How to Put Weed Mat Under Pebbles [5 Efficient Steps]

In order to install weed mat under pebbles, first remove any existing pebbles or gravel from your driveway, path, or garden area. Then, prepare the soil. If the pebbles are in an area that will receive foot or vehicle traffic, slope the ground so that water runs off. If plants will be grown in the pebbled area, take this opportunity to spread fertilizer. Then, cut your weed mat fabric to shape, lay it on the ground, and secure it with metal landscape staples. Finally spread your pebbles directly on top of the fabric.

Weed mat under pebbles

Should You Use Weed Mat Under Pebbles?

Weed mat—also known as geotextile fabric or landscape fabric—is an essential barrier you should always install beneath pebbles or gravel. Weed mat helps prevent weeds from sprouting through your pebbles. Installing a weed barrier significantly reduces the amount of weeding you have to do. Whether you wish to avoid weeding or don’t want to spray chemical herbicides near your home, weed mat is an earth-friendly way to combat invasive plants.

Is Weed Mat Bad for Soil?

Weed mat will not harm your soil. Weed barrier fabric is water-permeable. So, water and oxygen can pass through to feed plant roots. However, the fabric is woven tightly enough that weeds can’t grow through it. It’s a much better choice than plastic sheeting, which prevents water and air from reaching the soil. Always use true weed mat, never substitute with plastic sheeting.

Can Plants Grow Through Weed Mat?

Undesirable weeds cannot grow through weed mat. It is made of tightly woven fibers that stop weeds in their tracks. A weed that sprouts at the soil surface will be unable to grow through the fabric and pebbles above. This smothers the weed and keeps your pebbled area weed-free. However, you can cut an ‘X’ in the fabric where necessary and fold back the flaps to allow desirable plants to sprout through the fabric.

How Do You Lay Weed Mat Under Pebbles? [5 Steps]

In order to stop weed growth and keep your pebble-covered paths and garden beds pristine, it’s essential to install a weed mat. Here’s how to use a layer of landscape fabric to contribute to a beautiful, low-maintenance lawn feature.

Remove Any Existing Pebbles

Use a rake or shovel to pull any pebbles out of the area where they are currently spread. You can simply pull the pebbles out of the area into a pile, or you can shovel them into a wheelbarrow and transport them. Either way, it’s essential to lay your weed mat directly on top of the soil. Laying weed mat on top of existing gravel or pebbles can cause the fabric to rip, which makes it possible for weeds to sprout through.

  • Use a rake or shovel to remove all pebbles from currently pebble-covered areas.
  • Do not lay weed mat over pebbles—trapping weed mat between two layers of pebbles can cause the fabric to rip.
  • Use a skid steer or other power equipment to remove pebbles from large areas.

If you are adding weed mat under a large pebble-covered area, such as a driveway, it may be worth renting a motorized tool for pebble removal. A skid steer or tractor can quickly push or pull pebbles out of the way, saving you hours of hard work.

Prepare the Soil Surface

If you are laying weed mat over a surface that will receive foot and/or vehicle traffic, such as a path or driveway, it’s essential to grade the soil before going further. This doesn’t mean making perfectly flat paths. It’s best to remove soil so that your driveway or path has a crest at the center. This will direct water off to the sides, preventing flooding.

  • Fill any low spots in the soil that may cause flooding.
  • Remove soil so that driveways and paths have a crest at the center and lower sides—this encourages good drainage.
  • Mix compost into the soil if you plan to grow plants among your pebbles.

If you intend on growing plants in the area, now’s the time to spread compost and mix it into the soil. Compost works best when it is spread under mulch and weed mat. So, don’t miss out on this opportunity to give your plants a boost.

Lay Your Weed Mat Fabric

Cut your weed mat to the size and shape of the area you are covering. Then, lay it down directly on top of the soil. Wherever two pieces of weed mat meet, overlap them by 6–12 inches (15–30 cm). This will ensure that soil does not make its way through seams in your fabric. If there are plants in the area, cut an ‘X’ in the fabric wherever the plant is. Then, fold back the fabric to allow the aboveground portion of the plant to pass through the fabric.

  • Use this high-quality weed mat to create a weed barrier.
  • Cut your weed mat to the desired size and shape using scissors or a utility knife.
  • Lay the weed mat directly on top of the soil.
  • Overlap pieces of weed mat by 6–12 inches (12–30 cm).
  • Prevent soil from collecting on top of the weed mat during installation.

It’s essential to make sure soil does not find its way on top of your weed mat. A layer of soil over your fabric will encourage weed growth. Weeds that grow in soil on top of your weed barrier won’t be smothered by your weed mat, so keep it as clean as possible during installation.

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Secure the Weed Mat with Landscape Staples

In order to prevent your weed mat from shifting, curling, or being disturbed, secure it directly to the soil with landscape staples. Metal landscape staples are the best tool for the job because they secure the weed fabric without tearing it.

  • Use these landscape staples to secure your weed mat in place.
  • Drive landscape staples through fabric and into your soil using a rubber mallet.
  • Use one staple every 8–12 inches (20–30 cm).
  • Use landscape staples along the edges of your weed mat as well as where two pieces of fabric overlap.

Use a rubber mallet to drive one landscape staple through the fabric and into the ground every 8–12 inches (20–30 cm). It’s also a good idea to drive landscape staples along the seams where two pieces of weed mat meet. Drive your staples through the overlapped portion of fabric so both sheets of weed mat are secure to the soil.

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Spread Your Pebbles

Spread 1–2 inches (2.5–5 cm) of pebbles on top of your weed mat. 2 inches is recommended because this will fully hide your weed mat, even as the pebbles shift over time. Make sure to spread the pebbles gently, using a hoe or shovel. Take special care to prevent your spreading tool from puncturing the fabric. Rakes easily tear through weed mat, so it’s not recommended to use one.

  • Pour your pebbles on top of your new landscape fabric.
  • Spread the pebbles evenly, to a depth of 1–2 inches (2.5–5 cm).
  • Take care when spreading the pebbles—use a tool and technique that won’t tear your weed mat.
  • Consider using angular gravel to provide the best drainage and durability.

Keep in mind that simple pebbles are fine for garden beds and gravel paths, but they’re not ideal for driveways. If you are using pebbles or gravel to cover a driveway, make sure to use the best gravel for drainage. Small, round pebbles (such as pea gravel) contribute to flooding and washouts. A layer of larger gravel, topped with smaller gravel, encourages the best stability and drainage in gravel areas.

How to Lay Landscape Fabric Under Gravel

When installing weed mat fabric under pebbles or gravel, follow these steps:

  • Remove existing pebbles and/or gravel from the area.
  • Level the topsoil. Add compost to the soil if you will be growing plants in the area.
  • Lay your fabric directly on top of the soil. Cut it to shape.
  • Cut openings in your fabric for existing plants.
  • Secure your fabric to the soil with landscape staples.
  • Spread a 2-inch thick (5 cm) layer of pebbles or gravel over the fabric.

A high-quality landscape fabric under your pebble ground covering will stop weeds from sprouting through your pebbles. At the same time, landscape fabric allows air and water to pass through the tightly-woven fabric. This prevents flooding and allows water and nutrients to reach any desirable plants growing in pebble-covered garden beds.

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