Inexpensive Eco-Friendly Way to Make a Garden Bed Weed Proof

14,920

65

33

About: I am a library media supervisor and I love making fused glass and gardening. I have over 500 varieties of hosta in my garden.

Never use fabric or plastic landscaping fabric ever again, with this very inexpensive and eco-friendly way to weed proof and create a new garden!

Step 1: Step 1: Figure Out Where You Want to Place Your Garden and Line It

Begin by collecting some of the following: old boxes, cardboard, newspaper(not colored shiny ads), or paper grocery bags.

  • Mark out where you would like to add your garden. You can do this easily with a garden hose, since they are flexible.
  • Then cover the entire area with items you collected (you can even mix all of these items up). Yes, right over the grass. No need to remove the grass or til the soil. If you are using newspaper, you will want to use several sheets at a time. Make sure not to leave any gaps, as grass will grow in these gaps. I know, because I made that mistake!
  • I then water this area well, or paper sometimes tends to fly around in the wind or birds start digging holes in it.

Step 2: Step 2: Mulch

Step 2 is fairly simple, just cover this area with mulch. A lot of times you can find free mulch at your city recycling building or on sale in bags at big box stores.

Step 3: Step 3: Start Laying Out Your Plants

Now you can start arranging your plants by different colors and texture. Once you have figured out what will look best, water the bed once more to make it easier to dig through paper and/or cardboard. Use a good spade shovel to break through your barrier to create holes to plant your plants. Then once they are all in place water it once again to give your plants a nice drink!

Step 4: Step 4: Then Just Sit Back and Watch Your Plants Grow

There is no need to weed, the paper/cardboard barrier will keep the weeds and grass out and your plants will be happy because it keeps the moisture in the soil. Never have to worry about using landscaping fabric, which is impossible to dig into, ever again!

Gardening Contest

This is an entry in the
Gardening Contest

Share

    Recommendations

    • Jewelry Challenge

      Jewelry Challenge
    • Tape Contest

      Tape Contest
    • Trash to Treasure

      Trash to Treasure

    33 Discussions

    0
    None
    AzureOzma

    13 hours ago

    I tried this several years back and felt very frustrated that there are some weeds that will find their way into my garden now matter what I do. Living in the country surrounded by woods where the birds sit in the bushes that anchor my flower garden and I can verify that it does not matter what I try by the second year here come the weeds! Henbit, the bane of my garden, will grow anywhere & anytime even in the winter!
    Your idea would probably work best in a more controlled area.

    1
    None
    Cheese Queen

    21 hours ago

    Sadly, soft compostable materials like newspaper or cardboard will not deter aggressive perennial weeds like field bindweed or nutgrass; they'll grow right through it all. This method is good if you have mostly soft annual weeds sprouting from seed, and it will serve nicely to smother lawn grasses, but its by no means a panacea for weeds in the garden.

    0
    None
    Carmel MO

    1 day ago on Step 4

    Wow! You’re flower bed looks beautiful. Love this instructable, it uses recyclables, which is always a bonus and it’s kind to the earth. Win win.

    0
    None
    Va_sub

    1 day ago on Step 4

    Excellent idea. I learned that trick several years ago and will never purchase nor use the black fabric. There is an endless supply of cardboard in a recycling bin near our public library that I can always use.

    0
    None
    shalnachywyt

    1 day ago

    This is great for starting a new garden . I can guarantee you that after about 3-5 years, there will be weeds coming up between those plants because the cardboard and mulch would've rotted. What I did instead, was to cover over the cardboard with "fake rock" (which I make myself recycled from old foam trays you get with meat and fish covered with a layer of concrete) around the plants. Then I cover the "fake rock" with a layer of gravel. The plants usually cover the "fake rock", especially when I use evergreen ground covers. Now, however, despite having done this 10+ years ago, there are still some small weeds that take root in between the "fake rock" (I love birds, but... ) so I still have some small weeding to do, but it's not extensive. Wish I had a pic to show.

    0
    None
    mrsben

    1 day ago

    Great tip but am wondering, if this would also work to deter weeds for beds of just River Rock (pebbles/stones) ? Thank you!

    6 replies
    0
    None
    awisner1mrsben

    Reply 1 day ago

    You could put river rock over cardboard. Just keep in mind that eventually cardboard/paper will break down. Landscape fabric will last longer, but also eventually will break down.

    0
    None
    mrsbenawisner1

    Reply 1 day ago

    Will try the mixture of salt and vinegar. Actually what I have done in the past is spinkle the areas (which I pull weeds from) with 'road salt' which kills just about anything at least for a season however the problem with the 'Creeping Charlie' is; its an underground maze of roots and the da*n stuff even works its way through the landscaping tarp. Again, thanks for your suggestions.

    0
    None
    mrsbenawisner1

    Reply 1 day ago

    @awisnet1: Thank you as appreciate your advice. Currently do have landscaping fabric but weeds still have a tendency to sprout. (One in particular that is sometimes called Creeping Charlie which is difficult to control so was hoping perhaps using a different means might be the answer.)

    1
    None
    Menashalibrarymrsben

    Reply 1 day ago

    I would imagine this would also work, but I wonder if the paper would start coming up between rocks if a fine enough base wasn't laid. I would recommend using concrete filings on top of cardboard before laying the rocks down. It would also keep your rocks in place.

    0
    None
    mrsbenMenashalibrary

    Reply 1 day ago

    @Menashalibrary: Thank you for your prompt reply. I just might give it a whirl and do a small portion first.

    0
    None
    awisner1mrsben

    Reply 1 day ago

    A very thick layer of cardboard and paper could last a pretty long time and possibly perform better than landscape fabric. However, if the plants are just growing on top rather than coming up through from the bottom, there's not much you can do. You maybe could apply salt and vinegar The salt might prevent anything growing for a very long time. If you change your mind and want to grow something there, you'll have to find a way to neutralize the salt.

    0
    None
    Vellegazelle

    1 day ago

    I live in SE NC, and fire ants are a problem. I tried this method in a couple of 4'x4' raised beds, but with added home-made Mel's Mix (see Square-Foot Gardening) on top of the cardboard. The ants loved it, and made their way into the soil where I'd planted vegetables. Ouch. Fire ant bites hurt.

    1 reply
    0
    None
    CLL

    1 day ago

    Nice! Your garden looks great. What were the plants you planted and what zone are you in? Thanks.

    4 replies
    0
    None
    MenashalibraryCLL

    Reply 1 day ago

    Hello,
    I am in Zone 5. I planted lots of hostas, asiatic lilies, oriental lilies, swamp milkweed, veronica, daylilies, and coneflowers.
    Thanks,
    Jen

    0
    None
    Menashalibraryzootalaws

    Reply 1 day ago

    Zone is a gardening zone. You can go online and find out what gardening zone you live in, and this will determine which plants work best for your area.

    0
    None
    pemazzei

    1 day ago

    Nice! Your garden looks great! What the name of the grass you use? We have a similar here in Brasil we call "Emerald". Thanks