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How to Replace an Old Weed Barrier

By Joyce Starr ; Updated September 21, 2017

Weed barrier cloth, weed cloth, or landscape fabric, whatever you call it, is invaluable in keeping a gardening space weed free. Unfortunately, the weed barrier cloth will need replacing approximately every three years. The heavier the weed barrier cloth, the longer it will last. It is a bit more expensive than thinner cloths, but you will get several more years use out of it. Replacing old weed barrier cloth is not hard, but it will take time and you will get dirty.

Pull any large weeds or grass out of the flowerbed, so they do not reseed into the mulch. Spray herbicide on the entire bed to kill all the weeds, several days before you begin replacing the old weed barrier.

Place a tarp on each open side of the flowerbed. Lay the tarp close to the edge of the bed, laying it on top of the grass to catch the debris. Using a tarp to catch the mulch will cut down on the mess and allow the mulch to be reused.

Rake the mulch onto the tarp using a hard rake, if the mulch has clumped together and is hard to remove. Use a regular rake to remove any little pieces left on the soil.

Use a shovel, if needed, and shovel any soil that had gathered underneath the layer of mulch. Place it on the tarp. Remove as much soil off the top of the weed barrier cloth as possible.

Find one corner of the weed barrier cloth and lift it from the ground. Begin pulling the cloth up, allowing any remaining soil on top to spill onto the ground. Continue until you have all the cloth removed from the flowerbed. Use a box cutter, if needed, to cut an opening in the cloth to allow for removal around the existing plants.

Pour the soil from the tarp onto the flowerbed. Rake the soil into the existing soil, leveling the bed as you do.

Roll out the new weed barrier cloth onto the flowerbed. Cut the fabric as required to fit around the edges of the bed and around existing plants. Lap cut edges over each other 1 to 2 inches. Use an anchor pin and secure the fabric together and into the ground. Place the pin approximately 1 inch from the edge of the fabric to allow for natural fraying. Continue until the entire bed has a new covering of weed barrier cloth.

Water the weed barrier cloth before you replace the mulch. Give the water approximately 15 minutes to seep through the cloth and into the ground. New weed barrier cloth is treated with a product that will inhibit the water leaching through it quickly. The coating will dissolve in approximately two days.

Place the mulch on the tarp back into the flowerbed. Add a fresh layer of new mulch on top of the old mulch to give the flowerbed a fresh new look and add thickness to inhibit future weed growth.


Things You Will Need

  • Herbicide
  • Tarps
  • Hard rake
  • Regular rake
  • Shovel
  • Box cutter
  • Scissors
  • Weed barrier cloth
  • Anchor pins
  • Mulch


  • Use 6-inch anchor pins in compact soil. Use 8-inch anchor pins in loose soil.

About the Author


For over 25 years, Joyce Starr has owned businesses dealing with landscape & design, lawn maintenance, specialty herbs and a garden center. She holds certificates in landscape design and xeriscaping. Starr shares her passion for nature in her writing, publishing articles on horticulture, outdoor recreation, travel as well as business.