durability. This product cuts easily (though it may prove prone to fraying) and has stripes for easy planting alignment. It can be used with vegetable beds, flower beds, and rock gardens, as well as under walkways and other hardscaping.

Product Specs 

  • Dimensions: 1.3 feet wide by 50 feet long
  • Material: Polypropylene
  • Type: Woven

Pros

  • Available in a many sizes, allowing gardeners to reduce waste and save money
  • Medium-duty weave has good permeability, plus UV protection for added durability
  • Can be used for everything from flower beds to hardscaping underlayment

Cons

  • Some users found it frayed more than expected when cut

Get the Sunifier weed barrier at Amazon or Walmart.

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Designed for professional and commercial use, this weed mat from DeWitt is a heavy-duty and effective option for serious gardeners. Used by landscape architects, government agencies, and professional contractors, this weed barrier is a sturdy and long-lasting choice.

The rolls are available in different sizes and are made from woven polypropylene and needle-punched fabric. This durable construction lets water, air, and nutrients through yet is an effective weed block. This thick landscape fabric won’t rot or mildew in damp areas, and it’s highly UV-resistant to prevent it from degrading in sunny conditions. To help when users are planting garden beds, it is striped every 12 inches to assist with alignment.

Product Specs 

  • Dimensions: 5 feet wide by 250 feet long; other sizes available
  • Material: Polypropylene
  • Type: Woven

Pros

  • Landscape-contractor approved for professional use, yet easy for amateurs to lay
  • Heavy-duty 5-ounce woven fabric with UV resistance to prevent sun degradation
  • Marked with high-visibility stripes every 12 inches to help with planting alignment

Cons

  • Large rolls may be too much for some gardens (smallest size is 3 feet by 250 feet)

Get the DeWitt landscape fabric weed barrier at Amazon (5-foot-by-250-foot size), Lowe’s (4-foot-by-250-foot size), or The Home Depot (includes both a 6-foot-by-250-foot size and a 4-foot-by-250-foot size).

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Eco-conscious gardeners who wish to avoid any environmental or health concern about plastic materials may find this natural weed covering an ideal option. This burlap garden fabric is made of 100 percent woven jute, a naturally biodegradable and eco-friendly alternative to polypropylene and other plastic fabrics.

Burlap is also versatile, and this 40-inch-by-30-foot sheet can also be used for wrapping trees and protecting bushes, shrubs, and other plants from harsh weather. Plus, it’s an excellent option to protect grass seeds and control soil erosion. The mesh-like weave of this burlap barrier strikes a good balance between plant protection and water permeability and aeration for a healthier garden.

Product Specs 

  • Dimensions: 40 inches wide by 30 feet long
  • Material: Jute burlap
  • Type: Woven

Pros

  • A naturally biodegradable, eco-friendly option made from 100 percent woven jute
  • Delivered and stored in a protective bag that’s made from recyclable plastic
  • Multipurpose fabric for a range of gardening tasks including protecting plants over winter

Cons

  • More expensive per square foot than most plastic weed barriers, and it may degrade more quickly

Get the Burlapper weed barrier at Amazon or Walmart (12-inch-by-30-foot size).

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Looking to lay down a weed barrier and forget about it? This Sta-Green product is a long-lasting option for gardeners and landscapers, as it’s one of the best landscape fabric options available and boasts an impressive 30-year weed-prevention guarantee. This durability makes it an excellent choice for more permanent applications, such as under pathways, outdoor fixtures, or around trees and shrubs.

To achieve this long lifespan, this polypropylene weed barrier features a dual-layer design and enhanced UV protection. Although it’s tough, it still lets water, air, and vital nutrients through to nourish plants. This roll measures 3 feet wide by 50 feet long, which is ideal for lining a garden bed or pathway.

Product Specs 

  • Dimensions: 3 feet wide by 50 feet long
  • Material: Polypropylene
  • Type: Not specified

Pros

  • Lay it and forget it thanks to the extremely long 30-year lifespan
  • Dual-layer design provides maximum weed prevention in both landscaping and hardscaping applications
  • Enhanced UV protection for added durability, and also suitable for playset areas

Cons

  • Some feel it isn’t porous enough to allow sufficient water for young plants or vegetables

Get the Sta-Green weed barrier at Lowe’s or Amazon.

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This heavy-duty weed mat from DeWitt aims to control weeds before they start growing. Made of nonwoven fabric, it is an excellent heavy-duty choice for use in gardens, under pathways and decks, or under long-term landscapes.

The fabric is created using a spun-bond method, fusing a three-ply layered weed barrier. Although it’s a nonwoven polypropylene material, it is treated with a hydrophilic treatment to encourage permeability and nutrient flow through the fabric and allow intended plants to stay healthy. This nonwoven design also prevents the fabric from unraveling, making it easier to cut than woven options. Measuring 4 feet wide by 50 feet long, this heavy-duty fabric is also UV stabilized to help it last over a decade—up to 12 years, according to DeWitt.

Product Specs 

  • Dimensions: 4 feet wide by 50 feet long
  • Material: Hydrophilic-treated polypropylene fabric
  • Type: Nonwoven

Pros

  • Heavy-duty nonwoven fabric designed for landscaping, hardscaping, and erosion control
  • UV stabilizers provide good protection and give an impressive 12-year lifespan
  • Resistant to tearing and won’t unravel when the fabric is cut

Cons

  • Although it will absorb water, heavy rain may pool or run off

Get the DeWitt fabric weed barrier at Amazon.

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Laying down a weed barrier over large areas is tedious work. This large landscaping fabric from Agtek has the dimensions to get the job done faster and easier. Measuring a broad 8.2 feet wide by 25 feet long, its extended width cuts down on the time spent overlapping and layering rolls of landscape fabric.

The heavy-duty weed mat is made from woven polypropylene, which makes it excellent for preventing weeds while allowing water and vital nutrients through. The woven design helps to maintain soil moisture and plant health. With a higher carbon black content, this fabric has excellent light-blocking capabilities to throttle weed growth. Plus, the weed barrier is UV stabilized to provide long-lasting weed protection, even in sunny gardens.

Product Specs 

  • Dimensions: 8.2 feet wide by 25 feet long
  • Material: Polypropylene
  • Type: Woven

Pros

  • Extra-wide for covering large areas quickly, and UV stabilized for long-term protection
  • Superior light blocking, and suitable as underlayment for drives, paths, and other hardscaping
  • Easy to cut around for existing plants or to cut through for new planting

Cons It’s recommended that landscaping pins be used to prevent lifting Get the Agtek weed barrier at Amazon.

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Sunshine is the bane of most outdoor fabrics, causing it to fade and degrade before its time. For planting in sunny areas, consider using this sturdy weed barrier from DeWitt. As part of DeWitt’s Sunbelt line, this barrier is UV stabilized and boasts a 5-year guarantee, even when used in direct sunlight. It’s the ideal pick for sunny gardens, nurseries, greenhouses, and any outdoor display.

Made of woven polypropylene, this barrier resists weed growth while allowing air and water to penetrate for hassle-free irrigation. A roll measures 4 feet wide by 300 feet long, providing plenty of fabric for long garden beds and large yards. This barrier also features yellow guide striping to help gardeners align plants.

Product Specs 

  • Dimensions: 4 feet wide by 300 feet long
  • Material: Polypropylene
  • Type: Woven

Pros

  • UV stabilized to last 5 years, even when used in areas under direct sunlight
  • Resists tearing, punctures, and weed penetration, but allows water to penetrate
  • Can be used for greenhouses, plant displays, and other commercial purposes

Cons

  • May be too much for some home gardeners (smallest roll is 3 feet wide by 300 feet long)

Get the DeWitt SBLT4300 weed barrier at Amazon (single), Lowe’s (6-pack), or The Home Depot (6-pack).

Jump to Our Top Picks

What to Consider When Choosing a Weed Barrier

Weed barriers are one of the most popular methods for preventing weeds without the use of chemicals. They’re a cost-effective way to keep weeds at bay, helping to improve the look of the garden and, in vegetable gardens, even leading to a better yield by reducing competition in the soil. They can also make it easier to clear fallen leaves. A good pick will be effective and durable and made to reduce weeds for several years. When shopping for the best weed barrier, consider the product’s material, durability, size, and eco-friendliness.

Material

Weed barriers come in woven and nonwoven materials. Most weed barriers are made from polypropylene or polyester.

  • Nonwoven weed barriers are a less-permeable option that are excellent for long-term weed control. Since they aren’t naturally breathable or penetrable, they are less popular for garden and flower beds. Instead, they are best for areas you don’t want any plants to grow, like pathways or in rock or gravel landscaping. Polypropylene and polyester are the most common materials for nonwoven barriers.
  • As their name suggests, woven barriers are made from woven fabric or other materials to create a mesh-like weave. Woven weed barriers block sunlight, preventing weed growth. But unlike nonwoven options, they have tiny spaces that allow air and water to penetrate the soil for plant growth, making them ideal for garden beds. Perforated weed barriers perform similarly to woven barriers, but instead of a weave, they have small pinprick holes that allow water and air through. Polypropylene and burlap are the most common materials used for woven barriers.

Durability and Lifespan

A quality weed barrier should last a minimum of 5 years and up to 20 years or more. The best weed barrier options are treated to last through wear and tear as well as through rainy and sunny conditions. This ensures that they don’t tear easily underfoot and won’t break down after a season of rainy weather or exposure to direct sunlight.

Weed barriers come in various materials and thickness levels, both of which contribute to their durability and lifespan. The thicker and more durable the material, the longer the barrier should last. For example, woven materials such as woven polypropylene, burlap, and linen tend to break down faster than thick, nonwoven polypropylene, which can take decades to break down.

