Last Modified: February 23, 2024

Weed and Grass Control


A paa template

By Ben Parrot - Landscape Gardener & Amateur Geologist


In this edition of the 'People Also Ask About' series, we will explore frequently asked questions around the topic: "What is the best landscape fabric?" These questions are commonly searched on Google and highlight the interest in the best practices for dealing with weeds, from laying landscaping fabric to using acetic acid for weed control. Our article aims to provide clear, expert advice to assist you in finding a specific answer to your questions related to landscaping with decorative aggregates. Please look for your specific question in the quick links menu.

Using a weeding fork for sharp leaved weeds

Key Takeaways

  • Landscape Fabric: Spun landscape fabric is optimal for most applications without traffic.
  • Membrane: Weed membranes can be very beneficial to use under gravel for preventing weed growth.
  • Alternatives: Cardboard or HDPE plastic sheeting can serve as alternatives to landscape fabric.
  • Maintenance: The employment of multiple different strategies can significantly reduce weeds.
Installing landscaping material for weed control. Jpg

Weed Control Fabrics

Weed control fabrics can play a very successful role as a low-maintenance solution to deal with unwanted weeds, offering a sustainable and simple-to-install option solution for your garden.

What is the best landscape fabric to use under gravel?

The best landscape fabric to use under gravel really does depend on the application. For optimal results under gravel pathways, a thick, heavy duty weed membrane, made from a woven weed fabric is the most durable option. Its woven structure is stronger by design, allowing for greater flexibility and push-pull under stress from traffic.

For lighter applications unlikely to experience any significant traffic, spun landscape fabric is the best value choice. Spun landscape fabric is a type of non-woven geotextile fabric that is dense enough to block sunlight and prevent weed growth while also being permeable to water and air. Non-woven fabrics are also resistant to outdoor degradation, making them suitable for most landscaping and agriculture applications.

What membrane goes under gravel?

The ideal membrane for laying under gravel is a high-quality geotextile weed membrane engineered to suppress weed growth. It is an industry-standard for most gravel installations, such as under pathways and patios, where it acts as a barrier against weeds while keeping your gravel separated from the soil and improving drainage. We cover it further in What to Put Under Gravel.

Black plastic ground protector with mallet and pegs. Jpg

What is the best fabric to use under gravel?

When selecting the best lightweight landscaping fabric for under gravel, spun-bonded or needle-punched fabric stands out. These materials are durable and effective in weed suppression whilst being lower priced than heavy-duty membranes. Read more here if you are Laying Garden Pebbles.

What can I put down under gravel to prevent weeds?

To effectively prevent weeds under gravel, begin by thoroughly weeding the area. Before laying the gravel, consider using a high-quality geotextile garden fabric as a barrier to control weed growth. Additionally, using salt as a weed control method can offer another layer of protection against unwanted vegetation in areas where you don't plan to grow anything for quite some time.

Geotextile landscaping fabric in a roll. Jpg

Do I need landscape fabric under gravel?

Utilising landscape fabric beneath gravel and other non-degradable materials is highly recommended. This fabric acts as a barrier, preventing weeds from growing while ensuring the gravel remains clean and doesn't sink into the soil. The fabric also helps to improve structure and drainage.

What can I use instead of landscape fabric?

For those seeking alternatives to landscape fabric, materials such as cardboard present a viable and eco-friendly option. Cardboard can be used as an effective weed barrier for a season while adding to soil health as it decomposes. 

Black plastic sheeting can be used to kill weeds in areas where you don't wish to grow any plants or shrubs. The non-permeable nature of black plastic makes it unsuitable for use as a mulch where you intend to grow your gardens. Check out the use of Membrane Plastic Under Gravel.

Using brown packing paper on a garden bed to stop weeds growing. Jpg

What do I put under gravel to stop weeds?

To effectively suppress weed growth under gravel, laying a weed membrane is a practical and cost-effective solution. Weed membranes are designed to create an impenetrable barrier against weeds and their seeds, helping to keep your gravel surface looking clean while minimising maintenance.

What is the best fabric for under gravel?

The optimal choice for fabric under gravel is non-woven, spun-bonded fabrics. These fabrics excel in rock or gravel landscapes, serving as an effective weed barrier without costing the earth. They are also generally made from a high percentage of recyclable materials.

Can you lay gravel without membrane?

Yes, you can lay gravel without a membrane. However, there is a debate among landscapers regarding the necessity of using a membrane under gravel. Some argue that bypassing a membrane can lead to issues down the line, while others believe it to be unnecessary. Ultimately, there is no doubt that laying any kind of barrier between the soil and the gravel will minimise a lot of problems, including weed growth, and stopping the chippings mixing into the soil and drainage. Still, with a bit of extra upkeep, most gravel installations without a membrane will fare pretty well over a long period of time.

