Should I Use Landscape Fabric Under Gravel?

When it comes to landscaping, there are many decisions to make. One of the most important is whether to use landscape fabric under gravel. There are pros and cons to both options, so it can be tough to decide what’s best for your home. In this guide, we will explore the benefits of using landscape fabric under gravel and help you make the decision that’s right for you.

It has become increasingly common to install landscape fabric underneath gravel in either a commercial or residential setting. There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding the landscaping fabric under gravel.

Landscape fabric is often used to prevent weeds from growing in gardens, landscaping beds, and planters. It is used both on top of the soil and under mulch, gravel, and stone. It is one of the most versatile products available for gardeners. However, despite its popularity, it can be confusing as to when – or even if – you should use landscape fabric in your garden.

What is landscape fabric?

Landscape fabric is a layer of material that can be used to help with the growth and maintenance of your lawn. It is composed of fibers that can be made from either synthetic or natural materials, and it is designed to prevent weeds from growing through the lawn. The holes in the fabric are typically small, which means that most plants can not grow through them.

Landscape fabric is available at many nurseries and home improvement stores, as well as online.

When should you use landscape fabric?

There are a few general guidelines as to when you might want to use landscape fabric:

  • If you have a problem with weeds growing through mulch or gravel
  • If you want to create a more structured garden bed (i.e., straight edges)
  • If you’re using organic matter as part of your planting scheme (landscape fabric helps retain moisture)
  • If your soil is heavy and prone to erosion

 

Benefits of using landscape fabric under gravel

 

Prevents weeds from growing

When you use landscape fabric under gravel, it helps to eliminate the growth of weeds. But it is only effective for a couple of years. After some time, you will notice that there are several weeds growing through your gravel.

Reduces mud and dust

Another benefit of using weed control fabric under gravel is that it prevents mud from forming when rain falls on the gravel. It also reduces the amount of dust that is created when cars or people walk on the gravel.

Maintain even soil temperature

In addition, using landscape fabric can help to maintain a more even soil temperature. This is especially beneficial if you have plants that need certain temperatures to grow properly.

Helps keep your soil in place

Gravel can move around and fall out of place easily once you’ve laid it down. With landscape fabric underneath the gravel, you won’t have to worry about this happening as often.

Reduces compaction of the soil

When you use weed control fabric, it can reduce the compaction of the soil. This helps to prevent water from puddling and damaging your plants. It also provides more air circulation around the roots of your plants, which is essential for their growth.

Makes it easy to clean up spilled gravel

Landscape fabric helps to make it easier for you to clean up gravel that spills onto the ground. You can easily pick up most of the spilled gravel with your hands or a small shovel and put it back in its place.

Keeps the soil from eroding

Finally, one of the most important benefits of using landscape fabric is that it helps keep the soil from eroding. This is especially important in areas where there is a lot of rain or wind.

Cons of using landscape fabric under gravel

While there are several benefits to using landscape fabric under gravel, there are also some drawbacks that you should be aware of.

  • The fabric will eventually need to be replaced
  • It can be difficult to install the fabric properly
  • Weeds may still grow through the gravel even with the fabric in place.
  • It can be expensive per square yard. So if you’re covering a large area, it may not be cost-effective.

 

So, should you use landscape fabric under your gravel?

The answer depends on your specific situation. If you are experiencing a lot of weed growth, or if you are worried about the soil eroding, then landscape fabric may be a good option for you. However, if you don’t have any problems with weeds or erosion, then it may not be necessary.

The answer also depends on several factors: how you want your lawn to look, the type of landscape fabric you will be using, and the type of gravel you will be using.

In some cases, landscape fabric may be an unnecessary expense for your project if you aren’t concerned about having a lush green lawn or removing weeds from your landscape. Even so, in some situations, such as when you are using particularly fine-grained gravel or if you want a lawn that has little to no weed growth, it may be worthwhile to spend a little extra time and money upfront on this step.

Ultimately, it is up to you to decide whether the benefits of using landscape fabric outweigh the cons.

There are a few things you should keep in mind when deciding whether or not to use landscape fabric under your gravel:

  • You should use heavy-duty, woven landscaping material for gravel beds. The non-woven types will break down and unravel over time, which means you’ll end up with gravel where you don’t want it — for instance, in your lawn.
  • If you have a lot of trees nearby, the roots may grow through the fabric and into the gravel.
  • The fabric can also make it difficult for water to drain properly.

 

Types of landscape fabric

There are three types of landscape fabrics: woven, non-woven, and geo-textile. Each type has its own benefits and drawbacks that you should consider before installing it.

Woven fabric is the most durable of the three types. It’s made from two sheets of polypropylene or polyester that are woven together to create a tight grid. This type of fabric can handle heavy loads, making it ideal for use under gravel or stones. However, it’s also the most expensive option.

Non-woven fabric is made from multiple layers of polypropylene fibers that are heat bonded together. It’s less expensive than woven fabric but not as strong. It’s best suited for lightweight applications like mulch or topsoil.

Geo-textile fabric is made from polypropylene fibers that are spun together to create a porous material. It’s lightweight, water permeable, and won’t trap moisture in the soil underneath it. This makes it ideal for use under gravel pathways or patios where you want to encourage drainage but doesn’t need heavy load-bearing support like you would with driveways and roads. The geo-textile fabric also works well around plants because it allows water and nutrients through while keeping other materials out of the root zone.

Installing landscape fabric under gravel

Before laying landscape fabric down, remove all existing vegetation from your project area by tilling or digging up the soil six inches deep. This will ensure that the fabric has good contact with the soil and won’t be pulled up by the roots of nearby plants.

If your project area is large, you may want to consider using stakes or pins to keep the fabric in place. Simply push them into the ground every few feet and then use twine or cord to tie the fabric around them.

Once your fabric is in place, cover it with a two-inch layer of gravel. This will help distribute weight evenly and prevent any rips or tears in the fabric.

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Is landscape fabric toxic to plants?

Some types of landscape fabric contain chemicals that can leach into soil and water, causing contamination. The best way to avoid this is by using a natural alternative like burlap or coconut coir instead of synthetic fabrics for your project needs. If you must use synthetic materials, look for ones made from polypropylene (PP), which has been shown not to release harmful toxins over time.

Can I install landscape fabric over grass?

Yes! You’ll just need to make sure there are no gaps between the fabric and the ground cover where sunlight can penetrate through and cause weeds to grow from underneath it later on down the road. This requires some extra work though, since most lawns have uneven surfaces, making installation more difficult than if done on bare soil.

Is landscape fabric a weed barrier?

Yes, it can be used as a weed barrier when installed correctly and covered with at least two inches of gravel or other material to help weigh down the edges and prevent weeds from growing underneath them over time.

Conclusion

Using landscape fabric under gravel is not a necessity. While it will protect your porous landscape areas from being filled in by the gravel, some gardeners feel that the possible drawbacks of using it outweigh its benefits. If you are going to use landscape fabric, make sure to do so under the guidance of a professional or experienced gardener.