I chose to work with the "Weed-X" brand of landscape fabric shown in the picture, because its tight weave forms an imposing barrier against weeds.
Most brands of landscape fabric now available are UV-stabilized, increasing their chances of holding up under direct sun. However, applying a layer of mulch on top will increase the longevity of landscape fabric. The label on the "Weed-X" roll that I bought was very specific about applying mulch afterwards:
"Cover WEED-X completely with a 2-inch layer of pine needles, wood chips or shredded bark to protect it from sun. If a stone covering is used, use only a thin layer of small, smooth pebbles."
These instructions aren't arbitrary. Resist the temptation to think, "If some mulch is good, more is better." As mentioned in Step #1, organic mulches such as bark will eventually decompose. Therefore, if a deep layer is applied, you're just inviting weed seeds to germinate and strike down deep roots. Such roots will eventually compromise the integrity of the landscape fabric.
Weed seeds can germinate even in stone mulches. As organic matter blows over the stones, it leaches through the spaces between the stones. Eventually, it decomposes, and weed seeds that come into contact with it will germinate in it. The deeper the layer of stones, the more organic matter that will get trapped within.
On Page 6 I'll talk about laying landscape fabric....