How to Lay Weed Membrane
For any keen gardener who spends hours lovingly tending to plants, flowers and bushes and generally making the outside of your property look beautiful and colourful, weeds will be a constant headache.
No sooner have you completed the back-breaking task of pulling them all up and making your front and rear gardens look top-notch and weed-free than they start appearing again, threatening to spoil all your hard work.
It is not always practical or suitable to use harsh chemical weed killers and repellents to solve the problem, making a weed membrane a much more reliable and long-term solution.
Why Use a Weed Membrane?
If you have a gravel driveway, pathway or bedding area in your garden then keeping it free from weeds and preventing them from growing through can be an uphill struggle, but a weed suppressing membrane, or fabric, is a popular and usually highly effective way of remedying the problem.
Not only will a membrane help keep weeds and other unwanted growth at bay, but it will also help keep the gravel that lays on top of the membrane clean, away from direct contact with the soil.
A weed membrane will only be effective on areas of your garden that aren’t prone to too much traffic underfoot or where holes in the fabric are likely to develop, such as well used perennial flower beds.
The good news though is that as well as keeping those blasted weeds at bay, a membrane can also help to control the number of slugs and snails that make their home in your garden, which is particularly ideal if you have a vegetable or fruit growing patch that these pests like to nibble on.
Areas, where there are only a few plants with good spacing between them, such as shrubberies and ornamental gravel gardens, are the perfect place to try out a weed membrane to see just how effective it can be.
Which Weed Membrane Should I Choose?
Before setting about the task of laying a weed proof membrane it is important to consider the type of membrane you will need.
As they come in a variety of thicknesses, different membranes are suitable for different areas of the garden and different circumstances. Thinner membranes, for example, are particularly suitable for lighter domestic garden projects such as in flower beds and other areas where there is little to no foot traffic.
Thin membranes will be easy to cut to make installation really easy, yet once laid will be effective in helping to keep the soil healthy allowing plants to grow, as water, air and other nutrients can still permeate the soil beneath the membrane.
For driveways and other outside spaces that are prone to heavy pedestrian traffic and vehicles a thicker membrane should be used.
This may be more difficult to cut than its thinner counterpart, but it will also be more resistant to damage and general wear and tear so will be able to take the strain and the extra weight.
That said, nutrients and water will still be able to pass through the fabric to keep the soil beneath in good condition so long as a good quality weed membrane is used, such as the Apollo Weed Control Fabric.
Laying Weed Membrane
Fortunately laying a weed membrane is a relatively simple task that can be completed in a few straightforward steps by any keen gardener.
The first job to do is to clear the area that you wish to cover, to ensure it is free of plants and other items. Ensure that there are no short stems or sharp items such as stones, sticks and rocks, as these can pierce the membrane and render it redundant, with weeds able to make their way through the holes.
If you are preparing an area of your garden that you know is particularly prone to a lot of weeds then consider applying some weed killer prior to laying the membrane to do a thorough job, but make sure you allow plenty of time for it to take full effect before then laying the membrane on top.
Then simply rake over the whole area for a smooth, flat finish and you are ready to introduce the membrane.
Overlap any joints and gaps in the membrane by 100mm or more to ensure full and thorough coverage of the desired area and secure it in place with pegs or large stones. Any excess material at the end of the area can then be cut away using a sharp pair of scissors to create a neat finish.
If you are adding plants after laying the membrane, set them out where you want them positioned before cutting a ‘X’ into the fabric, tucking the flaps back before digging a hole and adding the plant.
Once this is done all that is left is to place your chosen gravel or decorative chipping on top of the membrane, thereby creating a weed-free driveway, pathway or flower bed that will set the outside of your home off to perfection.