DIY Weed barrier

DIY: Natural Weed Barrier – AKA What to do with all those Extra Newspapers!

Fence Line
It’s warming up! Here in Detroit we’re maybe a month or more ahead of where we are suppose to be weather wise. We’re even suppose to reach 80 degrees this week in Detroit!

So since the weather is ahead of schedule, I’m working ahead of schedule too. Why wait until it is is 80 degrees every day this summer to try to get started? I’m spending a little out in the yard and in the gardens each day this week.

Today I decided to do one of my easiest and yet most dreaded chores for the yard – the fence line. Look at the picture – you know why it’s dreaded.. all those weeds!

But I have an easy solution for this – and guess what it’s a money saving trick! I don’t invest in those expensive plastics that fail in the same season – I don’t spend hundreds in chemicals, or days pulling these weeds. I still ruin my manicure – but I got this project done for under $10 and in a few hours.

If you’re couponing you already have most of the items you need! Here is everything you need to do this project:


  • Lawn bags – in case you have a lot of Large plants to remove
  • Old Newspapers
  • A bucket or wash basin filled with water
  • 2-3 bags of Mulch – (this is on sale at Home Depot right now 3/$10!

step 1 - newspaper

STEP 1: 

Take 1 sheet of newspaper and dunk it into the water. Lay it over the area you want to cover.

Yes – lay it over the grass, over the weeds, over the old leaves. Don’t waste the time pulling them and getting them out of the way!

Why do we do this? The water helps keep the paper in place – this will only work if it’s not super hot and it will dry fast. If you’re working on a HOT windy day -work fast!

*NOTE* When selecting your paper to use, do not use thick or glossy page. Regular newsprint and ads are printed on recycled paper and use soy based ink. This will break down naturally in the soil.

step 2 - mulch

STEP 2: 

Cover the wet newspaper with the mulch of your choice. This will hold the paper in place, and provide a uniformed look to the area.

If there are a lot of weeds under the paper it will look like it’s a mound of mulch. This will settle over a couple days.


Repeat Steps 1 and 2 until your area is covered!

That’s it!

Why do this – besides to make your yard look nice? The paper and the soy ink break down and actually will feed the soil. The paper and the mulch actually deprive the grass and weeds sun and nutrients, so they die under the mulch (this is why it will settle over time). These will also break down and feed the soil.

But my favorite benefit – you will not have to weed this year! You may have 1 or 2 weeds to pull that just sneak through, but once this process is done- so are you!

You can also use this process this year to prep a garden space for next year. If you do this process for weed management, the next planting season you will have healthy nutrient rich soil to work in!

before and after newspaper weed barrier

So within a few short hours, I completely cleaned up the whole fence line. I wont need to weed whack along it (I hate that sound anyhow), I wont have to pull any weeds or put any chemicals in our yard!

One word of warning – your neighbors may yell about you making their yards look bad! Mine did, so she joined me in the battle against weeds on her side of the fence. I do believe that majority of the time it took me to finish was because we were chatting away!

So start saving up your newspapers – it will mean a beautiful and affordable yard!

5 thoughts on “DIY: Natural Weed Barrier – AKA What to do with all those Extra Newspapers!

  1. This is great!!! Thank you so much. I plan to do this in the backyard. Would this work in my flower bed if I were to do it around the edges only, not where the actual plants/flowers are? Would it affect already planted bushes if I were to do this technique around the base of the bushes?

  2. Iris – it wont even bother the plants already there – just use the paper up to the base and mulch around it! It makes it an awfully pretty set up around plants already there!
    Desiree – have fun and make it the garden you want 🙂 You have the extra time now! 😀

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