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Best Weed Membrane – 5 Heavy Duty Garden Fabrics To Control Growth

As professional landscapers, it would be fair to say we get sick of the sight of weed membrane! Have you ever tried rolling out hundreds of metres of this landscape fabric in high winds? It’s not much fun let me tell you.

Today, we are going to pile all our experience and thoughts into finding out what is the best weed membrane that YOU should buy for your driveway or garden area.

We use weed membrane fabric every day, and although it can all appear the same, like everything there are huge jumps in performance, quality and, as always, price.

If you’re serious about suppressing weeds then here’s want you will learn:

  • Whether you need a heavy-duty weed membrane (and the associated costs)
  • What weed control fabric will work and what will rot like rotten apples
  • What’s the best weed control fabric for each type of hard landscaping (they’re different)
  • Where to buy online and which local shops sell high-quality weed barrier.

Let’s get started.

What To Look For In Great Quality Weed Membranes

1) Avoid Cheap and Nasty

Initially, by installing any landscape fabric, there is going to be a period of time where you will have fewer unwanted weeds – this is guaranteed, no matter which weed barrier you choose. You will have early success.

The problems arrive with the really cheap and nasty membranes when seeds land on the fabric and start to germinate. In a garden with no landscape fabric installed these early rising weeds are easy to pull and keep on top of. But once they start to grow in and around cheap membranes, once you attempt to pull, the fabric can rip and tear and sections can actually be removed along with the offending weeds and surrounding soil.

Leaving you with a protective fabric that now has holes throughout. Which as you’ll understand is pretty pointless.

2) Weather resistant

The best weed membrane on the market will give you protection against various types of weather. Cheaply made membranes are unlikely to stop rain from pooling and settling on the top, for example. Weather resistant weed control should have water drainage built into the design.

Weather resistance also extends to UV inhibitors. By preventing UV getting through the weed control fabric, you’re stopping weeds from creating chlorophyll. As we all know, sunlight and water are two staples of all plant diets. Choose UV resistant and rainproof.

3) Made with no harsh chemicals, part of the garden’s ecosystem

If you really care about your garden, you should prevent weeds in an environmentally friendly manner. Yes, weed killers made for paving work well – but what about protecting life in your garden, full stop?

We really do have an obligation, when using woven membranes and the like to control weeds, to make sure our products are eco-friendly. Yes, we want to suppress weeds and prevent plant growth to an extent, but using anything made with harsh chemicals in a flower bed is a surefire way to kill off the ecosystem.

Eco-friendly weed membranes are made from material that won’t choke the local plant life you actually want to protect. If you let chemicals degrade, you’re going to stunt good plant growth, and what’s more, you’re putting animals at risk.

Weed membrane fabric is eco-friendly in the first instance as it may stop you from needing to use chemicals altogether. Going chemical-free is absolutely essential for your garden to function properly!

Reviews & Buyers Guides

#1. Best Overall Geotextile Weed Fabric – Spudulica 20m2 GeoTextile Membrane Fleece

This non woven fabric membrane offers fantastic weed prevention, great for soakaways, and at 2.25 x 8.88m, you get plenty of fabric for the money. It’s tough and durable and is generally great if you want to filter water through either in the garden or elsewhere on your paving. It’s really tough stuff and it’s very highly rated.

It’s cut from a larger roll, which means there is plenty more membrane where this came from. It is a top easy gardener pick, ideal for fertile ground and for plants already in situ.

Best Overall
Geotextile Weed Fabric

Pros:

  • Its extremely strong but also malleable, allowing you to press it into the shape you want
  • It doesn’t restrict water flow at all, allowing it to pass straight through
  • It’s very durable, with cars able to drive over it without it faltering

Cons:

  • Sometimes arrives folded in a box rather than as a roll which it clearly states


#2. Top Extra Heavy Duty Landscape Fabric – GardenMate 2m x 15m Non Woven Fabric Membrane

GardenMate is definitely a brand that we trust, and this fabric is great at protecting a large expanse of garden from growing all kinds of nasty weeds and unwanted visitors. It’s UV stabilised, and if you want a smaller cut, there are 5m and 10m lengths available. However, as one of the top fabric choices available on Amazon right now, it probably won’t take you too much to slice it up before you take it to the ground.

This is a surprisingly lightweight yet very heavy duty membrane choice, offering solid protection against weed growth in the harshest of conditions. We also like the fact that it’s a versatile choice for various applications.

Heavy Duty
GardenMate

Pros:

  • Easy to cut and does not fray like other brands
  • Very strong and flexible, making it easy to shape
  • The weed control fabric is heavy duty meaning it can withstand heavy loads and severe weather

Cons:

  • Quite an expensive option depending on the size you go for


#3. Most Permeable Membrane For Wet Gardens – CoverUp! Weed Membrane

CoverUp! might not be a membrane brand that you’ve heard of, but we’re impressed. This really simple garden fleece is absolutely a bargain choice. We warned against the cheap and nasty picks out there earlier on in this guide, but this pick impresses us. It’s easy to cut and fit, and shouldn’t take you too long to set up.

