How to Install Landscape Fabric Underneath Rocks

Rocks on top of landscape fabric

Have you been thinking about giving your lawn a makeover? Using rocks in your landscape is an excellent way to highlight certain features and beautify your yard. Stones add contrast and texture and stand the test of time. They also hold up well in various weather conditions and can withstand plenty of foot traffic, which makes them an ideal option for homeowners looking to add low-maintenance features. Also, water can drain more gradually into the ground through rocks and stones, so the soil has more time to absorb it, reducing the risk of runoff and ground erosion.

Whether you’d like to create a stone garden or a gravel pathway, consider installing landscape fabric for rocks. This is a sheet-like covering that can be made of linen, polypropylene, polyester, or recycled materials, and there are many benefits to using it for landscaping projects.

If you’re not sure how to install landscape fabric under rocks, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve crafted an easy-to-follow guide to help explain the purpose and process of installing landscaping fabric underneath rocks so your ideal stone landscape is within reach!

What Is the Purpose of Landscape Fabric?

Plant bed with stone landscaping

Landscaping fabric can be perforated, spun, woven, or non-woven. It comes in rolls, so you can easily spread it around where you want it placed.

Woven landscape fabric is usually made from polypropylene or linen material and is often used around trees and shrubs. Perforated and woven fabrics are both ideal for use in vegetable gardens or flower beds, as their small holes allow water, moisture, nutrients, and oxygen to reach the soil. However, the best landscape fabrics for rocks are non-woven or spun.

Here are some of the primary benefits of placing landscape fabric under rocks:

  • Creates a barrier to prevent rocks from sinking into the soil.
  • Keeps air and water flowing, minimizing drainage issues.
  • Helps prevent weeds from growing between stones for about two years.
  • Effectively controls ground erosion from wind and rain.
  • Reduces evaporation, which helps retain soil moisture for nearby plants and trees.
  • Makes it easier to remove and reposition stones as needed.

Along with the many benefits, laying down landscape fabric is a relatively simple task that can save you time and effort in the long run. Proper preparation for the project is essential, though. You’ll need to have the right type and size of fabric, along with the necessary tools, to make sure you do the job correctly.

Selecting Landscape Fabric and Gathering Tools for Installation

Tools for installing landscape fabric

Non-woven fabrics are suitable for adding stability and blocking weeds under stones. If you’re creating a gravel pathway, rock gardens, or using it in areas where you won’t need to water often, non-woven fabric works best. Spun landscape fabric is a good choice for placing underneath pathways, gravel mulches, and even behind retaining walls.

You can purchase landscape fabric for rocks at most home improvement, hardware, and garden supply stores. Before you make a purchase, measure the area you’ll be covering to ensure you won’t run out of fabric. It’s not fun to have to make a second trip to the store in the middle of an installation project. You can always get a refund for any unopened packages.

Along with your landscape fabric, you’ll need to gather stones and the right tools. If you plan to use larger stones, adding a small amount of gravel protects the fabric and keeps the layer thin. Note: soft, rounded stones work best as they won’t puncture or rip the landscape fabric. If you plan to install heavier stones, enlist the help of a friend or family member. The additional set of hands will come in handy (no pun intended).

Other tools and supplies you’ll need to install landscaping fabric under rocks include the following:

  • A bow rake
  • A garden hoe
  • Scissors or utility knife
  • A hammer or rubber mallet
  • Landscape staples
  • Edging materials (e.g., metal, wood, plastic, brick, etc.)

Once you have your fabric, stones, tools, help, and other materials, it’s crucial that you prepare the area to ensure good results.

Preparing the Landscape

Rake removing weeds in soil

The first thing you’ll need to do is remove any existing weeds from your landscape. You can pull them out by hand, hoe, or another method. Be sure to remove them from their roots to keep them from growing back. You can use an herbicide, but be careful not to spray nearby plants or grass.

When the weeds are out of the way, use a rake to remove excess sticks, rocks, bark, and other debris. Then scrape away any mounds or high areas in the soil with the rake. The goal is to create a flat, tight area to lay the fabric over the ground. Also, be sure to fill in any holes or areas where the ground is lower. It’s best to start with a level surface.

If your soil looks like it needs a little extra care, add soil amendments, such as compost and fertilizer.

Installing Landscape Fabric

Supplies for landscapr fabric installation

Start at the area you wish to cover and roll out the first sheet of landscape fabric. Cut the fabric you’ll use with a utility knife. Then roll out and overlap the remaining sheets. Doing this ensures that the site has no gaps or exposed soil. If you plan to add any existing plants to the site, use your utility knife to cut an “X” into the fabric.

Next, fix the fabric into the ground with the landscape staples. Drive the staples (or nails) in the ground with a mallet or hammer every 8 to 12 inches or so along the edges of the fabric.

Creating a Stone Landscape

Stone garden bed edging on top of landscape fabric

Before you lay the stones over the fabric, install the edging you selected to create a border around them. Tuck the fabric underneath the edging, and then lay out the rocks or stones you want to use. Layer the rocks and add a little bit of gravel to protect the landscape fabric. Rake over the stones to ensure that they are distributed evenly. Make sure there are no spots where you can see the fabric.

Start Your Landscape Fabric Project Today!

Now that you know how to lay landscape fabric properly, you’re on your way to enjoying the beauty and benefits of landscaping with rocks. If you have questions about landscape fabric for rocks, contact The Grounds Guys® nearest you. Our experts are happy to help with landscape fabric installation and all of your lawn care and landscape needs.

We offer an extensive range of services to keep your property looking its absolute best all year round. And all our work is backed by the Neighborly Done Right Promise, which guarantees your satisfaction. Contact us today! We’ll be happy to provide you with a free estimate.