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How to install a landscape fabric or cardboard weed mat

When I first starting gardening, I decided it would be a good idea to start my own little garden out the front of my house. So, I got to work and planted a few plants I brought from the store. However, I very quickly ran into trouble once I noticed that weeds have started to grow in my garden and around my plants. I was very disappointed and wanted to find a way to prevent this from happening.

That’s when I found out about weed control mats, also known as landscape fabric. This was the first time I had found a product that prevents weeds from growing and wasn’t a harmful chemical spray.

What are weed mats?

A weed mat is a large piece of black fabric used in your garden to prevent weeds. The weed mat, with mulch on top, blocks the sunlight from hitting the weeds, inhabiting weeds from growing but still lets water and air flow through to your other plant’s roots.

Landscape Fabric Weed Mats can be brought at any gardening and handyman store. Stores like Metre 10, Bunnings Warehouse and The Warehouse offers different length rolls.

However, a great alternative to store brought landscape fabric is cardboard or newspaper.

Therefore, here is a guide to installing a Weed Mat OR a Cardboard / Newspaper DIY Weed Mat:

How to install a Landscape Fabric Weed Mat

Gear you will need:

  • Landscape Fabric/ Weed Mat
  • Scissors
  • Gloves
  • Safety Mask
  • Metal Pegs or Plastic Pegs
  • Mulch or Stones
  • Hammer
  • Marker
  • Rake

Start by clearing any weeds, old plants, and grass from the garden section.

Once the section is clear, lay the fabric down on the section and with the scissors, cut the fabric to the size of the section (length and width.)

Next, hammer your pegs though the mat into the soil on the sides and corners of your mat.

After the mat is secure, take your plants and place them on the mat where you want them to be planted. Sketch around your pot plants using a marker making a circle for each plant.

Then remove the plants off their markers and cut inside the circles with the scissors.

Next, dig the dirt out of each circle and place each plant in their selected hole.

Finally, place the mulch or stones on the mat and level out with a rake. If you use mulch, make sure there is 5-10 cm thickness and use your gloves and mask for protection.

The weed mat should be non-degradable, so it shouldn’t break down. However, if you use a landscape fabric, you will want to use sturdy material over it, such as stones, long-lasting mulch or rocks.

This will prevent your mulch or other covering material turning into soil or compost over your mat, which may lead to weeds growing over the mat.

How to install a Cardboard or newspaper Weed Mat

If you aren’t a big fan of non-degradable items, using newspaper or cardboard instead of the landscaping fabric would be the best option for you.

Cardboard and newspaper are both bio-degradable and a healthier option for your garden as worms are able to feed on the cardboard and newspaper as it breaks down.

Gear you will need:

  • Cardboard or Newspaper (enough to cover the garden area)
  • Scissors
  • Gloves
  • Safety Mask
  • Mulch
  • Marker
  • Rake

When laying your cardboard or newspaper mat, you will want to follow these steps:

 Start by clearing any weeds, old plants, and grass from the garden section.

Water the soil or make sure it’s been dampened by the rain. Once the section is clear and damp, lay the cardboard or newspaper down to the size of the section (length and width.) You can build a few layers up of the cardboard or newspaper to have a stronger weed preventor.

Next, take your plants and place them on the mat where you want them to be planted. Sketch around your pot plants using a marker making a circle for each plant.

Then remove the plants off their markers and cut inside the circles with the scissors. You can cut the circle a little bigger than the pot plant, so the plant can access water and air easily.

Next, dig the dirt out of each circle and plant each plant in their selected holes. Then, wet the cardboard or newspaper with a hose.

Finally, place the mulch on the cardboard or newspaper and level out with a rake. Mulch thickness should be 5-10 cm. For this step use your gloves and mask for protection.

Remember when choosing between the fabric weed mat or the cardboard and newspaper option, that both have pros and cons. So, make sure you research tips and tricks for the type of material you are using and the type of garden you are creating.

For extra tips go to albopepper.com

For all your landscape and gardening needs contact us on 0800 514 514 or on our contact page.

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