Landscape Fabric Alternatives

What Can I Use Instead of Landscape Fabric?

Having weeds and other landscape features in your home garden can be very frustrating. It disrupts the overall appeal and can also have a strong effect on the first impression of potential renters of buyers. 

One of the best ways to keep it in check is by using landscape fabric. This helps check weeds without the use of chemicals. Using this method still ensures water and air can get to the root of the important vegetation. 

But this material is not cheap to install, and weed still finds a way to grow naturally above the cloth. However, there are many alternatives you can try out as opposed to the landscape fabrics, which we will be looking at in this article. First, we will take a deeper look at what landscape fabrics are. 

Landscaping Fabric

These are absorbent materials that are constructed to control the population of your weed. As discussed above, it is placed above the soil of your garden and held in the place using mulch or soil. 

You can use it after planting your garden or before planting it. Landscape fabrics can be ideal options if your plants experience soil erosion due to heavy winds and rains. It helps keep your plants’ roots safe from exposure and prevents them from other forms of damage. It is also a good way to keep weed in check, but as we stated, some of them may still find their way through. 

On the downside, it adversely affects your soil nutrient levels. These nutrient levels rise when mulch and other materials decompose. However, when the fabric is present, it is not possible as it tends to minimize it or completely stop it from happening. 

Also, it may not be a good choice if you constantly move plants around in your garden. The landscaping fabric does not support this and can be tricky to move each time. Lastly, it may cost a lot to install the fabric, and this is something many people may not have in their budget. 

Now, let us look at some of the other landscape fabric alternatives you can try out:

Alternative to Landscape Fabrics 


Mulch is a very old way of preventing weed growth naturally. There are various forms of mulch, and anyone you choose to go with can certainly do the trick. 

You can go with a mulch that comes from bark or wood at affordable prices. This form of mulch breaks down with time and aids in adding nutrients to your garden. 

However, you will need to replace it as it breaks down, which might be frequent. Some resilient weeds may find their way through even with the mulch. You can also go with a rubber mulch as it does break down quickly and can last for a long time without losing its efficiency or looks. 

Chemical Weed Prevention

You can also control weeds via the use of various chemicals. However, this could negatively influence the safety and quality of the crops you produce. So, what does this mean for you? Do you stop using them entirely? Not really, but the choice is yours to decide if you would prefer this option or a natural strategy. 

Landscaping Plastics

The use of landscaping fabric is a great way to keep weeds in check. These plastics come in two forms, which are clear and black. The thickness may vary depending on which of them you decide to go with. Let us look at both options below: 

Clear Landscaping Plastic

This is a clear landscaping plastic sheeting that will ensure weed does not grow in your garden. However, it still allows the sun to get through to your soul. In most instances, this can help warm the soil and allow you to start planting sooner. 

The heat that comes with it can also help rid of pathogens that come from the soil. This process is known as solarization and can help eradicate insects, organisms, and pathogens that may cause diseases for your plants. 

Black Landscaping Plastic

These are landscape plastics that come in various forms. However, the most popular ones are those that are no less than 1.5 mm thick and 4 feet wide. Note that if your plan is to bury it underneath soil, gravel, or mulch, these have a longer life-span. 

Also, ensure that you purchase those that are UV resistant as this will ensure it does not break down. Black plastic can help in keeping any warmth your soil has and ensures there is heat build-up during the day. But it will also prevent the UV rays of the sun from getting in, which will stop them from killing insects and other pathogens. 

Regardless of the option you decide to go with, landscape plastics prevent water from reaching the plant and won’t allow those in your soil to evaporate. Eventually, this can trigger issues like root rot, which may end up destroying your garden and not help it. 

Cardboard or Newspaper

Using any of these or a mix of both is now a common method of mulching gardens, and ensuring weed does not grow. 

To do this, place a newspaper or cardboard in your garden during the start of the season and cover it with mulch. The concept behind this is the same as using plastic sheets, landscaping fabrics, or mulch. 

The aim of this is to ensure sunlight does not get to the soil. This can help in averting the growth of weeds. Also, these materials can help hold in a specific amount of warmth. 

With time, they will also ensure water soaks the soil slowly and help it stay moist. Ultimately, they will both rot and help add nutrients in your soil once more. What’s more, these items are easily accessible for almost no cost. 

Wrap up 

As you can see from the above, there are many options available if you don’t want to use landscape fabrics. Remember that they all have their benefits and drawbacks, so make sure you understand them before you choose.