What to Put Under Rocks to Prevent Weeds

The majority of landscaping rocks are employed as ground covers. Garden beds with rocks offer many advantages, such as decreasing the use of water and the need to mowing. They also don’t disperse like mulch and they won’t break down. 

They are also decorative and can enhance the look of your gardens. But, if the weeds appear and wreak havoc on your garden, it could make a mess of your celebration. 

Find out what you can place under the rocks to stop the weeds from infiltrating your garden!

What To Do Before Laying

The first step is to carefully choose the spot to put down the landscaping stones. The ideal situation is that the area is free of weeds. 

If however, you want to lay the stone relatively quickly, you’ll need to remove the weeds and then remove the roots. You can also spray the weeds using a non-selective herbicide. 

Don’t spray your bushes too because the herbicide can destroy them. It is possible to put a large layer of cardboard between the spray zone and the bushes or cover the bushes with plastic. Be sure to avoid spraying in windy conditions. 

Use gloves that are protective and face masks when spraying.

White vinegar from the kitchen can eliminate weeds, but it’s not very potent. An alternative is to purchase horticultural vinegar that is readily available on the internet or in a home improvement retailer.

The application of boiling water to weeds can kill them but isn’t a viable option for large areas. Wear appropriate clothing to avoid being burned.

Salt isn’t recommended for weed killing since it may destroy your existing plants because it alters the salinity of your soil. It may also stop the growth of new plants.

If you do not have to put the rocks down in a hurry when the temperature is pleasant and sunny, place plastic on the area and let it sit for around 6 weeks or longer. 

This will kill the plants that grow beneath the plastic. It will not be effective in cold weather.

An excellent idea is to install an edging of steel around 3-4 inches in height. This will prevent plant life, weeds, and grasses from growing roots in the beds of rock.

Include plenty of compost in the soil prior to laying everything under the landscaping rocks. It will be difficult to do this until you’ve covered the soil and placed the rocks on the top.

When you’re in the position to lay your landscaping stones there are a few alternatives to place them under the rocks to keep weeds out.


An opaque black-colored plastic piece to use as a garden cover under rocks for landscaping is efficient in reducing the growth of weeds. It’s usually possible to purchase an extensive sheet so that you can cover the entire area you want to cover in one piece and not have pieces that overlap that leave gaps for weeds to be able to grow through.

Also Read:  25 Fence Gate Ideas (Wooden, Vinyl, Farmed & Colored)

But, it has some negatives. Plastic isn’t environmentally friendly. Sometimes, the edges of plastic will protrude through the rock, which can ruin the landscape. Plastic is also prone to tear. 

The biggest disadvantage of plastic is that it’s not permeable, meaning rain won’t soak into the soil. Likewise, the water cannot be utilized by plants in the vicinity or on your lawn. 

A lack of oxygen can kill any living organisms that are in the soil. This can cause root rot.

There are holes you can make in the plastic surrounding your plants to let air and water through.

Plastic doesn’t break down quickly and can be a burden to take away. It is also difficult to eliminate.

If you choose to use plastic, make sure you choose one that has UV protection to keep it from deteriorating in the course of a few years.

Landscape Fabric

Landscaping fabric is an effective barrier to weeds and allows water, nutrients, as well as air, to move through your plants and soil. It’s lighter than the plastic cover and, while costlier than plastic allows you plants to breathe.

Landscape fabric is generally available in three varieties:

Spun is tough and durable, and it doesn’t break or tear. It is usually swirling or circular patterns. It is possible to make holes into it to allow the plants to grow or for tree roots to grow. It is sturdy and will be used for many years.

Perforated – This has already cut holes so that water and air can flow through it. It’s lightweight. It can break fairly easily.

Woven fabric – with its crisscross pattern lets air and water penetrate the soil below. It is possible to cut holes to allow larger roots to penetrate. It will not cut or tear.

Landscape fabric keeps your stones and the supporting sand or gravel from sinking into the soil due to the weight of their own. The fabric assists in stabilizing your soil and slowing erosion. This is crucial for those who are in a region that receives regular rain.

It’s also simple to work with since it is rolled. When you layout the weed barrier fabric, you need to overlap the pieces so that weeds can’t develop through any gaps. 

To keep the fabric you can put rocks over it. alternatively, you could use landscape staples to line the edges. The staples should be spread the exact distance apart to get the best outcomes.

It is possible to hide the cloth by laying a thin layer of mulch, like bark chips or stones. Be careful not to put down excessive mulch. 

