You’ve spent so much time on the garden that accents your fantastic, trim, green lawn, but now it’s threatened by ugly sprouts that crop up everywhere you look.
Your yard has a bad case of weeds: irritating, aesthetic-wrecking weeds.
Weed barriers are the answer. They do exactly what you’d expect – keep a shield between your glorious garden or luscious lawn, and the sprouts of hideous weeds that keep trying to pop up and ruin the appeal.
Instead of going around and weeding all the time, you can install one of these and kick back. No weeds are going to get through.
We have the five best weed barrier products on the market, after boiling down their effectiveness, durability, cost, and every aspect that you could ever think about. This is the cream of the crop, and it’s time to protect your yard and garden with them.
Best Weed Barrier – Reviews & Buying guide for 2020
Best Overall: ECO Gardener Premium Pro Weed Barrier
ECO Gardener won the best weed barrier under rock spot on our list, and they did that by a long shot. There’s a lot to love about them, so let’s just hop into it.
For one, you get a 100% money-back guarantee. They want you to be satisfied more than anything else. It’s always good to know you’re walking into a transaction where you’re protected if it doesn’t meet your standards.
It’s called ECO Gardener for a reason: it’s designed to help your garden while blocking weeds, so you kill two birds with one stone. Your soil needs to aerate, and it needs moisture to properly reach it.
ECO Gardener made their mat thick, but with enough perforations to allow moisture through, and are to travel so the soil doesn’t get stale.
Available in three sizes, you can get all the coverage that your yard needs without having to put your stock in another brand. There’s a 3ft x 50ft solution, a 3ft x 100ft mat, and even 4ft x 50ft for garden beds that are a little further out from the foundation/edge of your home.
It became one of the best-selling weed barriers on the market because it allows you to single-handedly manage your garden. The mat is extremely lightweight, while still being thick enough to block out weeds for longer than their competitors.
Weed mats aren’t going to be perfect. Eventually, they’re going to break down and allow weeds in, but that’s not something you can avoid.
You can only prolong the time between installing weed barriers and when that happens, and with ECO Gardener, you have the longest amount of time to enjoy your garden.
Nothing is perfect, though, and you should know that this fabric is tough on weeds, but not on stress. When you use it, be careful to not walk on it. It tears easily; use caution during installation, but once it’s installed and covered, you’ll be good to go.
- Type: Heavy-duty
- Size: 3ft x 50ft
- Mounting: Not included
Runner Up: Goasis Lawn Weed Barrier Control Fabric
As the best weed barrier under mulch, Goasis includes some seriously fantastic features here that you don’t find in other fabrics. As a result, you’re going to see an increased cost, but based on what they do to make these, it’s definitely worth the price tag.
To start, this includes a membrane of nonwoven material, meaning it’s designed this way in-house and cut to size. It does come with a coating on it which may leach into the soil after a year or so of use, but that’s something you’re going to see on most weed barriers.
Other sizes are available, such as: 3ft x 300ft, 4ft x 100ft, 4ft x 300ft, and 5ft x 250ft. Basically, any project size you have, you’re going to have a Goasis weed barrier solution. Commercial or otherwise.
The fabric is durable enough that it blasted the competition out of the water, but still has a way to go to reach ECO Gardener levels of effectiveness. That being said, this also comes with a 100% satisfaction, money-back guarantee.
It’s described as being hassle-free, but I don’t care what you tell me, every weed barrier has some hassle while being installed.
Because this is a little more weighted than most fabrics, it does lay down fairly easily, but gusts of wind still come along and move it. When rolling this out, it always becomes misaligned and needs to be adjusted during the process.
Aerating your soil and allowing moisture through is important, and thankfully, you’ll be doing that with Goasis.
One major benefit here is that this is UV resistant, so if you’re laying it down and placing gravel or rocks on top, any sunlight that peeks between those rocks isn’t going to destroy the fabric all too quickly.
- Type: Heavy-duty, nonwoven
- Size: 3ft x 100ft
- Mounting: Not included
Alternative: HOOPLE Premium Pro Garden Weed Barrier
If you need something a little more durable than the thinner fabrics I’ve mentioned, HOOPLE is the way to go. They guarantee it to last five years strictly based on how well it’s built.
One of the biggest problems with landscaping fabric is that it lasts for one to three years, and needs to be redone with the seasons (sometimes). Part of the reason HOOPLE lasts for longer is because it’s completely UV-treated. It takes longer to break down from UV rays, whether it’s through light penetration from the soil, or light around gravel/top layer products.
Air flows through it easily, and water soaks right on down to the bottom of the soil—it’s not going to be an issue to plant something in here and let it actually grow naturally.
The only major issue here is, as you’ll come to find in our installation guide below, you need to cut X’s in the fabric to be able to effectively place plants to grow through it.
