Why I don’t like landscape cloth

Hey garden, your slip is showing!

A pet peeve: the use of landscape cloth as a weed barrier. Sure, it’s water-permeable, but it always seems to escape at the edges or, because it’s slippery, the mulch used to cover it slides off in the middle. It looks like the earth is coated in black plastic. Anyway, look at that weed taking root on top.

Plus, how can you amend the soil if it’s covered up? We all know we must, must, must feed the soil.

Landscape cloth is useful in landscape construction, but underground – to do things like prevent soil from infiltrating gravel used for drainage. Please, if you’re tempted to put it on top, vigorously resist.


    1. It has its applications. One reader on our Facebook page uses it on her vegetable garden. Okay. That's an annual application, and you can renew the soil every year. Another reader loves it, but she's obviously used it under pea gravel paving. I can see problems with this (shifting and bleeding at the edges), but it isn't a perennial garden. But too many people are mislead into seeing it as a "no maintenance" technique. I just isn't. I'm with you.

  1. I can't describe the joy and relaxation I get from pulling weeds through the fabric, oy! Rolls of this stuff is laid over garden beds everywhere in the name of "no maintenance" by landscaping companies who should know better.

  2. This is on on-going battle between my sister-in-law and me. She LOVES the stuff. I HATE the stuff. I can't convince her that it's not worth the money and labour. Horrible product.

    1. Oh good, Allan, another thumbs up from a pro. Thank you. One of the worst things about it is that it does break down – though never completely – over time, becomes tangled up with fine tree roots, and lies there on the surface, tattered and difficult to remove. Where it works best is out of sight.

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