Adding landscape rocks to your outdoor spaces is an excellent way to elevate them from a standard lawn or garden to a classy outdoor oasis. Of course, that aesthetic won’t last if your landscape becomes overrun with weeds. In addition to being eyesores, these plants can require weekly removal if you don’t have a durable, long-lasting barrier in place between your landscaping rocks and the ground.
In this article, we will list the top 7 weed barriers to put under your landscape rocks that will effectively minimize or eliminate regular weed removal. Many of these options will also help keep your landscaping rocks firmly in place and provide ideal aeration and moisture retention in the soil underneath to support healthy growth for your garden flowers and other plants.
Non-Woven Landscape Fabrics
When people think of “barriers” to place underneath their landscape rocks for weed prevention, the most common option that comes to mind is landscaping fabric.
While this is undoubtedly one of the most popular and effective choices, not all landscape fabrics are created equal, and it’s important to consider the various types and features they possess to determine which is ideal for your landscaping needs.
The first type of landscaping fabric you might want to install as a barrier is a non-woven landscaping fabric or geotextile. These fabrics are commonly made of polyester, polypropylene, or a mixture of both fibers. Thanks to their permeability, these fabrics excel at providing:
This makes them an excellent option if you intend to grow plants throughout your landscaping rocks.
However, non-woven landscape fabrics tend to be less durable than woven landscape fabrics due to the manner they are constructed. This can be a significant drawback when installing them underneath landscaping rocks, as they are heavier than soil, mulch, or other common landscaping materials that are less likely to damage the fabric underneath.
Top Non-Woven Landscape Fabrics
Some of the best non-woven landscape fabrics we recommend using for your outdoor spaces include:
- Sandbaggy Non Woven 8 oz Geotextile Landscape Fabric
- Dewitt 3-Foot by 100-Foot Non Woven 12-Year Landscape Fabric
- FLARMOR Non-Woven Landscape Fabric
Here’s a video discussing the difference between woven and non-woven landscape fabrics:
Woven Landscape Fabrics
If you prioritize a landscaping barrier with high durability and weed protection over traits that would support plant life, then you’ll likely want to opt for a woven landscape fabric instead.
Woven landscape fabrics are made with the same materials as non-woven alternatives, but instead of these materials being bound using methods like needle punching or calendaring, tapes or strips of them are tightly woven together in a crisscross pattern.
The result is a strong geotextile that excels at providing:
These landscape fabrics are more than capable of withstanding the weight posed by layers of landscaping rocks as long as they are well-made. Fraying is a common issue with woven landscape fabrics, but premium products are often designed with this issue in mind and take necessary steps to prevent it.
You’ll also want to be conscious of drainage when using woven landscape fabrics, as their lack of permutation could result in water reservoirs that cause a myriad of plant and landscaping issues.
Top Woven Landscape Fabrics
Despite the aforementioned drawbacks, woven landscape fabrics are often the ideal barrier choice to install underneath landscape rocks, which is why it should come as no surprise that some of the top landscaping fabrics on the market adopt this design.
Some of the best woven landscape fabrics we recommend using for your outdoor spaces include:
- ECOgardener Premium 5oz Pro Garden Weed Barrier Landscape Fabric
- Amagabeli 5.8oz 4ft x 300ft Weed Barrier Landscape Fabric
- AGTEK Landscape Fabric
One barrier option you might not have considered for your rocky landscape is driveway fabric.
This highly durable geotextile is made with high-quality materials, like sturdy polypropylene that ensures it is tear-proof, corrosion-proof, and provides exceptional grab/textile strength ranging up to 600 pounds or more.
On average, most woven and non-woven landscape fabrics have a textile strength of 80-90 pounds because they are often placed underneath beds of soil or mulch. (source: howtohardscape.com)
Because landscaping rocks are significantly heavier than those materials, using a premium driveway fabric might be more appropriate.
These textiles are designed to withstand the weight of various driveway materials, parked vehicles, and small structures, so they will have no problem keeping weeds at bay and staying in optimal condition for several years underneath your landscape rocks.
If this sounds like the ideal choice for you, we recommend opting for ArmorLay’s Commercial Grade Driveway Fabric Found Here on Amazon.
Should I Use Landscape Plastic Underneath Landscaping Rocks?
Laying down several yards of landscaping or driveway fabric can be a costly precaution to keep your outdoor space weed-free, leading people to consider one of the most budget-friendly options available: landscape plastic.
When it comes to weed control, the standard black plastic sheeting is a surprisingly effective choice. It is capable of retaining moisture but lacks perforation, much like woven landscape fabrics, allowing it to smother weeds and keep pests at bay.
That being said, if you’re wondering whether this cheap barrier would fare well underneath your landscaping rocks, the answer is no.
Landscape plastic is a cheap, short-term barrier for pest and weed management. The thin material rarely remains intact for more than a few months under the lightest substrate, let alone layers of heavy rocks.
Even if the weight of the landscaping rocks alone does not damage the plastic underneath, it is only a matter of time before the material breaks down from other influences and needs to be replaced.
To summarize, most professional-grade landscape fabrics will provide optimal weed protection and keep your landscape rocks firmly in place.
Heavier fabrics that are UV-stabilized are considered top tier and can keep your outdoor spaces weed-free for years, sometimes even decades, with proper installation, maintenance, and the use of fasteners, such as fabric pegs.
Try to avoid cheap fabrics and landscape plastics, as you will likely need to replace them within a few months compared to higher quality fabrics that could last several years.