Since this fabric is thick, it’s easy to shred it instead of cut it evenly. Be sure you have a sharp knife/razor to actually pierce the fabric, otherwise you’ll end up with a few weeds in the ruined sections.
This easily comes in as the best weed barrier under gravel, strictly because of how thick it is. On average, when you look at their competitors, this is three times thicker than most landscaping fabric out there.
Thanks to this, it’s excellent for flower beds, mulching, and just about every outdoor project that you have on your list. HOOPLE offers a 32” x 180ft roll, or a 48” x 180ft roll, for widers distances from your home or project focus to the edge of your garden bed (excellent for commercial use).
- Type: Heavy-duty, ultra thick
- Size: 32” x 180ft
- Mounting: Not included
Alternative: AHG Garden Weed Landscaping Fabric
Who wants to do this again, year after year?
Nobody. We’ve been showing you excellent fabrics that can give you 36-60 months worth of peace of mind, which is exactly what AHG does. Lay this down, and you won’t have to worry about weeds for a long time.
As the best weed barrier under stone, you’ll be able to just dump your layer on top without worrying about annihilating the fabric by accident. This is in the AHG premium series, mind you, is their top-line, so you end up paying a little more.
This being said, I want to debunk something: they market this as a 20-year premium fabric. I’ve seen 10-year-old sidewalks with weeds popping up through the concrete, so I’m not going to trust this against mother nature for two decades.
Regardless, it’s powerful and will block weeds for a long time to come, so don’t keep it out of the running.
I would use this for high-end commercial landscaping more than just typical garden use. As we’ve mentioned before, you need to cut X shapes in landscaping fabric to effectively place plants, otherwise the roots won’t have a place to grow.
This fabric is designed to be a full-on barrier, making it better used in gravel driveways and landscaping for office buildings than gardening.
With all that in mind, you can still use it for gardening if you wish, it just makes the job a little tougher. Made out of polypropylene, this isn’t going to break down or leach into the soil for quite some time. When it does, it’s due to UV damage, since polypropylene (like most synthetic polymers) are weak to UV rays.
- Type: Heavy-duty, polypropylene
- Size: 3ft x 300ft
- Mounting: Not included
Alternative: Amagabeli Geotextile Weed Barrier
Amagabeli didn’t make the best weed barrier fabric on our list, but they still made the list, so props there. This comes with a rather long roll of 300 ft, with a width of 3ft, but the price is normally what drives people away.
I want to justify that price based solely on how thick this fabric is, and how much it blocks weeds from popping through.
This easily gives you three to six years of weed protection (depends on climate sometimes), and when you arch the sides, it works like a perfect cover to protect against major mud patches from heavy rainfall.
The main focus here is commercialization: you can put just about any cover on this, from gravel to rocks and more, and not have any issues with the fabric ripping. You would seriously have to be trying to damage this fabric.
One key point of Amagabeli’s Geotextile, and while it’s so expensive, is that it’s made up of a nonwoven layer that helps with UV rays, while still being water permeable. The thicker you make a fabric, the harder it is to make it water permeable.
While it will stay intact against UV rays for longer than most weed barriers, it’s not air permeable, so the soil underneath isn’t going to receive proper aeration. A fix for this would be small punctures along the length of the roll, but that defeats the purpose of blocking weeds.
So what’s the bottom line here?
It’s worth the price, but it’s not the best for gardening. I would use this for landscaping where mulch, gravel, or rocks are going to be placed on top with nothing else. If you want to use it for plants, they have installed green stripes on the underside of the fabric to show you the optimal areas to place your plants.
- Type: Heavy-duty, nonwoven
- Size: 3ft x 300ft
- Mounting: Not included
Best Weed Barrier Buying Guide & FAQ
How to Install a Weed Barrier?
You’ve bought the best landscape fabric, but you know it’s not going to install itself. We’ve got your back. This is a fast guide on how to install it with no frills.
1. Break the Ground
Use a hoe and/or trowel to remove excess grass. Afterwards, remove strands of grass and weeds by hand, leaving as much soil as possible.
2. Time to Till
Use a tiller and churn the soil. You might find roots, weeds, and grass in the mix. Remove with your hands after a full till. Till one more time if necessary.
3. Flatten the Earth
Using tools of your choice, flatten out the soil. We want to lay the fabric down evenly.
4. Roll it Out
Roll out the fabric like a tube of wrapping paper. Even it out so it lines up with the edges of your garden box or barrier.
5. Weigh it Down
Landscaping staples exist, and you only need to use the blunt end of a hammer to drive them through the fabric. Every eight feet in the fabric, place one of these to weigh down and secure the fabric.
6. X Marks the Spot (Optional)
Make X-shaped incisions in the fabric once it is secured. This is where you would place new plants so it can receive nutrition from the ground, while still preventing weeds from coming up around it. This step is optional, but a good idea for gardeners.
