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Old 06-21-2014, 06:29 AM
Location: Western Washington
8,004 posts, read 8,988,037 times
Reputation: 19352


Originally Posted by Bulldogdad View Post
Landscape fabric in planting beds with rock do real well here in the west when the plants are irrigated with a drip system. Even with a spray system.

I'm working on a clients house right now where we landscaped the entire .20ac front yard with rock over fabric and drip over ten years ago. It's still in perfect shape. The plants/trees are doing fine and thriving.

Like everything else it has to be done correctly. Ammendments, proper drainage/grading, irrigation, professional fabic (not that crap from HD/Lowes) and of course proper maintenance by the client after installation.
Absolutely agree!

I have pulled millions of lbs of those landscape rocks, and 99% of the time, it's because it was done improperly and without real planning. Black plastic is not an option. Lightweight "landscape" fabric, is not an option. These are SHORT-TERM materials, and unless you use builders' sand to completely block light, there WILL be "fissures" of light, between stones, if you're using a larger rock.

Also, the rock really performs best, if it's not used around plants which shed flowers or leaves. That's what makes rock mulch the most time-consuming to maintain. If you don't keep the rocks maintained, they're simply going to become a well-drained bed for weeds.

I never failed to convince the homeowners, however, to allow me to "repurpose" those rocks for them......to turn them into something that DOES work, and look beautiful, like dry streams, stacked walls, paths, etc. It's amazing....how you can completely change someone's mind. I've had owners flat out tell me that they did NOT want the rock on the property, PERIOD, only to have them hugging and kissing on me, gushing profusely, because I"d talked them into repurposing the rock.

Well....mmmm okay. 1) It's gonna cost you ___$$ just to have me haul this off. 2) It's going to cost you ___$$ to replace this with THIS. 3) You have $2,000 that you're willing to spend to update your yard. Do you really want to spend 1/2 of that budget, just getting the rocks (out of your sight!) and replacing it? How about you just tell me what makes your heart happy. Where do you feel the most at peace? Okay...now let's incorporate that rock into making this...THAT place, cuz I will guarantee you that there are ROCKS in that picture.

One of the yards I did, MANY years ago, was FULL of plants and shrubs, had black plastic underneath the rocks, and the rocks were nearly covered.....COVERED, with "dirt"..old leaves which had decomposed. The woman was determined to keep it just the way it was....but wanted the rocks cleaned. It was purely sentimental....as she and her recently deceased husband (the love of her life) had done it together. It was more a memorial, than anything. It cost her over $2,000....to have it "restored" to its original state.
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Old 06-21-2014, 06:37 AM
Location: Western Washington
8,004 posts, read 8,988,037 times
Reputation: 19352
Originally Posted by TinaMcG View Post
OMG, what stupid neighbors. Mice will live anywhere. And mice only make nests in mounds of mulch heaped up around plants before the ground freezes in winter. They don't nest in the 2-3" layer of mulch you put around your plants.

They will be SOOOOOO sorry they put in rock over landscape fabric!!! A neighbor has that, installed by the home builder. It's an unmitigated disaster. They have a beautiful rock-terrraced garden on a slope in the front of their house, and there are dead Knockout roses and spireas all over it because (a) the soil is clay and has never been amended, (b) the landscape fabric is thick and although it's permeable, doesn't allow the maximum amount of water to the roots, and (c) all those rocks create enough weight to totally compact the soil around the roots of the plants.

If we were househunting and I saw that arrangement, it would be enough to put me off buying the place. If people are stupid enopugh to allow rocks and landscape fabric in their ornamental beds, heaven knows what other dumb things they've done to the home.

