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How to Lay Weed Membrane Under Gravel, Paving, and Decking

Weeding is a job no one enjoys, but then again, does anyone really like weeds? Probably not. As experienced landscapers, we’ve used all kinds of weed suppression tactics over the years, and some of the best ways to suppress weed growth are by laying down weed control membrane or landscape fabric.

Whether you want to fight back against existing weed life or want to stop annoying couch grass coming back again, professional garden experts know the right tools and strategies to put in place. However, if you do want to have a go at creating your membrane layer, we’ve put a few helpful tips together.

When you know how to use weed control fabric correctly, It’s entirely possible to maintain soil beneath healthy plants with weed fabric over the top – keep reading, and we’ll show you how.

Step 1: Choose the Right Weed Membrane

The best weed fabric for the patch of land you want to cover may vary in terms of thickness. Thicker membranes are ideal for those areas where you are likely to walk across regularly. The fabric is harder to damage and will undoubtedly prevent weeds from popping up, but keep in mind that they can be tough to cut up. Here is our list of the best weed membrane you should buy.

You’ll likely want to invest in a thin weed control fabric to cover flower beds or borders where you are unlikely to walk. This type of weed suppressing membrane can be used to plant beds and offer plants plenty of moisture and nutrients while enabling you to suppress weeds.

Step 2: Clear Your Area

Before you get your soil covered in fabric or material, make sure the soil area is clear and ready for laying weed membrane. In some cases, you might need to use a weed killer on the soil before laying down the fabric, but avoid harsh chemicals to protect other organic matter in the ground or compost.

You will be clear to use a weed membrane once you’ve removed plants down to at least the ground level. You’ll also need to pull out or dig up any short stems or pointy rocks so your membrane doesn’t pierce. Crucially, the area needs to be free from existing weeds.

Step 3: Lay Down the Membrane

Cover the area carefully, but make sure that your fabric has an overlap of at least 10cm over the joints and edges. 30cm is ideal if you want your weed membrane to be exceptionally stable. Once the layer is laid or covered, you’ll need to carefully space pegs around the fabric, too, so that it holds in place nice and secure.

Step 4: Lay Out the Surface

Choose mulch, sharp rocks, wood chips, gravel, or even start adding plants to the membrane layer. Generally, if you are protecting a path or driveway, a 5cm depth is recommended.

We’ll explore tips on what to do when planting new growths to suitable membrane layers below.

How to lay weed membrane under gravel

A weed barrier under gravel is easy to lay, and it’s recommended as gravel can be a real problem for unwanted growth. Knowing how to lay membrane for gravel is similar to above, you will need to make sure your surface soil is clear and that your weed membrane has a healthy overlay.

Then, you will need to choose the suitable gravel for the job carefully. 2cm gravel pieces are ideal, though you can opt for pieces as small as 1.4cm. Generally, the heavier the footfall (or if it’s a driveway), the more chance you will have of smaller pieces getting broken down. A depth of 5cm, again, is ideal for paths and driveways.

How to lay weed barrier around existing plants

To lay a weed membrane around your existing plant life, you will need to cut slits into the fabric. Run from the nearest edge to your plant and make a small slit, and carefully slide your plant through. In some cases, you may wish to tie plants in place.

If you want to add more plants, plan where you’d like to place them by cutting minor ‘X marks into the fabric. You can then carefully seed by lifting the flaps. This all means your plants still get plenty of air and nutrients.

How to lay weed control fabric under decking

Laying landscape fabric under your decking is essential if it isn’t sitting on concrete or a solid surface. Bare soil, for example, will still need a weed control membrane even if it is far below your decking.

You can follow pretty much the same procedures as above. However, it is going to be easier to lay weed fabric before you install your decking. Getting to the soil after the decking is in place means taking it all apart.

If you need to do so, then certainly break up the decking. Believe it or not, seed life is still going to drift around in the wind and scatter through decking gaps. The best way to prevent weeds through decking is to lay the landscape fabric ahead of the wood going down.

Which Pegs Should I Choose?

Finding the best material is one thing, but pegs are a different matter. Here are a few top picks for membrane ground pegs that will help you keep your overlap secure.

ARVO Garden Pegs – Click Here

This pack of 50 ground pegs is excellent for multiple purposes. However, they are ideal for getting your membranes into the ground and are reasonably priced. They are ground staples by design, meaning that they dig nice and efficiently into the soil and should allow you to get your resistant layer in place without much force or pressure. They are nice and strong!

Corona Membrane Pegs – Click Here

This set of pegs is excellent if you are looking for membrane pins that are specifically designed for the purpose. They are finned and flared, which means they twist down and anchor deeply. These are some of the best peg roots you can pin down, and for the price, you are looking at a bargain. They should pierce well into most material.

Garden Prime Steel Pegs – Click Here

One hundred steel pegs for shy of £14 is a great deal, and again, these pegs should get your edges down pretty quickly while being multi-purpose. They should pierce through much in the way of weed membrane fabric with little in the way of any force. There’s no need to stick to thinner varieties of fabric when you have these garden pegs in play.


Can you put a membrane over weeds?

No. You should always make sure that the area you want to cover in weed fabric is completely clear.

Otherwise, those weeds are just going to keep causing you problems. There is absolutely no point in setting up landscape fabric that prevents weed seeds unless the soil is clear beforehand.

Should I put the membrane under gravel?

Yes. A gravel membrane is recommended. Gravel can be a nightmare as far as weeds are concerned. As mentioned above, your landscape fabric should ideally pitch below a 5cm gravel depth.

Gravel isn’t always going to stop weed growth, but you’ll have a better shot at it than with much other material.

Keeping your gravel clean of short stems isn’t too tricky either – take a look at the laying instructions for your membrane and mulch before you set up the fabric across your garden soil.

Last Word

Weed resistant membranes are great at really helping to keep annoying weed seeds and weed roots down. Many are great at allowing water, nutrients and air through to the plants that matter.

Weedkiller can be ideal for the garden in some ways, but noxious chemicals aren’t going to do your ecosystem much good. Laying down a membrane with mulch to stop unwanted growth is a much healthier option.

Do remember the golden rule – you can’t start laying ground membrane and mulch until the space is clear! That might take a bit of digging but dig away – as otherwise, you’re going to create a haven for those weeds to keep coming back.

A clear sign you need to roll out a membrane is that you keep seeing weeds push up through your paving or decking – take the initiative and create a protective cover that saves the plants you love but gets rid of the nasty perennials.

We hope after reading this post you understand a lot better how to lay garden membrane and do it in such a way that the anti-weed solution works and lasts.