Landscape Fabric Fail

I’ve written about product design failures before.  When you are putting together something as complex as a jumbo jet, there are multiple levels of redundancy and long testing periods.  A jet, and all its systems, is designed.  So how can a product with a single purpose make it all the way to market without doing what it’s supposed to do?  I give you the biggest product failure yet:  landscape fabric.

What’s that I see poking through there?  It appears that some Bermuda grass is coming through the fabric.  In our garden we made some access paths and labored to clear away all roots, seeds and existing plants before laying down the fabric and covering it with gravel.  Not even two years later and grass is rising up through the fabric like a proletariat revolution.  Rise up!  Conquer the fabric of oppression!

Landscape fabric is supposed to prevent this.  In fact, that’s all it’s supposed to do.  It doesn’t care for your children, do long division, or make pancakes.  It doesn’t collect antifreeze, make porcelain sparrows alighting on twigs, or polish ship propellers.  It is only supposed to be a barrier to plant growth.  This particular variety was sold as the “Five Year Fabric”.  I suppose this means after five years of constant product failure the company will be out of business.

So fresh with enthusiasm and a blatant ignorance of history and common sense I tore it out and installed new landscape fabric.  But this time I put down a double layer.  Yep, that’s right.  There’s no way it can fail.  Especially since this new fabric gives the following instructions:  first, remove all roots and seeds.  Second, treat the soil with an industrial-grade herbicide.  Third, lay down the fabric with the care of a nurse laying gauze on a full-body burn patient.  Fourth, regularly treat the fabric with herbicide.  Fifth, give yourself a break since you’ve been working full-time for years to do the work of the landscape fabric while it lies there like a bum friend with no job and Doritos crumbs on his sweatpants.  I ask you, what is the point of the fabric at all?

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3 comments
  1. We find the best solution is full thickness newspaper. What we will do when newspapers all go digital I don’t know!

    • I think an iPad would make an effective, if costly, weed barrier. Right now we’re using newspaper, cardboard, vinegar, and cursing. All in healthy amounts!

  2. Po said:

    I have a new name for Bermuda Grass: the cockroaches of the plant world.

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