Be sure to consider the appropriate thickness for the job. For example, a thick barrier is a durable pick under a gravel pathway, but the same barrier may be too thick for a vegetable or flower garden. For the latter situation, a thinner, more permeable weed barrier may be a better pick, even if it is less durable.

Size of Roll

Most weed barriers come in convenient rolls that are easy to transport and use. A weed barrier roll should display the fabric size, which you can use to calculate how much ground a roll can cover. Make sure to account for roughly an 8-inch overlap for areas that require several pieces of weed barrier fabric.

Weed barrier rolls are typically 3 to 6 feet wide and can range from 50 to upwards of 200 feet long. For large coverage areas, consider a wider roll to cover areas faster.

When comparing similar-sized barriers, a thicker and heavier roll tends to mean thicker and longer-lasting fabric. As is the case with most home products, professional-grade products tend to be costlier, but they can have added benefits such as being made of more durable materials or offering better UV resistance.

Eco-Friendliness

The most common weed barriers available at stores or online are made from materials such as polypropylene and polyester, which are not particularly eco-friendly. Barriers made from natural fibers such as burlap or linen can be a more eco-friendly option, since they break down faster than plastics. Regardless of the material, choosing a durable option, using the barrier for as long as possible, and disposing of it correctly can reduce your ecological footprint.

For the most eco-friendly option, consider natural barriers such as mulch, straw, peat moss, or other organic materials. Using natural barriers requires more work, but since these materials are biodegradable, they are the most environmentally conscious option.

UV-Resistant

UV light is the enemy of any outdoor fabric and will eventually cause all exposed weed barriers to degrade. Several qualities can help a weed barrier resist UV damage.

While some high-quality weed barriers are not advertised as UV-resistant, they are still made from durable materials that can last 5 years or more in a garden. To improve UV durability, consider covering the weed barrier with mulch, gravel, rocks, or other organic coverings. This decreases the barrier’s exposure to UV rays and can help it last longer.

When it comes to UV resistance, there are two options. Some materials are innately resistant to UV and are usually labeled as UV-resistant. Others are UV stabilized, which means they are treated with a UV barrier to better withstand UV degradation.

How to Install a Weed Barrier

Installing a weed barrier is a relatively straightforward process. First, measure the area where you intend to lay the weed barrier to calculate the number of rolls required—and as with most home projects, it doesn’t hurt to buy a little extra. Make sure to choose a weed barrier that is suitable for your intended use; for example, choose a thicker and impermeable barrier for under pathways, as compared to a thinner, permeable barrier for a garden bed. Once you’ve purchased the weed barrier, preparation is an important step. To prepare the area and install the weed barrier, follow these steps:

  • Clear the area of debris, weeds, grass, and other vegetation for the most effective coverage (aside from any plants you intend to keep, of course!).
  • If applicable, add any chosen soil amendments (like compost manure or peat moss) to nurture the soil under the barrier—it is less effective to add them after the weed barrier is placed.
  • Level the soil with a rake; remove sharp objects, rocks, and roots; and lay down the weed barrier according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Use pegs or garden staples every few feet to pin the barrier in place for a sturdy hold, reliable protection, and a more seamless look. Sandbags or rocks are another option, as are other decorative landscaping elements.
  • Optionally, spread a layer of mulch, rocks, or gravel over the barrier. This decorative layer can improve your garden’s appearance, cut down on UV damage on the barrier, retain soil moisture, and further block weed growth.

FAQs

Installing a weed barrier is an easy, effective, and affordable way to keep pesky weeds at bay. Once you’ve chosen and installed your weed barrier, it should provide year after year of weed reduction or elimination. Read on for some frequently asked questions and answers on installing and using your new weed barrier.

Q. Does weed barrier fabric let water through?

It depends on the type; nonwoven weed barrier fabrics tend to be less permeable, while woven barrier fabrics are made to let water through.

Q. What is the best weed barrier to use under rocks?

For a rock garden, consider using a nonwoven plastic weed barrier.

Q. Should I put a weed barrier under my raised beds?

You can put a weed barrier under a raised garden bed, but keep in mind that it will not prevent weeds from growing in the soil above the barrier.

Q. Is landscape fabric safe for vegetable gardens?

Yes, landscape fabric is safe to use in vegetable gardens.

Q. What is the difference between landscape fabric and a weed barrier?

The terms “landscape fabric” and “weed barrier” are often used interchangeably and often refer to the same type of product: a fabric-like material used to hinder weed growth.

Q. Can I put landscape fabric over weeds?

Yes, you can put landscape fabric over weeds and still have a good result. However, it’s best to clear the area first. A weed barrier might not stop all weed growth and can be punctured by sharp rocks or roots, so it’s best to clear and level the area before placing landscape fabric.

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Jasmine Harding

Contributing Writer

Jasmine Harding is a freelance writer specializing in home products. She started writing for BobVila.com in 2020 and covers a range of product-related topics, from the best household appliances and tools to the latest gadgets and tech for the home.

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