Written by Terry Smith
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Best weed membrane [UK]- heavy duty and landscape fabric weed barrier & liner to prevent weeds
This article was last updated on May 21st, 2022 at 6:13 am
It’s the right time of year to be looking at clearing areas of our garden so I thought I would take a look at the best weed membranes and weed barriers with you which are nothing more than a liner to prevent weeds. In my case I was looking for a quick and cheap solution to walk about the shed I’ve just converted to an office as well as the other shed for storage and a space next to the house. So I had some serious decisions to make choosing the best weed membrane. I wanted a liner to prevent weeds that really works, so I looked at heavy duty and fabric options for the best landscape fabric. I did all this in November last year so you can now benefit from my full testing and experiences.
I eventually went with fabric (and I mean a real fabric, not the woven mesh that’s called heavy duty weed membrane. I chose the fabric option based on pure performance and ability to stop weeds and ability to drain easily (as well as the ability to be laid over concrete (partially the area I wanted to gravel was a path). I didn’t care about the price – it was all about the weed barrier and stopping weed growth in it’s tracks instantly.
Table of Contents
Best weed membrane: heavy duty and landscape fabric comparison table
Surprisingly, my choice was pretty well priced too. I used the GardenMate 1m x 25m Roll Premium non-woven weed control fabric and six months on I don’t have any weeds in sight so you can follow my guide with confidence of actually buying a liner that prevents weed growth. If you remember me fitting garden gates, you’ll remember it’s two metres wide and so 1m wide means two runs. Actually what happened in the end was I overlapped and ran 1m strips three times but I bought 25m so tons left.
Learn the best way how to use a weed membrane and liner to prevent weed growth, creating a weed barrier
First thing first – measure the area. Weed barrier or membrane if you prefer, isn’t expensive but be sure you have enough and it’ll also help you calculate for your weed killer and gravell too. It’s always about the pre-planning. If you get your ducks lined up then the job will be straight forward. Nothing is worse than having to go back out to buy something to finish a job that you really want to get done. It disrupts the flow, stresses you out, and generally put you in a bad mood which gardening is most definitely not supposed to be about that.
Level the area you wish to prevent weed growth well
Firstly you’ll also want to take this opportunity to level the area as best as possible. If you level the area, the result will be less gravel, or if you go for a nice Cotswold chip (which I didn’t) then the costs are amplified so getting a level area first is a really important factor. Here’s a look at another patch that was dug up and levelled too – this was next to the house and all muddy as you can see, not nice to have next to the house! We made a bit of a mess hence my son helping with the petrol pressure washer to clean up the patio 😀
Use a high quality weed killer before laying your membrane to double up and be sure
Don’t in a million years lay your fabric liner/membrane without spraying a damn good dose of weed killer first. Take full advantage of the link I’ve provided you with. The Gallup weed killer is near on commercial strength and you will not be disappointed. Knowing how bogged down we are with rules in the UK this is a super strength product and right on the legal limit of Glyphosate available for UK residential use. The UK government have authorised up to 360g/l which is seriously strong!
Lay your weed membrane fabric to prevent weeds
A super tip here is to grab yourself a utility knife and a wheelbarrow full of gravel so that once you lay it out, you don’t find the wind taking it away. What I do is slowly unroll it, placing a few handfuls of gravel down as I go. This generally keeps the weed membrane in about the right place. A top tip is double up if you have excess which is highly possible given quantities these items are sold by. This just increases the likelihood that weeds can’t break through (assuming they manage to survive the weed killer! At this point you can sit back and relax, in the space of less than a day you have transformed an area that is now easy and clean to walk on.
Here’s a look at my gravel down, I am very happy to be able to have this whole area useable now. And what is more. The membrane has been exposed for a couple of months on a sharp corner and still not broken. You can see that in the pic below:
What is the difference between woven and non-woven fabric weed membrane
Basically, fabric is much tighter and allows water to filter far more easily. It is not as strong as the mesh but more than durable enough to place under gravel despite many companies warning it is not. I have placed 100g/m fabric under gravel many times with excellent results. If I was driving over this area frequently I might reconsider, but for pathways and little garden areas it has been superb to me.
Best weed membrane and landscape fabrics
1. GardenMate 1m x 25m Roll Premium non-woven weed control fabric
I decided to go with a fabric as I wanted the ground to be able to breathe and water to filter far more efficiently. That’s why I picked the top rated weed control fabric from GardenMate. Now, I’m not saying a woven heavy duty solution won’t work, quite the contrary, but it’s been my experience that although the fabric is not as hard wearing as the heavy duty plastic type woven material, the ground breathes better and therefore dries out far more quickly. This was important to me as I have covered over some pathways and do not want stagnant water to sit for days on end, waiting for a real hot day to dry out.
I found the GardenMate super easy to lay and I will say that following the simple steps of rolling out a couple of metres and then laying a few handfuls of stones to keep it down then you just can’t go wrong. At 105g per m2 it’s pretty thick. You’ll be impressed by the quality without doubt.