Tina...that's the thing, for MOST plants, rock mulch and fabric are NOT a good choice, period. Desert climates are an entirely different matter. Even with wood mulch, if you've got heavy, wet, clay soils, fabric is not a good idea around many shrubs. A big mistake many people in the PNW make, is laying fabric right up to newly planted, shallow-rooted plants. It doesn't take too long, before you start seeing signs of "root issues". Ya gotta educated yourself on the needs of all plants. If you must put plants in a rock bed, there need to be "rockless" oases in the bed.
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Old 06-21-2014, 01:45 PM
Location: South Carolina
1,597 posts, read 2,574,411 times
Reputation: 1877
Originally Posted by dr.frog View Post
On the other hand.... As I've been taking up and "cleaning" the beds of landscape rock around my house, I've found that the places without landscape cloth underneath are much nastier to deal with, as the rocks on the bottom really get embedded in the dirt underneath. The cloth does a pretty good job of keeping the rocks contained, at least.

The landscape cloth I've been dealing with is 15+ years old and is mostly intact except for what was under the rock area that was used as a parking space by the previous owners of my house. Maybe the fabric Geneyus has that is shredding and rotted was very poor quality stuff to begin with?
Probably. I just bought the house a year ago, and the previous owners were real dodo birds. I've replaced almost all of the light fixtures in the house to get away from brass fixtures, and all of the ground wires were either cut off or bent back up into the ceiling instead of being used. Some say a ground wire isn't essential, but if it's already there, why not use it? I could see them buying the cheapest fabric possible.
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Old 06-24-2014, 01:55 PM
Location: Over yonder a piece
3,417 posts, read 3,715,944 times
Reputation: 5265
Originally Posted by txmg View Post
I've been looking around the neighborhood and everyone who has put a section like this in has some weed issues. I can tell how long it has been there by how bad their weeds are.
*raises hand* I regret it! About five years ago my husband and I put in a huge rock bed in front of our house, with a goal of having a container garden in the area. The container garden portion is great - love the flowers we get in the containers.

But the weeds that are now taking over our rock pad are TERRIBLE. We put down 3 layers of landscape fabric under the rocks, and within 2 years the weeds were coming through like there was nothing down at all.

This summer and fall I'm redoing all our landscaping and our plan is to take up all the rock and landscape fabric in September and just put down sod. We'll move the containers to the extended back patio that we are pouring sometime in August.

We'll be reusing the rocks in the backyard though. The plan right now is to put down 2-3 layers of cardboard up against the house foundation, and then cover that with a thick layer of the repurposed rocks. I know we'll get weeds in this area again in the future, but I'd rather take care of a 1'x22' area than a massive 15'x20' area! This will keep the weeds from growing up around the foundation of the house (a big problem we're trying to fix this summer).

I'm looking forward to laying down sod over the former rock site in the front this fall!
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Old 06-27-2014, 08:35 PM
Location: Western Washington
8,004 posts, read 8,988,037 times
Reputation: 19352
Fantastic idea and LOW maintainance, right? I know you have to mow grass, but when you think of how quickly you can mow that area? I love time-saving, low-maintainance stuff....so I can have lots and lots of "stuff". Yes, I DO realize that it means it's no longer "low-maintainance", when you have TOO much of anything.....but.....well?
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Old 04-03-2016, 04:19 AM
175 posts, read 373,895 times
Reputation: 48
oy - such a dilemma - I just got five tons of rock - wish I found this thread sooner!
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Old 04-03-2016, 09:14 AM
Location: Floribama
11,916 posts, read 26,953,044 times
Reputation: 9321
You need a good woven landscape fabric. I have some I bought years ago that has held up well, it's the same stuff you see covering the ground at plant nurseries.

Ground Covers : DeWitt Sunbelt Woven Ground Cover 3.2oz (6' X 300')
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Old 07-15-2017, 04:14 PM
1 posts, read 3,579 times
Reputation: 10
So, I want to redo an area landscaped by yours truly and my husband next to our foundation. Its approximately 2' x the length of our home. We have a double wide pre built home that is very well maintained. Am I to understand that the high quality landscape fabric is the best to use under rocks? We just redid the front several years ago with plastic, and the moss is growing slowly on that side. Not too bad on the weeds thus far, but we did take all the rocks out of each section and wash them before putting them back. Getting to be pretty back breaking work. Was considering mulch, but then you have that expense. Do you have a recommendation for a brand of landscape fabric? Thanks so much!
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