Weeds growing up through gravel garden. Jpg

Need to work out how much gravel your project needs? Try our free gravel calculator.

How do you keep weeds from growing through chippings?

The easiest way to keep weeds from growing through chippings is to lay a weed membrane beneath on top of the soil layer. This acts as a barrier, blocking sunlight and preventing weed germination. Regular maintenance, such as applying a natural herbicide, pouring boiling water on weeds or manually removing them, can further minimise future growth.

Plum and green slate chippings garden

What can I put under my gravel to keep weeds away?

Installing a quality landscaping fabric under your gravel is the best way to keep weeds at bay and reduce weed seed germination. While even the finest landscape fabric cannot guarantee the complete elimination of weeds, it drastically lowers the chances of weed sprouting, ensuring the gravelled area remains as low-maintenance and attractive as possible.

Do chippings stop weeds?

Utilising bark mulch or slate chippings in your garden as a mulch can effectively suppress weed growth. Especially when complimented by a weed barrier of some sort, these materials act as a natural barrier, reducing the amount of sunlight that reaches the soil and hindering the germination of weed seeds. While rarely 100% effective, mulching can make natural weed control far more manageable while looking very attractive at the same time.

Polar ice chippings with red flowers

How do You Permanently Stop Weeds From Growing

To permanently eradicate weeds, a multifaceted approach is generally most effective. While Outdoor Aggregates doesn't advocate for the use of chemical herbicides, we recognise that it is a free choice and can be the most practical option in certain circumstances. Putting that aside, here are some of the proven strategies that can be used in combination or in isolation:

Red granite and plum chip garden

Smothering Weeds

This method involves covering the weeds with a layer of mulch, cardboard, black plastic or other organic material to prevent their growth. A practical preventative solution is laying a weed fabric.

Organic Herbicides

Vinegar or citric acid are natural herbicides that can be effective in killing weeds, although they can also harm other plants and should be used carefully. 20% Vinegar Weed Killer is an organic, non-selective herbicide suitable for spot-treating young weeds.

Boiling Water

Pouring boiling water over weeds is a natural method of killing weeds that is best suited for small areas and may not be practical for larger areas.

Killing weeds with a kettle of boiling water. Jpg

Weed Burner

A weed burner is a tool, much like a flamethrower, that uses heat to kill weeds. It is effective for large areas and can be used on both annual and perennial weeds.

Manual Weeding

This is a physical method of removing weeds and can be effective for small areas and spot weeding. However, it can be time-consuming and labour-intensive.

1manual hand weeding a cotswold stone garden. Jpg

Chemical Herbicides

The application of chemical herbicides is an effective way to get rid of weeds. The type of herbicide you choose should be tailored to the specific types of weeds you have problems with. There are glyphosate-based types and alternatives. However, chemical herbicides should be used sparingly and with caution, as they harm the environment and your prized plants.

The glyphosate-based herbicides include Roundup weed killer and aquatic herbicides for use near the water. In the UK, Gallup is a glyphosate-based herbicide targeting a broad spectrum of weeds. One non-glyphosate-based herbicide available in the UK is made with Pelargonic acid.

Pre-Emergent Herbicides

Pendimethalin: Pendulum® 2G herbicide by BASF contains pendimethalin, preventing weed seed germination and growth by creating a barrier in the soil that stops cell division in seedling roots.

Combining several of these methods can lead to the best results in maintaining a weed-free environment. However, not all of these methods may be suitable for all situations, and caution should be used with chemical herbicides.


In conclusion, our exploration of the most frequently asked questions about landscape fabric and weed control has armed you with the knowledge needed to tackle your landscaping challenges. From selecting the right landscape fabric to understanding the benefits of alternative weed prevention methods, this guide offers information to help you in your research with the minimum amount of time and fuss. Happy gardening!

1weed control membrane with gardening tools and gloves

We have every type of gravel available to choose from in the UK. Check them out!

About the author 

Ben Parrot is a landscape gardener and amateur geologist. He is the founder of Outdoor Aggregates, with the mission to create the first encyclopaedia for decorative aggregates. From natural stone through to decorative bark, these aggregates are critical to garden and landscape design, universally.

The problem: There isn't any place where all the different types of decorative landscaping materials and construction aggregates can be found, nor are the specifications of each type readily available. So, enriched by his extensive experience, and inspired by the timeless elegance and raw beauty of stone and rock, etched by nature's artistry over millennia, Outdoor Aggregates was born.