How to Lay Landscape Cloth

Overview

Landscape cloth acts as a barrier over the soil to prevent weeds from growing in a flower bed or garden. The cloth, which is made from plastic or thickly woven fibers, is typically placed between your planting soil and a layer of mulch. Landscaping fabric must be placed carefully to block weeds. If holes develop in the fabric, weeds will grow through the planting surface. The fabric also breaks down over time, requiring you to remove mulch and lay a new layer of landscaping cloth every few years.

Step 1

Lay clear plastic over your bed to kill all grass and vegetation before installing the landscaping cloth.

Step 2

Remove the dead vegetation and roots to keep it from growing back by breaking up the soil with a grape hoe. Remove the roots with a rake and then use the rake to smooth out the surface of the soil. Break the soil up only lightly around tree roots and shrubs. This will protect trees and shrubs from damage.

Step 3

Spread out your landscape cloth over the surface of your planting bed. Overlap sheets of landscape fabric in larger beds. Cut openings for existing trees and shrubs, and slide the cloth into place. Then, cut the fabric off of the fabric roll, leaving a large margin around the borders for trimming.

Step 4

Stake your landscape fabric to the ground by pushing plastic stakes or galvanized U-shaped pins through the plastic and into the ground.

Step 5

Trim the edges of the landscaping fabric once it has been staked into place.

Step 6

Cut X shapes into your landscaping fabric for planting holes. Scoop out the soil under the X shaped holes and place the rootball of your plant into these holes. Cover the roots with dirt.

Step 7

Cover the landscape fabric with mulch to disguise its presence and to hold in water for the plants.

Things You'll Need

  • Clear plastic
  • Rake
  • Grape hoe
  • Landscape cloth
  • Scissors
  • Mulch

References

  • North Carolina State University Extension: Mulches
  • Washington State University Extension Center: The Myth of Landscape Fabric: "Landscape fabric provides permanent weed control for ornamental landscapes"
  • The Landscape Design Site: Landscaping Fabric -- How To Install Landscape Fabrics

Who Can Help

  • Danny Lipford: How to Install Landscape Fabric and Plastic
Keywords: landscape cloth, using mulch, applying landscape cloth

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."