7. Add Soil or Mulch
Go along the edges and trim wherever you need. If you’re adding a small fence or barrier around the garden, trim it to meet that standard. Once the garden barrier is involved, pour soil or mulch on top of the weed barrier landscaping fabric. Presto.
Can Rocks, Gravel, or Stone be Placed on Weed Barriers?
Yes, they absolutely can. Some folks will put a layer of gravel on top of weed barriers for aesthetics, or colorful rocks to add contrast to their garden. Some use it to actually install the weed barrier for garden use.
Earlier, I mentioned landscaping staples. This isn’t something that everyone likes to use, and I understand that.
If you don’t want to use them, you can just put the best landscape fabric under rocks and stones to weigh it down in the corners.
Keep in mind, this isn’t going to be as effective. If you’re laying your weed barrier down and using objects to weigh it down instead of secure it to the soil, you might run into a few issues.
You place the weed barrier fabric down in a specific fashion, but because lightweight rocks are weighing it down, wind comes along and ruins the alignment. If you’re placing this flush with a small fence or up against the side of your foundation, this can be frustrating.
Even when placed on the corners of your weed barrier, you could end up curling the fabric without meaning to, and not effectively blocking weeds in your specific garden bed or box.
Securing the fabric down gives you a long-term solution. If you have to run out and grab more mulch (we all underestimate how much it takes), you don’t want to come back to see the left half of your garden bed fabric fluttering in the wind.
Fabric Shifts Later
When secured with landscaping staples, the fabric has more resistance against weeds growing beneath it. With rocks, there’s more give – weeds will have less resistance and be able to fight more. This might result in them coming through the fabric sooner than expected.
Can You Just Use Weed Barriers Alone Without Covering?
Even the best commercial landscape fabric isn’t perfect, and if you don’t weigh it down with something, weeds can still crop up through it.
If you just use the weed barrier without weighing it down, wind can come along and pull the corners up, allowing seeds to germinate underneath (then you have more than just weeds to worry about). It doesn’t provide an effective barrier.
Light can pierce through many of these weed barrier fabrics, which will help weeds grow.
When you weigh it down with gravel, rocks, or even soil/mulch to plant a garden, you’re taking away that sun exposure, and making it harder for weeds to grow. Everything planted above the fabric will absorb that sunlight.
If you don’t cover it, you’re letting weeds pop through earlier than expected.
Also, if you aren’t covering it, I hope you’re using plenty of landscaping staples to keep it secure in the meantime. It’s okay to not cover it for a few weeks while you purchase soil and plants, but I wouldn’t recommend just leaving it uncovered as a long-term plan.
Can You Walk on Weed Barriers?
You can, but it’s not recommended. If you’re careful, you’re just going to crumple up the top layer of the fabric and that’s that. But if you’re not, or you have boots with jagged grips on the bottom, you’re going to tear through this fabric like it’s a napkin.
The best landscape fabric for weed control isn’t marketed to be indestructible. In truth, it’s a thin fabric, one that you can hold up in front of you and see plenty of light through. It needs to allow water to run through it, otherwise you’re just going to end up drowning your plants.
Because they’re fairly fragile, you really don’t want to walk on them at all. If you’re in the middle of installing them in your yard or garden, do so in a fashion that doesn’t require you to walk across them.
Sometimes it’s unavoidable, but if that’s the case, kick off your shoes when you do it so you aren’t stressing out the fabric too much.
Does it Hinder Water Absorption or Leach Chemicals?
It hinders water absorption, but it doesn’t stop it. Water will still flow through it to some extent, but mud won’t leak through it.
That’s actually why a lot of places in the northern hemisphere use landscaping fabric underneath gravel and rocks in parking lots and commercial building landscaping. It pools up mud and slush without letting it go, so it doesn’t ruin the appeal of the place.
However, when it comes to chemicals, I do have some bad news. These fabrics can, and often do leach chemicals. They’re not designed to last forever, which is why manufacturers strengthen the durability of these fabrics with chemical sprays and coatings.
Is it bad for the environment?
Yes. Is it going to stop your plants from growing on top of it?
No. If anything, the chemicals might indirectly make the soil inhospitable for weeds to grow for some amount of time.
Normally, UV light is what degrades these materials, but constant running water from taking care of your garden, or simply from the rainfall, is enough to begin leaching chemicals in as little as 90 days after installation.
Building a Better Weed Barrier
There are more ways to keep weeds out of your garden, such as tilling, sifting soil to remove seeds, and trimming trees to prevent cross-germination.
But the number one thing you can do, the one thing that takes care of all those variables, is to install a weed barrier that does most of the work for you.
If you want to finally kick back and enjoy your lawn instead of stressing about all the little green goblins popping up, then it’s time to get on the good foot and build a better barrier.