Fabric vs Plastic Weed block for garden against foundation?

erichvrJune 23, 2009

My wife and I are replacing a rock garden that is up against the entire front of our house with mulch. Underneath the rock that we are (painstakingly) removing is plastic weed block. Since the garden is against the foundation of the house should we replace the plastic with new plastic to prevent water from penetrating next to the foundation or is it okay to use fabric?? Please advise!!!

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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

I wouldn't use either. Remove the plastic and put down whatever mulch you are planning to use.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2009 at 8:22PM
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dinajean(upstate SC -Zone 7b)

I use newspaper in several layers and it works very well...and its free! Just dont use the shiny type that the ads are printed on.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2009 at 7:24AM
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Neither. Plastic is absolutely the worst material up against a house. It doesn't keep it dry, it keeps it WET. Water gets in there anyway and the plastic prevents it from drying out. We had major water issues with our foundation with a house we bought in DRY Denver lol. It was due to the plastic. Where there wasn't any plastic there was no moisture against the house.

Landscaping fabric doesn't prevent weeds...weeds still inbed themselves in the top.

Just make sure you have a good grade away from the foundation and tamp down firmly to compact. Then use newspapers as suggested and mulch.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2009 at 2:26PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

I wouldn't use newspaper either.

 Newspaper and cardboard sheet mulches can be effective for annual beds if they are properly
 Sheet mulches can prevent water movement and gas exchange if they are too wet or too dry.
 Use site-appropriate mulch materials. Permanent, ornamental landscapes, non-maintained sites,
and restoration areas are not appropriate locations for newspaper and cardboard sheet mulches

Here is a link that might be useful: The Myth of Paper-Based Sheet Mulch

    Bookmark   June 24, 2009 at 5:48PM
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The idea behind using or not using newspaper or cardboard is more about whether or not you are building your bed on existing soil of reasonable fertility that has existing weeds or grass or seeds thereof. If so, then one way to suppress weed growth from those existing sources, up through a usual 2-3" layer of mulch, is to put down a thick layer of the paper or cardboard as a temporary extra barrier. Then later on, you deal primarly with weeds that sprout from seeds in, or blown or dropped onto, the mulch layer.

So you can still use this process with a "permanent, ornamental" landscape at the beginning of creating the area, and also as an adjunct weed block around individual shrubs under a fresh layer of mulch.

If you are digging up gravel, and the surface on which you are going to create your new planting bed is rather inhospitable, as in the subsoil layer or a rocky layer, then there's much less rationale for putting a layer of paper under whatever--mulch or garden soil--although in theory weed seeds could land there if the area remains exposed a long time, and then be ready to sprout after you apply organic matter and H20.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2009 at 6:50PM
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