What’s more, as the category suggests, this fabric is a great option if you are looking for something simple that resists rain water. After all, weeds – just like all plants in the soil – really enjoy a good drink.

It’s tearproof, too, and comes with pegs. Perhaps the best weed membrane for this particular purpose and cost.

Most Permeable
CoverUp! weed membrane

Pros:

  • This membrane is very weather resistant and can handle excessive sunlight without being discoloured
  • It is an environmentally friendly alternative to toxic weed killers
  • Ground anchors are provided free of charge to ensure you don’t slip when working on the surface

Cons:

  • When cutting the material, it can sometimes slightly tear


#4. Best Fabric for Under Gravel – Pro-Tec Gold-Line Extra Heavy Duty

To prevent weed growth under gravel, you’ll need a membrane that’s tough and heavy duty. Cars and heavy footfall can cause sharp stones to tear through thinner membranes. This pick is a fantastic starter choice, offering a thick fabric that’s specifically designed for driveways.

This product is available in 15 different sizes and is made from woven polypropylene to 125gsm. To the everyday buyer, that’s impressively tough. It’s ideal for any sharp overlay, and can be used for decking, sheds and driveways alike.

Best Fabric
Pro-Tec Garden

Pros:

  • This membrane is very weather resistant and can handle excessive sunlight without being discoloured
  • It is an environmentally friendly alternative to toxic weed killers
  • Ground anchors are provided free of charge to ensure you don’t slip when working on the surface

Cons:

  • When cutting the material, it can sometimes slightly tear


#5. Best for bedding plants – Green Jem Weed Control Fabric

You won’t need a heavy duty membrane to prevent weed growth in your beds. Therefore, this thin, affordable solution is likely to be a great pick for many gardeners looking for something simple to keep their blooms weed free. It’s fantastic for locking in the moisture, while at the same time blocking direct sunlight.

This is a great little product that seems to have plenty of support online from gardeners, too. It’s very simple to lay out and cut, meaning there’s no reason you can’t pull your plants through (as per our guide).

Best Fabric
Green Jem Weed Control Fabric

Pros:

  • Very straightforward to cut and lay, and you also get quite a bit of material, so you can double over if needed
  • Not very thick, but its low price still makes it appealing
  • It’s lightweight and easy to position around your garden

Cons:

  • There can be issues with orders if they have been heat-sealed prior to delivery


Does membrane stop weeds?

Yes – membranes are great at stopping weed growth. However, it all relies on what you use, and how you use it.

That means clearing the soil and area (raised beds or otherwise), and getting all weeds out of the ground.

You need to put the work in, even with the best membranes on the market. They are going to fail on you if you don’t dig down far enough, or use the best metal pegs.

Make sure you have the right tools, some time to put aside to set up a membrane properly, and you can then invest in the top weed membranes on the market.

gravel with a black sheet on top

What is the best membrane to use under gravel?

Gravel can be a serious pain if you’re looking to get rid of weeds. That’s why we always recommend heavy duty weed control.

Weeds have a habit of pushing their way up through gravel as it can often be pretty loose. It’s just a case of them shooting up and pushing your stones to the side. Annoying, we know.

Heavy duty weed control membranes will make sure that even the most persistent of perennials stay clear of the surface of your paving or your stones. The heavier the weed control fabric, the tougher the job weeds will have of breaking through.

We’d recommend heavy duty weed control for wood chips, too – in fact, it really works well in most cases. For gravel, however, go for the really tough stuff.

What is the best membrane to use under artificial grass?

There might not actually be much need for an extra weed membrane under artificial grass. That’s because artificially grass or AstroTurf generally comes with some form of latex backing. This, as you can imagine, is already going to inhibit any weeds that are going to want to push up through the soil.

That said, we probably would recommend another weed membrane if you really want to extra careful.

The best thing we recommend in this scenario, in fact, is to not fall back on heavy duty weed control, but to install underlay beneath the grass. This should, in most cases, do the job of weed control fabric and hold back the nasty growths.

What is the best weed control membrane for driveways?

Generally, heavy duty weed control membranes are recommended for driveways as there’s immense pressure from cars rolling across.

However, as the dig out on driveways are always likely to be much deeper than, say, other paving or planting areas, it’s actually highly unlikely you’re going to get unwanted visitors pop up through the deep soil.

What’s more likely is that weeds won’t come along through the soil, but seeds may get blown into joints and gaps, causing them to grow all the same in the ground cracks.

That’s a really good reason for sealing your driveway, in fact, and we have plenty of guides on how to help you out with that side of things.

What is the best weed control membrane for block paving?

Block paved patios, however, are nowhere near as deeply dug as, say, driveways. Therefore, heavy duty weed control membranes are a must here, as they are likely to see regular footfall, and you’re at serious risk of nuisance weeds growing up through the soil in these circumstances.

