Weed fabric prevents light from reaching weeds, effectively killing these garden intruders, while allowing moisture to reach the roots of trees, shrubs, flowers and other desired plants. A thin layer of weed fabric can be as effective as several inches of mulch, and the weed fabric can last up to five years, according to Kansas State University Extension. Using a weed barrier conserves moisture also.
Measure the area where you want to lay the weed fabric. The fabric comes in various size rolls. Most fabric designed from home use is in 3- to 4-foot wide rolls.
Anchor the fabric at one end of the garden or bed with garden staples or rocks. Unroll the fabric to the edge of the first plant.
Make an X-shaped cut in the fabric with scissors or a utility knife. Carefully fit the fabric over the plant. For large shrubs or trees make a second cut perpendicular to the plant and running to the edge of the fabric. This cut will allow you to fit the fabric around the base of the plant. For large shrubs or plants, cut out a circle of fabric the same diameter as the tree trunk or base of the shrub.
Smooth the fabric around the plants and continue rolling and cutting to accommodate all existing plants.
Make X-shaped cuts at the locations where you want to plant new plants. Fold back the fabric, dig your hole and insert your new plant. Fold the fabric back around the new plant.
Overlap the edges of weed barrier fabric by 5 or 6 inches to reduce the likelihood of weeds growing up between the seams. Fasten the edges of the fabric with garden staples.
Cover weed barrier fabric with decorative rock or bark mulch. This improves the appearance of the landscape fabric and helps protect it from sunlight, which can cause the fabric to deteriorate much faster.