Can You Put Landscape Fabric Over Grass to Suppress Growth?


Keeping grass healthy, vibrantly green and lush is naturally a task anywhere –much more so in Florida, where the temperature often swings wildly and the extreme heat taxes plants to their breaking point. We also battle against the humidity and our lack of naturally nutrient-dense soil, working instead with sandy dirt that requires so much more attention to create a good growing environment for grass. Battling against the odds often leaves people too frustrated to continue the fight, and they opt instead to replace the sod with shrubs, rocks, ground cover plants that take well to the conditions or even hardscaping features including gravel or patios. Killing existing sod quickly is a task in itself, but laying landscaping fabric is often used as an effective way to speed the process without the use of harsh chemicals or resorting to breaking out the shovels.

Landscape Fabric Facts

When contemplating whether to remove grass before laying landscape fabric, consider that the fabric’s primary function is to block sunlight, which is essential for germination. While it’s possible to lay landscape fabric directly over grass, cutting the grass as short as possible beforehand is advisable. The fabric itself may not entirely kill the grass underneath; it’s the lack of sunlight and air that will suppress and eventually kill the existing sod, making this method a feasible part of grass removal strategies.

Material Matters in Landscape Design

Geotextile landscaping fabric, known for its permeable qualities, can be an excellent addition to your landscape design. When used correctly, it can suppress weed growth, aid in soil stability, and, depending on the material used on top, contribute to the death of the sod beneath. If you’re considering using landscaping fabric in your flower bed or wondering about the best way to install a weed barrier, our team can provide the expertise you need.

How to Lay Landscaping Fabric: A Step-by-Step Guide

Installing landscape fabric can be a straightforward task if you follow these steps carefully:

  • Begin by removing any debris, stones, or existing weeds from the area where the landscape fabric will be placed.
  • Mow the grass as low as possible to the ground to minimize growth under the fabric.
  • If desired, you can further prepare the area by lightly watering the soil, which helps settle any loose dirt.
  • Roll out the landscape fabric to the required length.
  • Use a sharp pair of scissors or a utility knife to cut the fabric to size, ensuring you have enough material to cover the entire area plus a little extra for overlap.
  • Place the cut fabric over the prepared and mowed grass.
  • For larger areas, it’s advisable to work in sections to keep the fabric manageable.
  • Anchor the landscape fabric with landscape fabric clips or garden staples, starting at one end and working your way to the other.
  • Place the clips approximately every 2 to 3 feet to ensure the fabric stays in place.
  • If your area requires more than one piece of fabric, overlap the edges by at least 3 to 6 inches to prevent grass and weeds from growing between them.
  • Secure the overlapped areas with additional clips or staples.
  • If you’re installing the fabric in an area where you’ll be planting, use a utility knife to cut an ‘X’ where each plant will go.
  • Fold back the flaps and dig a hole for your plant, then fold the flaps back over the soil after planting, ensuring the fabric sits snugly around the stem.
  • Cover the landscape fabric with your choice of mulch or stone to help hold it down, add to the aesthetic of your landscape, and further prevent weed growth.
  • Apply a 2 to 3-inch layer of your chosen cover material.
  • Water the area lightly to settle the mulch or stone and to help the landscape fabric adhere to the soil beneath.

By following these steps, you’ll create a solid barrier against weeds while still allowing water and air to reach the soil, which is vital for the health of any plants you’ve incorporated into your landscaping design.

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FAQs About Landscape Fabric and Grass

Roots from larger plants and trees can sometimes penetrate landscape fabric, especially as the material breaks down over time.

Yes, all landscape fabric will eventually degrade. The timeline depends on the quality of the fabric and environmental conditions.

To put down a weed barrier effectively, remove debris, level the ground, lay the fabric, and secure it with pegs, ensuring overlaps between fabric strips.

Executive Landscaping, Inc. is dedicated to creating a yard that reflects your vision, whether that includes using landscape fabric as a tool to manage growth or alternative methods. Contact us to discuss your landscaping fabric needs and learn more about our comprehensive services.