landscape fabric underneath gravel?

Dave_WA(8 WA)August 25, 2004

I am going to install gravel paths in a couple of large areas in my backyard. Would it be advisable to lay down landscape fabric first and then gravel on top of that? Or is that unnecessary?

I have already killed the weeds in these areas. Would the fabric keep the gravel from being mixed into the underlying soil and thus make it last longer?

Dave

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treebeard(z5 MA)

Depends on how thick you're going to lay the gravel. If you're only putting down an inch or two, normal foot traffic will eventually stir up the gravel such that in places you'll see the underlying native soils mixing with the gravel. In that case, the fabric might be a good idea. But if you're putting down 6 inches or more of gravel, I wouldn't worry about the mixing issue, and I'd leave the fabric out.

As to the weed issue, weeds will grow anywhere. and as much as you might have killed the present weeds, weed seeds will find their way onto and into the gravel over time, and you'll see them poking their nasty little heads out here and there. Fabric might help to insure that weed seeds in the native soils below don't germinate and poke their heads up for air, but the weed seeds dropped by wind and birds won't be much impressed by the fabric.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2004 at 12:38PM
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jimster(z7a MA)

I have landscape fabric covered by bark mulch in some planting beds and gravel in others. It works quite well. Weeds do pop up but they don't get a very good foothold and there are few compared to a plain soil planting bed.

Jim

    Bookmark   August 26, 2004 at 12:02AM
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Ratherbgardening(PNW 7 or 8)

We put in gravel paths with fabric underneath because we have moles that would tunnel under it and cause problems. We also have thistles, dock, and blackberries that would come up through the gravel if we didn't use the fabric. So it depends on your situation.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2004 at 11:34AM
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Dave_WA(8 WA)

Thanks for the advice. I'm putting in 3-4 inches of gravel. If I put down the fabric first, do I need to secure it? Wouldn't the weight of the gravel pretty much do that?

    Bookmark   August 29, 2004 at 11:57AM
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matteow(z8 WA)

No need to secure it, the gravel will do that for you. If you haven't bought the fabric yet don't buy that thin plasticy shtuff that you get at home centers. Go to a place called WhiteCap Contractors Supply, they have a fabric that is like a heavy felt. Its what I used when I was a landscape contractor in Seattle.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2004 at 2:26PM
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marylandmojo(zone 7--Md.)

And 20% vinegar--an organic control--will be effective for weed control on any weeds that invariably will come through at some point in time. I wouldn't use any deadly poisons, then track them in and out of my house.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2004 at 9:03PM
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Dave_WA(8 WA)

Progress report: I have started and things are progressing well. The best investment I have made so far is in a 8x8 hand tamper with a fiberglass handle to compact the gravel. The 10x10 model was too heavy and IMO a bit large so I might have gotten my foot at some point, so I opted for the 8x8. It makes a big difference - the compacted gravel is much easier to walk on and you don't kick around loose rock much at all.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2004 at 12:18AM
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SandL(6a KS)

I use weed fabric a lot. Recently I removed some brick pavers from which grass was growing inbetween, layed down the fabric and put the pavers back on top. So far, so good. Our grass is rather invasive but I have not seen growing back.
I've thought about doing what you did, but using brick instead of gravel. Since I've considered using sand as a filler between the bricks, I'm curious if the weeds will set seed in the sand.

Heather

    Bookmark   October 7, 2004 at 2:23PM
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SandL(6a KS)

I use weed fabric a lot. Recently I removed some brick pavers from which grass was growing inbetween, layed down the fabric and put the pavers back on top. So far, so good. Our grass is rather invasive but I have not seen growing back.
I've thought about doing what you did, but using brick instead of gravel. Since I've considered using sand as a filler between the bricks, I'm curious if the weeds will set seed in the sand.

Heather

    Bookmark   October 7, 2004 at 3:20PM
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rdmiller(Z9)

Question on grade of gravel for a path.

I am following directions from Better Homes & Gardens book on how to make a gravel path. 1) Lay down a covering of landscape fabric, which I'm doing. 2) 2 inches of 'construction grade' gravel. Question here: the guy at the materials yard advises me to use AB Roadgrade Gravel here. Says it will compact well. I'm worried about drainage. Any advice from experienced users/builders? Wondering if pea gravel would be better.

