How to Lay Weed Matting in Your Garden

One of the easiest ways to keep weeds out of your garden is to lay weed matting over the soil.

As a landscape gardener, I use weed matting in most of my new garden projects and it’s also fairly easy for home gardeners to install.

In this article I’ll show you step by step how to lay weed matting in your garden and give you some tips to maintain your weed mat so that it lasts for years.

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laying weed mat in a garden bed

Weed matting, also known as weed barrier or landscape fabric, is a type of heavy-duty, permeable material that is placed on top of soil in garden beds and underneath pebbles to suppress the growth of weeds.

The material is usually made from polyethylene, and it’s designed to block sunlight and prevent weed seeds from germinating.

Disadvantages of weed matting

Before you go and buy a roll of weed mat to use in your garden you should be aware of some of the disadvantages.

1. Difficult to remove

Once the weed matting is in place, it can be time consuming to remove it if you decide to change the layout of your garden.

2. Heat retention

In hot climates, the black weed matting retains heat, which makes the soil temperature rise.

3. Harmful to the environment

Weed mat is made from synthetic materials, so it doesn’t decompose easily and it can be harmful to the environment.

4. May not keep all weeds out

If you don’t install the weed mat right to the edge of the garden, weeds may still be able to get through. You can see an example of this in the photo below.

weeds escaping weed mat


First you’ll need to remove all the existing weeds from the garden bed. Use a shovel to dig down deep and remove all of the roots.

Alternatively you could spray the garden bed with weed killer, but I prefer to remove the weeds manually, even if it takes a bit more effort.

Dig some aged compost into the soil and level it out using a garden rake.

Roll out the weed matting and cut it to the desired size and shape.

cutting weed mat

It’s best to cut it slightly larger than the area you want to cover so that you can tuck it into the soil around the edge of the garden bed.

Place the weed mat on the soil and make sure it is smooth and wrinkle-free.

Secure the matting in place with metal pins. You can buy pins or make your own using wire bent into a U-Shape like in the photo below.

weed mat pin

Press the pins into the edges of the weed mat using your hands. If the soil is really hard you may need to use a hammer to bang them in.

Cut small round holes in the matting to allow for planting.

planting in a weed mat

After you’ve finished your planting, cover the weed mat with bark chips, mulch or smooth pebbles to hide the weed mat and shield it from the sun.

Avoid using sharp rocks because they can tear the fabric.

Also, don’t cover the weed mat with soil because you’ll have weeds growing on top of the weed mat.

Weed mat maintenance

If you want your weed mat to last for years, then it’s important to keep an eye on it.

Check the edges of the weed mat to make sure they’re pinned down properly and not coming away from the soil.

Remove any weeds that sprout from the edges of the weed mat using a trowel.

Check for signs of wear and tear, like holes or tears in the matting, and patch them up with some extra material or a piece of tape to stop the weeds growing through.

If you’re using mulch to cover the weed mat, maintain it regularly by raking and replenishing it as needed.

mulch covering weed mat

By following these steps, you can ensure that your weed matting will keep the weeds under control in your garden for many years to come.


So there are my tips for laying weed matting in a garden bed.

Have you tried using a weed barrier in your garden? Let me know in the comments below.

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Kelly Martin

Hi, I'm Kelly Martin, a landscape gardener and designer with over 10 years experience. I have a passion for small space gardening and I love designing and creating beautiful outdoor spaces that maximize the potential of small urban gardens. Read more

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