Rock and gravel is a low-cost solution for outdoor landscape projects. Placing a weed barrier cloth underneath the gravel keeps weeds down and helps stabilize the grade. Landscapers use two types of black synthetic cloth.
Landscapers use geotextile cloth if there are no plantings with the rock-and-gravel project. Geotextile cloth is a synthetic, flexible material. Most geotextiles don't deteriorate.
Landscape fabric is a synthetic nonwoven material. Landscapers use it for projects that have plants as well as gravel and rock, because it allows water and nutrients through. Landscape fabric degrades over time.
Both geotextile cloth and landscape fabric are stored on rolls up to 16 feet wide. Where more than one piece is required, an overlap of 3 to 6 inches is recommended. The cloth needs to be completely covered so that the sunlight doesn't reach it. If debris, such as fallen leaves and sediment, is allowed to accumulate, weeds can take root in the organic matter.