How to Apply Landscape Fabric in Flowerbeds

What You'll Need
Flat-edged shovel
New landscape fabric
Anchors for the fabric in metal or plastic
Box cutter
Ground cover (mulch or pebbles)

A fine layer of landscape fabric under the blooms in your flowerbed will add vibrant life to the flowers, discourage insect pests and save you hours a month on garden maintenance. Cover your gardening plot with landscape fabric before planting for a fresh appearance and diminished weed growth all season.

Step 1: Establish the Flowerbed Boundaries and Clear the Soil

Measure and calculate the square footage of the flowerbed, and purchase enough landscape fabric to cover it. For best results, use UV-stabilized fabric permeated with a herbicide like Weed-X. Use a hoe and rake to clear weeds with tubers or rhizomes, stones, twigs and other large irregularities. Pull up standing weeds and any undesirable plants. Smooth out the soil by raking thoroughly to break up any large clumps.

Step 2: Lay out the Landscape Fabric

Set the landscaping fabric over the flowerbed, black side up, to determine how many sheets you need. Attach 2 or more sheets together with a 6-inch section of overlapping fabric. If you are working on a windy day, weigh the fabric down with small garden paving stones or bricks.

Step 3: Secure the Landscape Fabric and Add Ground Cover

Once the landscape fabric is in the desired location, secure all of it—including the overlaps—with c-shaped plastic or metal pins, also called "garden staples." Add the ground cover using 1 inch of mulch or small stones. Mulch will workb best as, unlike stones, it does not hold heat against the soil or crush down the landscape fabric.

Step 4: Prepare to Insert Plants

Clear away sufficient ground cover to insert each plant one at a time. Make a long, thin X-shaped cut in the fabric with scissors or a box cutter. Leave the landscape fabric intact; do not detach the cut sections. As you lift each group of flaps, dig out soil and plant the flowers with their root systems.

Step 5: Put in Plants on Your Garden Plan

Water the roots of all plants before planting. Slip plants gently into the excavated holes under the fabric. Close all 4 flaps snugly around the plant stem and re-spread mulch, keeping it well away from the stems.

Step 6: Add More Plants Later as Desired

Later, you can add more plants to unused areas of landscape fabric by repeating Steps 4 and 5 above.

Step 7: Ongoing Maintenance

Clear built-up plant debris from fallen leaves, blossoms and dead annuals to discourage weeds. Water plants as close to the stems as possible so that water can slip under the landscape fabric and into the soil. Replace mulch from a landscape fabric zone as it decomposes, and dispose of it. Do not reuse it in other garden areas.