What to Use As a Weed Barrier Under Stone

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.
Image Credit: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

Weeds grow freely wherever they are left alone. Even when stones are used as barriers, decorations or flower beds, weeds can fit between the cracks and keep a gardener busy pulling them. Luckily, there are some simple ways to prevent weeds from inundating stone landscaping in your yard. Landscaping fabrics and barriers available at your local home-improvement store have evolved over the past decade to include high-tech woven materials that allow water and oxygen to penetrate, while preventing weed growth.


Use black plastic to prevent sunlight from reaching any weeds beneath the surface. Use landscaping stakes to hold the plastic in place.

Make sure that you remove all visible weeds before laying the plastic down.

When placing the stones on top of the plastic, be careful not to puncture the plastic, as doing so will allow weed penetration.


Applying a two-inch coat of mortar on top of plastic will function as a weed barrier with added weight. The mortar takes the place of mulch and provides a steady base onto which to set your stones.

Mix 1/2 bag of type S mortar, eight shovels of sand and three gallons of water. Pour the mortar out onto the area that will have the stones, and smear it out onto the ground using a masonry trowel. Fill the mortar with smaller stones, and allow it to dry over night.

Check the mortar for cracks before you continue to stack on more stones. The rest of the stones may be dry stacked; the first layer of stones serve only as a foundation for the remaining stones.

This type of mortar barrier will work best on banks and hillsides that are being covered with stones as a decorative device.

Woven Fabric

Woven landscaping fabric has the benefit of allowing water and oxygen to penetrate the ground beneath. This would be helpful if you have plants intermixed with your stones. It would allow for a healthy atmosphere of growth, while preventing surrounding weeds from penetrating the barrier.

Install the fabric in the same way as the landscaping plastic, but put small slits in the fabric where you want to insert plants and flowers through the barrier.

Use landscaping spikes or staples with the fabric, and stack your stones onto the fabric, being careful not to tear or damage the fabric.

Billy McCarley

Billy McCarley has been freelancing online since April 2009. He has published poetry for Dead Mule, an online literary publication, and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University Of Alabama where he is also a first-year graduate student in history.