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Landscape Fabric Alternatives

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There are lots of substances that can block weeds in lieu of landscape fabric. This guide has advice for landscape fabric alternatives.
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By 0 found this helpful
April 14, 2008

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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April 14, 20080 found this helpful
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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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April 14, 20080 found this helpful
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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 crystal (Guest Post)
April 15, 20080 found this helpful
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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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April 15, 20081 found this helpful
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Burlap has been around for ages, has been inexpensive and will work quite nicely for your needs. :-)

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By (Guest Post)
April 16, 20080 found this helpful
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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.

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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 Carol in PA (Guest Post)
April 18, 20080 found this helpful
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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)
April 18, 20080 found this helpful
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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)
April 19, 20080 found this helpful
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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).

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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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July 11, 20110 found this helpful
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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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Anonymous
April 16, 20160 found this helpful
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Large size empty pet food bags, trash bags, old carpet, cheap tarps from harbor freight, or any type of fabric dis-guards. Once you start looking around you will find all kinds of free things laying around the house or garage.

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Go girl! You can do it!

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Anonymous
June 4, 20170 found this helpful
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You can get end rolls of plain white newspaper that come either 2' or 4' wide. I get them from a local newspaper publisher for free. There's usually a LOT of paper left on them.

I'm going to put them down on some GARDEN paths I'm making. Edge them with free used brick I got and fill with gravel or something else that growing things don't like....for free. :')

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September 10, 20171 found this helpful
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After you use the cardboard as a weed barrier, to make the beds look fabulous , use your favorite ground cover, mulch, peagravel, river rock, and cover over it, it works like a charm.

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October 30, 20180 found this helpful
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We use a variety of Upcycled free items. Old Bedding & linens, carpet, burlap, newspaper & cardboard. They all work if applied properly, dont leave gaps.

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We use bolts/rolls of brown paper in the front yard. You can top off with free wood chips or cacao husk. Both decompose over time. We are in the same boat. Husband lost his job a year after buying this house.

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By 0 found this helpful
January 18, 2019

Can I use an old door screen for a landscape fabric?

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January 19, 20190 found this helpful
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You can, but depending on what kind of metal it is, it could rust. We had this happen on a sloped area, and when it rained, rusty water washed down and stained the light color concrete nearby. If this is not your situation, you should be OK. Just be aware of the runoff and where it goes. Also, if you are using it in a flat area, be sure it does not stand up enough to be a tripping hazard if someone is walking through the area.

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Yes, people aren't supposed to be walking in landscaped areas, but if you are in there weeding or kids who will be kids run into the area to get a ball, you won't want a hazard (or rusty parts that will cause cuts if they fall on it).

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January 20, 20190 found this helpful
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If it is an older screen door, it may be made of wire and could rust and it is real easy to nick yourself on the edges.

Newer screen is made of either fiberglass, plastic or aluminum but any of these may work. One screen door panel will not go very far when thinking about using it for weed control.

Probably the most important thing about something like this is to be sure you prepare your ground before using the barrier.

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