- Clear the Soil and Determine the Flowerbed Boundaries
- Lay the Landscape Fabric Down
- Install the Landscape Fabric and Cover It
- Prepare to Plant Your Flowers
- Adding More Plants and Maintaining the Bed
- Using Landscape Fabric Smartly
Whether you’re completely new to the world of gardening, or you’ve had your hand buried in soil more times than you can count, chances are you’ve seen landscape fabric somewhere at your local gardening or department store, and been curious about it. Landscape fabric is widely regarded as the most effective way to control and suppress weeds on the market.
It works by covering the desired area of land with a mesh fabric that is permeable enough to allow air and water to penetrate it, while preventing sunlight from reaching the soil entirely. This ensures that the plants you want to grow are nourished, while any weeds are stifled and killed.
A layer of landscape fabric beneath your flower garden will give the flowers a vibrant new life, save you hours each month on garden maintenance, and prevent pests and insects from invading. When you cover your garden with landscape fabric before you plant, you’ll ensure that your flowers have a fresh, weed-free appearance.
Clear the Soil and Determine the Flowerbed Boundaries
To start, you’re going to want to measure and work out the dimensions of your flower garden in square feet and make sure that you buy enough fabric to cover it completely. To achieve the best possible results, try to use UV-stabilized fabric in combination with a herbicide, such as Weed-X.
Use a rake and hoe to clear away any tubers and weeds, and any other undesirable plants that you don’t want in your flower garden. You should also remove any stones, rocks, twigs, and other sharp objects that risk tearing through the fabric. Smooth the soil and make sure there are no clumps.
Lay the Landscape Fabric Down
Next, you should place the landscape fabric down over the flowerbed, with the backside up, so that you can figure out how many sheets you need. Attach at least two sheets together using a 6-inch section of overlapping fabric. It helps to weigh the fabric down using some bricks or small garden paving stones if you’re working on a windy day.
Install the Landscape Fabric and Cover It
After you have placed all of your landscape fabric down in the areas where you want it, you will want to install it by securing it and all of its overlaps with metal or plastic pins, preferably in a U-shape. They are also called garden staples, so make sure to look for those at your local gardening store.
After that, you can add some ground cover to make the area covered in fabric look more appealing, as the fabric on its own is not very easy on the eyes. Most people tend to use decorative stones or mulch. Mulch generally works better, as it does not crush the landscape fabric down or retain heat against the soil, unlike stones.
Prepare to Plant Your Flowers
Now it’s time to place your flowers in the ground, starting by removing a section of ground cover big enough to accommodate your flowers. Make a thin, long, X-shaped cut in the fabric using a box cutter or a pair of scissors.
Make sure that you leave the fabric intact, and that you do detach the sections. As you lift up each group of loose fabric, dig out some soil, and plant your flowers with their root systems. Water the flowers’ roots before you plant them in.
Once you’ve done that, gently slip them into the holes you’ve created beneath the fabric. When they are in properly and secured, close the four flaps around the base of the plant, put your ground cover back in the area you removed it, and make sure that it is away from the stems.
Adding More Plants and Maintaining the Bed
You can add more flowers and plants to other areas of the fabric that haven’t been used yet by repeating the previous two steps. Ensure that you’re cleaning up plant debris accumulated on top of the fabric and ground cover, as well as dead annuals and blossoms to prevent the growth of weeds.
When you water your flowers, try to do so as close to the stems and bases as you possibly can, so that the water can sink through the fabric and penetrate the soil deeply, to nourish the plants. Replace the mulch, if you used it as ground cover, from the area when it decomposes, and throw it away. Don’t reuse it for other areas of your garden.
Using Landscape Fabric Smartly
Here are some of the best ways to use landscape fabric.
Choose Professional-Grade Fabric
Cheap landscape fabrics can tear easily, and may not last even one season. A good determiner of the quality of landscape fabric is its density and weight. A roll of 150 square feet that weigh 20 pounds will be thicker and heavier than cheaper rolls.
Use Enough Fabric
If you need to use more than one piece of fabric, be sure to overlap its edges by at least 8 inches and let 2 inches hang over at the edges. You can always tuck it under after you’ve laid out the rest of the fabric.
Secure it Properly
To ensure that your landscape fabric doesn’t go flying away on a windy day, you should pin it every 10 inches along its edges, and every 12 inches at the fabric’s center. Don’t hold back on pins – the more secure the fabric is, the less likely it is to come loose.
Use Mulch As Cover
Sure, decorative rocks can look nice, and they’re a great way to keep the fabric weighed down, but not only does mulch look organic and beautiful, but it also helps to protect the fabric from UV rays, hold the pins down, and helps the ground underneath it stay moist.
If you do use mulch, you should remove it and replace it when it decomposes into soil. If you don’t you’ll be giving potential weeds a breeding ground to sprout and spread rapidly, which can then grow into the fabric and destroy it.