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How to Use Landscaping Fabric to Prevent Weeds (DuPont Example)

Posted By Ethan On June 24, 2011 @ 7:00 am In Gardening,Outdoor,Project Guides | 8 Comments

Two days ago, I was inspired by an article on Young House Love [1] where Sherry writes about tackling some weeds around her mailbox. It was a simple story about removing some weeds, putting down landscaping fabric, planting flowers and spreading mulch. After reading it, I thought to myself, “I have weeds and landscaping fabric. I should do this. Right now.”

A quick trip to Home Depot and I had everything I needed:

  • Mulch ✔
  • Flowers ✔
  • Landscaping fabric ✔
  • Fabric achors ✔

Step 1: Weed and Turn Over the Dirt

Weeding is one of my least favorite projects. I hate weeding more than painting, which is why it happens about once every two years. These weeds don’t look so bad because the neighbor kid was kind enough to mow them last week.

I was amazed at the diversity of weeds growing alongside my house. There was Crabgrass, White Clover, Bermuda Buttercup, Broadleaf Plantain and others I couldn’t identify. I used the cultivator to loosen the soil a few inches deep, and began the process of sifting through the dirt to remove all plant-life.

This approach was oddly satisfying because it didn’t involve any herbicide, and I’m confident that all (or most) of the weeds have no chance of coming back. You can see in the pictures, a lot of weeds died that day. The picture below shows what we in the biz call a tap root. The rest of the world also calls it a tap root, and I’m not actually in the business of pulling weeds.

This project didn’t go without some casualties. There was a lone perennial that still clung to life even with the brutal weeds closing in around it. Unfortunately, it would have been the odd man, out and so it was pulled with everything else.

Step 2: Install Landscaping Fabric and Anchor In Place

The landscaping fabric was DuPont Premium [2], and boasts 15 years of protection when properly installed! This “spun-bonded polypropylene” creates a barrier that allows water, air and nutrients to enter the ground while blocking weeds. I went about unrolling a section and cutting it to size leaving extra to tuck in the front and back. I placed the anchor pins every few feet to secure the fabric in place.

Step 3: Plant Flowers, Carefully Cutting the Fabric Barrier

I purchased four, white New Guinea Impatiens. A cool side note- Home Depot includes a QR code [3] that provides details about the flowers, light requirements, watering instructions and more. By scanning that with my phone, I learned that New Guinea Impatiens require 4-6 hours of sunlight and daily watering. Apparently, they also attract butterflies.

I spaced out the plants and cut X’s in the landscaping fabric, digging a hole for the flowers.

Step 4: Mulch the Garden for a Great Finished Look

The final step was spreading 2-3 inches of mulch throughout the flower bed. Mulch has the added benefit of trapping moisture and helping to control weeds. Plus, it makes flower beds look nice!

Step 5: Water Immediately

The cashier at Home Depot let me know that these flowers need a lot of water so my wife and I decided that could be a fun “chore” for Izzie. She’s actually very excited about watering the plants, and I hope that means they’ll stay alive longer!

Have you been inspired recently? What gardening projects have you tackled this year?


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URLs in this post:

[1] article on Young House Love: http://www.younghouselove.com/2011/06/yeah-were-those-neighbors/

[2] DuPont Premium: http://www2.dupont.com/Garden_Products/en_US/projects/premium_landscape_fabric_index.html

[3] QR code: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QR_code

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