Of course, you should always choose something that’s seriously resistant to UV rays from strong sunlight as well as rainwater.

What is the Difference Between Woven and Non-Woven Fabric Weed Membrane?

It’s important you understand the difference between the two. Firstly, woven is usually completed using synthetic plastic like polypropylene and weaving strips together. The gaps between the strips are so the water and air permeate.

Woven is usually heavy duty and, therefore, better suited to areas with high footfalls of traffic, such as paths. However, the smallest of weeds may still be able to grow through if the weave is not excessively tight. 

On the other hand, non woven is usually when materials are bonded together to create the membrane. This can be achieved through chemical, mechanical, heat, or solvent treatment. Polypropylene is again the likely material that is used.

Unlike woven, it doesn’t have small gaps that weeds may be able to get through, it’s, therefore, more commonly used as a barrier against weed growth as it’s more effective. 

They are still brilliant at allowing water and air to pass through but are not as durable, so they should be used for less footfall areas such as flowerbeds. It all comes down to what suits your garden better and the specifics of your project.

Where To Buy Weed Control Membrane?

Amazon

Amazon does tend to offer a good range of garden essentials and their garden membrane picks aren’t much different. There’s a lot here for you to protect paving and plants with.

However, at the same time, there is a lot of cheap stuff on Amazon that really won’t cut the mustard. It doesn’t take much effort to find top brands available through the site, so put in some effort if you really care about your garden!

Wickes

Wickes offers a small selection of membrane brands and membrane styles, and while there’s not much here in terms of landscape fabric choices, you do get a selection of the best options with basic functionalities. Wickes tends to be a good choice for many garden products, and a solid high street choice, so take a look if you’re used to buying things for your plants from here.

Toolstation

Toolstation offers a nice selection of membrane brands and landscape fabrics, non woven or otherwise. They offer a good alternative to Wickes in this respect, and if you are struggling to pick out the best weed control membrane on Amazon, the weed barrier selection here will likely give you a wider range to choose from.

Jewsons & Other Builders Merchants

Jewsons really did come up trumps during our research, offering a brilliant selection of woven fabric weed barrier options and protection in varying sizes. They tend to specialise in heavy duty weed control membrane, which of course isn’t a bad thing. The presence of big brands such as Apollo here is also a good sign.

Definitely take a look into further heavy duty control at local builders merchants, too, as you’ll find a similar standard.

B&M , B&Q and Wilko

All three of this high street DIY and easy gardener supply stores will give you a nice selection of membrane brands and products, but they might not really do what you’re looking for in terms of a good quality weed control membrane.

If anything, you will likely find there are membranes and barriers here that will help you to build kids’ play areas or other zones, maybe not enough to cover wider lawns or patches of land in your garden. If you want more woven fabric and weed barrier picks for your money, try Wickes or Jewsons.

Ultimately, the barriers and membrane choices here might seem like they are great at getting rid of unwanted weeds for a reasonable price, but you’re going to really need to invest in a membrane that’s absolutely designed and built for purpose, and nothing less.

FAQ’s

How to lay weed membrane?

Laying a weed membrane is as simple as measuring, cutting and making sure the ground is free from weeds. Then, you’ll need to peg it down. Take a look at our guide on how to lay weed membranes for more details.

How does weed membrane work?

Essentially, woven membranes and other weed membrane standards work by restricting direct sunlight from getting to the soil where weeds are likely to grow. It also stops weed seeds from scattering across wide expanses, for example in the way dandelions disperse.

How to prepare ground for weed membrane?

You should definitely make sure that your area is weed free. Dig out the soil carefully to allow for other mulch or stones to fill on top of your membrane. Cut crosses in the fabric if you want to pull plants through.

Weed membrane which way up?

You should make sure the ‘fuzzy’ side of your membrane goes face down. That’s because it adheres better to the soil. The shiny or glossy side is generally UV resistant, if you buy the best weed membranes.

How to lay weed membrane under decking?

If you’ve already got decking in place, you need to take it up to install the fabric membrane underneath. The best thing to do is to install your fabric membrane into the soil before you lay grass or decking. However, if you already have decking in place, set time aside to dismantle.

Last Word & Our Recommendation

Keeping weeds at bay is a constant battle. When it comes to the best security features a garden can have against weeds, landscape fabric and weed membrane options really do offer a simple but effective line of attack.

While we are personally sick of the sight of them, a good woven mesh fabric that’s high heat resistant, UV stabilised and easy to adhere should give you years of protection against irritating weeds popping up and ruining your garden, paving or driveway.

However, it’s important you look for a membrane that offers more than just basic functionalities. Yes – there are plenty of cheap garden membrane and fabric choices online, but you’re going to need to look for something that’s tried, tested, and trusted. Never compromise.

Set yourself some time to prepare the ground and keep a sharp knife to hand – and start taking action to stop weeds altogether.