Inexpensive Landscape Fabric


I have no money for landscaping. What can I use for landscape fabric? My husband and I put down landscape fabric in our yard last year, but we are no longer together and I cannot afford to buy anything for the yard. Does anybody have any suggestions of what I can use that is "dirt" cheap instead of expensive landscape fabric?

Hardiness Zone: 10b

Faye from NC



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By pam munro 523 787 04/14/2008

Would it be possible to put down sheets of recycled plastic, as from dry cleaner bags or a plastic drop cloth cut to fit and then cover with pebbles/stones/or bark? They do use some sort of plastic to keep the weeds down - altho it's black...

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By patricia 2 3 04/14/2008

8 layers of newspaper covered by mulch will work just fine. If you need to wet the newspaper to hold it in place that will be OK. It will supress weeds and eventually decompose. Best of all it's free.

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By Paula 14 328 04/14/2008

I agree with the post to use newspaper; at the newspaper that I work at we give our old papers away for free (most people use them for their new puppies). I used a clear plastic (paint) drop cloth once and had covered it with mulch but weeds actually grew under the plastic. I think that because they still got light from the sun, they still grew. I always wondered if used bedsheets that you could get from a resale shop might work as landscape fabric, though they would decompose eventually, they would keep the weeds down and still let water and nutrients through. If you do find something that works for you, please make sure to share with the rest of us!

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By crystal (Guest Post) 04/15/2008

I used cardboard from boxes, break them down and use garden staples to secure them. I haven't had a problem other than the stuff that drops on top of the mulch. That would be happening even if you used the material.

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By anbsmommy 9 15 04/15/2008

Burlap has been around for ages, has been inexpensive and will work quite nicely for your needs. :-)

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By Shery (Guest Post) 04/15/2008

Newspaper, newspaper, newspaper. Cheap and Free. Good for the environment and great for weed control!

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By (Guest Post) 04/16/2008

I agree with the newspaper gardening. Just don't use the slick colored parts of the newspaper. Have you ever heard of lasagna gardening? It is many layers of material that you put down in the fall and by spring, you are ready to plant. Google lasagna gardening and I am sure you will come up with the explanation. I have used the newspaper and the cardboard. Cardboard is a little easier to work with and eventually breaks down but not as soon as newspaper. Make sure you put a good layer of mulch over the top of the newspaper and yes, watering it down helps immensely to stay in place.

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By Helen (Guest Post) 04/17/2008

Try using newspapers. Just unfold the newspapers and lay them under your compost or mulch and it will keep the weeds down and lets the water filter through. It is very cheap and it is biodegradable. Good luck!

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By Carol in PA (Guest Post) 04/18/2008

I've used both newspaper and cardboard in place of landscape fabric. Both do the job well. And each will break down and enrich your soil. If you waste your money on landscape fabric, you don't have the advantage of adding nutrients to the soil so for that reason I don't like it. Cardboard takes longer to break down into soil but you can only use it on level areas. For slopes or slightly unlevel areas newspapers work best. Don't forget to use several sheets of newspaper and overlap your sheets well. Weeds grow up through the cracks if you don't do that. You will be quite pleased with your results!

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By suzin (Guest Post) 04/18/2008

If you have some old used carpet you could cut it the size you need and put it down. I've done that for keeping weeds from growing and as a mulch.

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By CH55662 (Guest Post) 04/19/2008

My grandpa always asked the local carpet place for remnants or stuff they took out of peoples house and were going to throw away. It does stink and get really heavy after it gets wet. You might could use an old shower curtain or some of the bag from the cleaners they hang over clothes (they might give you some for free if you ask). Also use the brown paper packaging from some shipping boxes or that white plastic coating they wrap around new stuff (ask your local Walmart).

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By Lynn 10/15/2009

You can use newspaper, but it breaks down after a few years if thick enough. You can use plastic garbage bags or plastic sheeting sold at Home Depot/Lowe's.

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By Cheryl 2 75 07/11/2011

You could buy a flat king size sheet from Salvation Army for about $3.00. Obviously it doesn't matter if the design is faded. It's usually made of cotton and will let the rain or garden hose water through. It cuts very easily with a scissors and you can cut it any shape you need. I would also consider garage sales as a resource for the inexpensive sheets, or even huge towels.

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