Mulch is able to decompose quickly, which results in enriched soil that is laid on the top of the landscaping cloth. In soil, weeds can flourish. When the mulch is broken down it creates an organic fertilizer for your plants that are ornamental – however, the weed cloth beneath the mulch blocks the nutrients from reaching the plant’s roots.

Also Read:  27 Tree Stump Ideas Put Your Fallen Trees to Good Use

Landscape fabric cannot prevent weeds from growing forever. The weed protection typically lasts for only a few years. Then, the organic material begins to accumulate between the rocks. Then weed seeds are transported in by the wind, and weeds start to grow again. 

Some of these weeds may be difficult to eliminate due to their roots getting caught within the fabric.

Even the most durable landscaping fabric can break down over time and weeds will begin to grow and grow.

Cardboard Or Newspaper

Cardboard or newspapers are great at keeping weeds from growing for the short term.

If you decide to use them to manage weeds they are in layers of multiple sheets. This will help slow down decomposition. 

Make sure to cover each layer to prevent weeds from growing in the spaces. Be sure not to apply excessive amounts of newspaper if you are planning to grow vegetation in your area as this could cause an increase in carbon levels in the soil. 

It is possible that you will need to apply a fertilizer that is high in nitrogen to compensate. Don’t use any newspaper that is colored to avoid chemical absorption into your soil.

While they’re cost-effective, cardboard or newspapers break down quickly, and they lose their ability to control growing weeds. After they have degraded completely the landscaping stones begin in the ground to sink.

Newspaper or cardboard must be regularly replaced This can take a lot of time however it can be recycled in your backyard.

None of these methods will stop all weeds from taking over. You’ll still have to keep your garden weed-free often to maintain its appearance.

What is Best to Put Under Landscape Rock?

The rock beds require little maintenance and to keep growing weeds it is necessary to put a weed barrier between a rock as well as your soil.

The most effective barrier is strong landscape fabric, however, it is possible to make use of other materials, such as black plastic. If you have landscape rocks on your property, you can prevent the growth of new weeds by treating and removing the weeds prior to dropping seeds. If you decide to pull weeds, remove the roots.

If you are planning to prepare an area for the installation of landscaping rocks, it is important to prepare the area properly. 

It is possible to use an edging border made of steel at least 3 inches in height because it can stop grasses, weeds as well as other vegetation from spreading roots into the rock beds.

If you want to use black plastic, a lot of them are biodegradable, and will decay; in addition, you’ll have to drill holes to let water in.

Also Read:  21 Rock Garden Ideas For Every Yard

The landscape fabric can be the most effective option, but if you’d like to add another element to make sure that no light is blocking it, you can block out the sun’s rays by putting on an incredibly thick layer of cardboard or newspaper over your fabric.

What Do You Put Down Under Rocks?

Horticultural vinegar is composed of 20% acetic acid and can be a great way to stop the growth of potential. 

Pour the vinegar into an aerosol bottle, then spray the weeds with it and allow it to absorb into the leaves. 

You can also apply the pre-emergent to keep the weeds from growing. ( Learn What Kills Weeds Permanently)

Is Landscape Fabric Necessary Under Rock?

Landscape fabric, more commonly known as weed fabric is extensively utilized by landscape designers. It helps to keep weeds out, however, it could cause problems and come with some disadvantages.

The fabric will not last forever and should only be utilized for one use. If you are using it in conjunction with stone, it has two functions.

The first one is to stop the growth of weeds. The second is to prevent the river rock, stone, or sand from sinking and sinking to the ground. 

The fabric for weed barriers lets water in as opposed to plastic which blocks water from pinning into the soil and redirects towards your lawn or plants.

It is possible to think of making use of mulch, but fabrics and mulches aren’t helping the purpose. Mulch is able to break down rapidly and will enrich the soil that is placed on top of the fabric. 

Weed seeds flourish in this environment just like they do in soil. Fabric doesn’t do well on the surface of the compost, either.

Another thing you may discover is that when mulch is broken down, it releases an organic fertilizer. Moreover, when you apply fabric for weed control, it prevents the leaching of mulch from your plants.

In a few weeks, it is possible to notice weeds beginning to grow. It’s not long before they penetrate the weed control fabric at the top. Controlling and removing weeds may be quite difficult as you have roots growing over and below the fabric. (Read Trim Arborvitae)

If you’re building an outdoor rock garden, don’t think that weed-control fabric is the only solution. It will last longer than other ways to cover the ground.

However, with a little thought, you can achieve the same result if you apply an extensive layer of newspaper on its own.

It is likely to break down and then move into the soil. it is time to start applying a different form of controlling weeds.

Vinegar is a great weedkiller and is ideal for rock gardens, and more than weeds in your grass lawn.

You May Also Like