After this layer I will put down another of landscape fabric to keep the two gravels from mixing. Then a 2 inch layer of river rock. Need to know if the roadgrade gravel is okay.

Thanks.

Ralph

    Bookmark   August 17, 2005 at 8:50AM
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erstanfo(8/9 Olympia WA)

Ralph,
Don't worry about different mixes of gravel.
I have many paths here in olympia. Just specify 5/8 minus crushed gravel. This is gravel that is screened to a maximum size of 5/8 inch across. I got some 3/5 minus one time but don't like the look. the 5/8 minus compacts better.

I do fabric to keep it from sinking in hte clay base soil then 3-5" gravel. It gets tamped down by foot traffic and water. After 6 months it is firm.
Ed

    Bookmark   September 21, 2005 at 2:23PM
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karinl(BC Z8)

A recent thread on the landscape forum discusses the use of round rocks for pathways, although you might have something different than this in mind.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pea gravel pathway

    Bookmark   September 21, 2005 at 7:11PM
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madtripper(5/6 Guelph)

5/8 " seems large? What seems to be used on things like hicking trails and bike paths is much smaller - almost sand size. has anyone used this?

    Bookmark   September 23, 2005 at 11:12PM
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johnnie_y

Looking for advice on applying 2" of P2 or P1 gravel as landscaping to the front of my house. I was told to utilize the landscape fabric, will the weight of the stone be sufficient to hold it down or should some type of spikes be nailed? Is there a need for any additional layers? Can this arrange be conducive for walking? Can a motor vehicle drive and park on this? Thanks in Advance.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2006 at 8:20PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

johnnie y, you don't get answers when you change the question in someone else's thread.

The answer, thought, is no. Rounded pea gravel should only be used in ornamental applications. Because it is round, it never locks into place. Every time you walk on it you sink in. A car would sink all the way through 2 inches of it.

There is a material with sharp edges that will work for you. You put down a layer and tamp it. Then another layer and tamp it. It becomes surprisingly firm (until the grass comes up). But the weight of the stone will hold the fabric down. You'll have many tons of stone on it.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2007 at 9:21PM
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jzeeff

definitely put fabric under gravel, especially if there are heavy loads involved that will cause the clay to pump up into the gravel - fabric keeps the layers separate and adds strength. Helps with weeds too.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2007 at 9:59AM
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fayeraven

Yes, weed seeds will grow in straight sand, but they are easier to pull up!
As suggested you can use vinegar, boiling water, even a torch to get rid of them.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2007 at 9:08AM
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samboina

I am new to gardening and a lot of you all are freaking me out:) The ones using the fabric with stone are for pathways etc. My question is this. Do I use the fabric if I am using rocks to landscape with my shrubs? We have a new house and the mulch that was their was attracting all kinds of bug, slugs, rodents because it is so wet. We decided to have shrubs around the house and use rocks at their base with the fabric under the rocks. Is this wrong? I want little maintenance for weeding and of course the pruning of the bushes. One can go crazy trying to figure it all out. HELP!

    Bookmark   June 3, 2010 at 8:08PM
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patlaf_shelbybb_net

Yes, I know it has been years since anyone has posted a note on this site but....I have a retaining wall that my husband built about 6 years ago. We planted nice plants and some vinca, (big mistake, HUGE), the vinca has taken over everyting and is cascading down the wall. I want it gone! What I would like to do is take up all the plantings, (read vinca), and replace it all with nice looking stone gravel. But I do not want to waste time with thnigs that will not work. I am way to busy, and have an organic farm operation, with this seriously ugly front landscaping.

I am looking at taking out all the vinca plantings with a weedeater than putting "round up" on it, then plastic and then the nice looking gravel stone. I am too busy with other stuff to do this more than once. What I need to know is:
Will my plan work, and what kind of landscaping plastic do I need as a base for the gravel? Please someone help me! I would very much appreciate any advice. I am only planning on doing this once!

Sending this out into the big black hole called the internet, hoping someone can help.

thanks,

    Bookmark   March 20, 2011 at 5:50PM
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ukann09_gmail_com

It has been suggested to me to use old carpet instead of the expensive landscape fabric.
I also hate to hear of your "problem" with vinca. It is a wonderful travelling rock plant for your wall, can't you embrace the natural beauty and trim as needed. A lot less to take care of instead of rigid plantings.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2011 at 6:01PM
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