They ask for a 10cm overlap to be effective, I gave it nearly 30cm as my width was a little under 2m and I wanted to be absolutely sure. They also say clearly to remove all weeds. I didn’t do that, I levelled the area and hammered it with weed killer as I mentioned above and to date there isn’t a weed in sight. In fact I’m over the moon with the results, I’ve used it to throw the old bikes, insulation remaining from the shed conversion, step ladders, and anything else like my tower scaffold out the way. An absolute right result is how cheaply I cleared up that area with the help of GardenMate weed control fabric.
It’s my opinion that fabric is a much better liner to prevent weeds for one very good reason. The fabric is far tighter than the mesh, I’ve had all sorts of problems with weeds growing through the mesh over the years but fabric so far has restored my faith in weed membranes actually doing what they are supposed to do!
2. GroundMaster 1m x 10m Heavy Duty Weed Control Fabric Ground Cover Membrane
I’m quite a fan of GroundMaster as their product is all one one page and you can select from a myriad of widths and lengths. This is ideal if you have larger areas and want to reduce joints. I would probably have used this product if not for the fact I wanted a fabric rather than mesh for the latest project I just documented. With that said, I have used this with much success on square areas and in particular under driveways where bigger loads and a more durable product is required. The new thing is to use paving mats or grids. I would have no problem using this mesh under these as it’s more than strong enough and still provides enough drainage. What was so attractive is the ability to get 5m width, this makes most reasonably sized projects doable without a joint which just saves that little bit of effort.
If I had a project that required the ground to breathe, I would certainly default back to fabric but for stronger requirements this is a nice and cheap solution.
A few years ago there was some calls that the product wasn’t the full 100g/m. So being the sad little individual I am I had to place the 1 * 10m reel on a set of scales to be sure. Sure enough it weighed in at 1.02kg. So I’m not sure how the customer that mentioned this a few years ago came about getting the wrong product but I certainly didn’t and you can buy with confidence. One thing I will say, I bought 20m once and I had a bit of a wobble when it was half a metre in width, turns out it was folded in half so don’t panic, open the packet before you start getting worked up 🙂
3. Pro-Tec 125gsm Gold-Line Weed control fabric landscape garden ground cover membrane
Couldn’t do a review without mentioning the Pro-Tec 125gsm Gold-Line Weed control fabric. Pretty obviously at 125g/m it’s robust and will last. But what might surprise you is just how well it’ll last when not covered! It stays strong through the whole summer. The sun will not deteriorate this membrane quickly. In fact, they claim a lofty 40 year lifespan but how am I supposed to tell you if this is true 😀 Certainly it’ll last many years and very very heavy duty no question.
You might be wondering why this is a big deal me jabbering on about the lifespan? Well from my perspective this is the best pick if you’re looking to set up a planting area to retain moisture. While water will pass through, it’s not as easy as fabric, it then however has the distinct advantage of being able to keep ground moist.
Imagine keeping your veg patch damp for the best part of the day? What a result…Built to last, weeds rarely get through the mesh, and it’s an all round quality solution to weed control.
4. ANSIO Weed Membrane 1x50M, Weed Control Fabric,Ground cover Membrane
ANSIO Weed Membrane 1x50M, Weed Control Fabric,Ground cover Membrane
ANSIO’s Weed Membrane made my list for one reason. The 90g/m is legitimately strong. It doesn’t tear or fray easily and you’ll need a sharp knife, preferably a utility knife in order to cut it easily. Being a well known brand with thousands of sales you can buy in confidence.
Personally I would use this weed membrane for raised beds, it would be absolutely ideal for rows of strawberries or similar. It’ll help retain moisture well, still allow watering to pass easily, and then has enough durability to ensure that weeds don’t get a free run. Like most weed membranes it is made with UV protection but this product really does seem to do well above ground.
It comes folded rather than a roll. Personally I prefer the roll because it’s easier to lay but folded is not a big deal, I presume just down to their packaging policies which are clearly working for them as there are very little returns to note.
5. LITA Weed Barrier Control Fabric Ground Cover Membrane Garden Landscape Driveway Weed Block
Lita weed barrier is a quality product weighing in at 125g/m2. You won’t have any trouble using this for landscaping and driveways. It’s tough, durable, and heavy duty but what I really like about it is the stripes. Seems trivial but it gives you an easy guide if you’re purchasing this for a raised strawberry bed, or any row planting for that matter. It’s a nice little touch.
Being 125g/m its durable and at this quality its pretty well priced too for one of the really genuine heavy duty weed barriers. Much like the protect it’ll do everything including gravel and driveways. The mesh is pretty tight and I haven’t had any customers reporting to me issues with weed growth. That is over samplings of literally hundreds of buys so you can buy this weed membrane in confidence. That rounded up our weed membrane and landscape fabric best picks. I hope you found something of use here.
FAQ for weed membrane
I’ve decided to add an FAQ section after I was asked a pretty good question this morning. So let’s take a look at these: