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I am a complete novice so please kindly bare with me. Basically we had a lot of weeds in the kitchen garden when I moved in 2 years back and hence last year I removed all of them manually and as an ornamental feature and hoping weeds don't return covered it with slate chippings from B&Q around an inch and half thick across a 4mx1m kitchen garden.

Roll on 9 months and the slate chippings are completely covered in weeds again and looks like a mess. I wanted advise on how best to go around a) killing the weeds to the roots and if possible giving the existence of all the slate chippings. b) how i can avoid the problem coming back.

Thanks in advance for reading and the assistance! don't say whether you laid any weed suppressing membrane before you put down your chippings ?  It is often a good idea as it does help to suppress the annoying annual weeds to a great extent.

However, in my experience, it doesn't always do a lot for the more pernicious perennial weeds.

You can always spray the entire area with a proprietary weedkiller but you may find yourself doing that on a regular basis and many people don't like to use chemicals on their garden at all.

4m x 1m ?..........maybe not too big an area to remove your chippings and start again ?

I am sure there will be others along soon who can better  advise you but I wish you luck's always really disappointing when you think you have cracked it and turns out you haven't...........happens to all of us.......novices or not



Weeds will turn up whatever you do. A weed suppressing membrane would help, but weeds will still appear. I would use weedkiller every few months to keep it looking nice.

Thank you Philippa. There was no weed resistant membrane placed before we put the slate - didn't think of using the internet and researching before going down the route and trying .

I am tempted to go down the route of starting again and placing a membrane. Just wondering what is the best weed resistant material to put on top or does it just need a load of more slate.

True enough but there are ways of mitigating the problem without resorting to chemicals on a regular basis........each to their own I guess


Scott Edwards

I have area that was completely overgrown with weeds last year. What I did was to firstly weed the area by hand, When some weeds started to regrow I then sprayed the area with a weed killer. I then laid down a weed supressing membrane and covered with stone chipping simply because the colour worked better with the house than slate. A few annual weeds have self seeded into the chipping but have been easy to pull out. Haven't had any real problems with weeds underneath the membrane pushing through. A few have tried to escape at the edges and I've sprayed these with a weed killer that goes down into the roots. I think the membrane will make a big difference for you.  

Icekul......there are various grades of membrane...........I'd go for the strongest available but if possible, it would be better to remove your slate chippings and leave the ground bare for a few weeks if poss...........that way, you can see what weeds are coming up and use the appropriate chemical whilst they are in growth.  Once you are sure ( or as sure as you can be ) that you have cleared your area, then lay your membrane and relay your chippings.  At least that way you will have a good start.  PD is right in that weeds will reappear....hopefully most will be airborne and you can then just pull out as you see them. 

I know it might sound like a pain in the butt but preparation of the ground is really the best way to go if you want to keep it looking as good as possible without having to get the sprayer out .

If you know of a good landscape gardener or a proper nursery local to you, ask their advice as they frequently use the membrane.

Hope this helps

Scott........posts crossed but think we are both saying the same thing

Steve 309

...and if you only need a small area they might let you have an offcut.

The thing is with weeds, you have to keep at them, cos they don't take time off!  You can't just fit something and forget it.  Well, tarmac, maybe, but even that's not immune and you can't grow stuff in it. 

Thanks everyone for the comments they are appreciated. Knowing there is solutions out there which people are suggesting after trying is a relief

I will remove the slate and pluck the weeds out. See what re-surfaces and go from there. That will give me enough time to get the right membrane as well.

This might be a silly question but what is being recommended is  -soil at the bottom, the membrane above that and slate on top. 


Yes, that's the order. seeds will germinate in the slate, weed seeds are everywhere, but if you tweak them out when small they come out easily

Cool stuff. Will get on the weed case tomorrow. Thanks again


icekull - I had to cheaply cover an area about 15ft x 4ft three years ago.  I bought a roll of weed membrane and 26 bags of blue slate from B&Q.  The first year it looked lovely and was perfect.  Second year it became clear that although it seemed there were more than enough chippings, as I'd been walking around every day on them they were being pushed down, slipping around.  Some grass and weeds started to grow through in places but were very easily pulled out.  BUT - now it's a complete mess with everything pushing it's way through and now completely through the membrane.

Get advice from someone who knows the best quality membrane, as others have said.  Mine has been a disaster and I'm going to have to remove the lot and start again.

Hello , if you have not got time to put a membrane down you could just use weed killer that kills the roots of the weeds , you will then use some path clear stuff regularly 

If you can see soil or membrane you need more slate putting down

you will always get seeds germinating in the slate which needs pulling out or spraying

best of luck

Steve 309

...if you don't mind putting poisons inti the soil....



Membrane only stops/slows weeds coming up and not those that self-seed in between. Stones and slate provide heat and dampness that is ideal for seed growth. As you have lots of seedlings it sounds like self-seeders to me and membrane will do nowt for that. They prick out easily and do it now before they flower and send more seed out. A lot of seedling will come out just by raking over the slate.

can I lay slate, if put membrane down without killing grass first

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