Using landscape fabric is supposed to make landscape maintenance easier. But if you do what I did, it
becomes a complete horror story. (Don't do what I did!)
Many people will fall into this trap if they did what I did, and when it fails, and I guarantee that it will,
they will say something like: "Well, I tried it and it simply didn't work." But, I say it is they that are
the ones that failed. And they failed because they did what I did. (Don't do it!)
You are probably saying, "What the heck did you do?" First of all, do not buy the "cheap" landscape fabric.
Resist all temptation to do this. I did it for a project and it looked great when I was done. But towards
the end of the Summer, I was called back because there were weeds all over the place. Seems that the cheap
landscape fabric breaks down much faster. I had to basically rip up all the landscape cloth that was there
and replace it with my normal, more expensive brand. Took me three times longer because, one, I had to remove
the old cloth. Two, I had to pull as much of the mulch off as I could so I didn't have to replace it all.
And three, I had to install the new fabric by cutting around the existing plants instead of installing the
plants into the fabric.
Properly done, using landscape fabric will cut down on quite a bit of extra work when you first build a new bed. If you use a quality fabric, it will last until the bed is mature and established. One thing to remember about landscape cloth is that it has approximately a five year life. But once the bed is established, weed control is easier as long as you keep your mulch above it weeded and replenished.
Remember that new weed seeds can be deposited by wind, water, animals and birds, and if left unattended their tiny feeder roots can penetrate the fibers of the fabric and take hold. It is a good idea to always maintain at least one inch of mulch on top of the landscape fabric and survey the area from time to time.
Here are some manufacturers of good landscape fabrics:
Landscape Fabrics on Amazon.com