Landscape rocks can help your garden in a variety of ways. You can use landscape rocks to cover part of the lawn if you want to reduce water consumption or reduce the area of lawn you have to mow. In addition to being a beautiful decoration around your plants also stones can protect plants from weeds. We will show you some of the most effective ways to prevent weeds from breaking out under the stones in your garden by placing various materials under the stones.
What needs to be done first?
The first thing we need to try is to get rid of the weeds that currently exist so we can put rocks and then some materials under the rocks to prevent weeds from reappearing.
1 - Spray with herbicides
Choose the right place to place the rock. The best would be (if possible) an area without weeds but if this isn’t possible, there is an alternative. Dig up all the weeds that are in the place where you intend to place the rock. Remove the weed root and you can also spray the place with herbicides. If you have shrubs or other plants near the place you are spraying that you don’t want to destroy, protect them before spraying. Cover them with cardboard or plastic while spraying. Note- you must have protective gloves and a mask when spraying herbicides!
2 - Vinegar
The vinegar you have in the household (white vinegar) can help you remove weeds but a horticultural vinegar would still be more effective. You can buy it in supermarkets or online.
3 - Water
We don't think you should just water the weeds because in that case, you will create a counter-effect. The weeds will only grow even more. Water the weed with boiling water to destroy it. This method isn’t effective for large areas and you need to be careful not to get burned!
What to put under the rocks?
1 - Plastic
What works effectively to keep weeds from appearing is a black plastic sheet. When you buy this kind of plastic sheet (preferably black) you get a large quantity so you can easily cover large areas. The disadvantage of this method of weed control is that plastic is environmentally unacceptable. Also, the plastic is impermeable so water won't be able to reach the plants around the plastic which can lead to dry out. We can solve this by drilling holes in the plastic sheet so that the plants have enough water and air for further development. If you decide to control weeds with a plastic sheet, keep in mind that such a sheet is difficult to remove.
2 - Landscape fabric
It’s more expensive than a plastic sheet but has various advantages. Although it will prevent weeds from growing, water will be allowed to flow and the plants will have enough air. Using fabric rocks will not sink into the ground and if you live in rainy areas, the landscape fabric will reduce soil erosion. It’s easy to put on because fabric comes in a roll and in order to stand firmly, cover it with rocks, and fasten it with staples. Landscape fabric is lighter than plastic and we can find it in three different types:
Perforated - a lightweight fabric that by itself already has drilled holes for the passage of air and water.
Spun - a very strong fabric that does not crack, so it needs to be pierced like a plastic sheet so that the plants can breathe and receive water. Spun can last for many years.
Woven - this fabric allows air and water to come under the ground without cracking and remains firm.
No matter which of these 3 types you choose, the fabric won't permanently prevent weed growth. The wind carries the weed seed which allows the weed to spread again which means you will have to repeat the process after a few years.
3 - Newspapers and cardboard
Cardboard or newspaper will serve if you only want to get rid of weeds in the short term. Both decompose rapidly and once decomposed, the rocks begin to sink into the ground. If you still decide on this method of weed control, then arrange the cardboard/newspaper in several layers, but you must be careful not to put colored newspapers in the soil (ink chemicals are not desirable for your soil). The biggest advantage is that they are the most cost-effective of all these methods.
If you don’t like to use chemicals in your garden and the weeds under the rocks bother you, try some of these ways. A plastic sheet is the most expensive option but it is also the most effective while newspaper or cardboard is the cheapest, almost free, but lasts a short time. Landscape fabric is a medium option, both in price and quality. Properly prepare the soil before placing the stones and choose the option that suits you best. Our advice is to use cardboard or newspapers in small areas where you can pull out the weeds with your hands (taking care to always pull out the root) and for larger areas we recommend plastic sheets or landscape fabric. The weed will reappear at some point and in these ways you are only preventing its development for a while.