Paris

First let me say that I'm not a newbie to this. I've been gardening for 15 years, so I've been around the block.

I have tried wood chip/bark mulch. Wood chips or bark mulch, about 4" to 6" worth. And then you renew it every few years by dumping a little more on top as it breaks down.

If not by the 2nd year it has broken down sufficiently to germinate weed seeds (usually wild lettuce) and the 2nd year it is no better than dirt. Even with landscape cloth underneath it, it would have to be removed and replaced every other year.

There is no cloth or plastic currently in existence on Planet Earth that is available to home consumers not affiliated with NASA or the MIT research labs that will not eventually break down under exposure to UV light, heat, and moisture.

And that won't eventually have holes popped in it as it breaks down and becomes brittle.

Gravel, pebbles, and rocks are stable.

You can put landscape rocks over weedstop fabric, and then the weedstop will break down after about 10 to 20 years and begin flapping fragments in the breeze, and you have to break it all down and do it over again.

The reason why people put mulches, either organic or inorganic, on top of plastic or cloth weedstop fabrics is precisely so they'll be protected from UV light and from the weather. Unprotected weedstop will last maybe a year. Protected, it's good for maybe 20 years, tops. But then sooner or later, it degrades and fragments.

This isn't how Nature, and Gardening, work.

Even concrete and asphalt get weeds growing up through cracks. You can put down gravel, pebbles, or rocks without anything under it and then periodically spot treat for weeds, either with Roundup or a propane weed torch.

Or you can put down bark or wood chips, and simply add more on top every few years.

If you omit the weedstop, you don't have to remove the mulch as it breaks down--you simply add more on top.

When you start seeing weeds germinating and growing, then you know it's not deep enough, so you add more. I keep about 3" to 4" of bark mulch on a formerly infested front flowerbed, and the only weeds I have to pull is the grass that sends runners over the double layer of buried brick. I add more mulch on top, an inch or two, about every 3 to 4 years.