How to Clean and Maintain Your Patio
Leave it too long and it can really begin to drag the rest of your garden down, so this month we’re taking a look at some of the ways in which you can clean up and maintain your garden patio to help it look fresh and beautiful all year round.
WeedingThe job that never truly ends, weeding your patio will be a regular task and it is one that important if you want to keep your patio neat and clean throughout the year. Hardy perennial weeds will crop up consistently so you should deal with them as and when they appear. You will need to be thorough, dealing with the entire root structure and paying particular attention to weeds sprouting through joints. If you’re pulling up a weed – as much of it as you can – which has taken root in the joints, you should make sure to replace any sand which is taken with it, to fill in the joints between slabs. You can also try filling joints with dedicated weed inhibiting paving sand, to limit weed growth within joints.
Weedkillers are also effective here, and for the most thorough solution you should choose a systemic weed killer. A systemic weed killer is relatively slow acting, but it will seep deeply into the weed, working its way through to the root to kill is off completely. If you do choose weed killer, make sure to pay close attention to the manufacturer’s instructions to achieve proper, safe use. Whatever method you choose, keep on top of your patio weeds and they won’t cause you any significant trouble.
Brushing and sweepingYour patio will attract stains and layers of dirt, dust and grime which will cause the surface to look disproportionate and ugly, so you will need to regularly clean your patio to maintain a consistent, attractive look.
First, focus on sweeping your patio to clear away scattered dust and dirt – or any autumn leaves which may have fallen and settled on your slabs – and do this as regularly as you can. Then you can get to work cleaning things a bit more thoroughly. You can use a stiff bristled brush with hot soapy water to clean things up substantially, and you might be surprised by how much better the patio will look by using such a simple solution.
For hard wearing stains – from soft drink and alcohol stains created during patio parties and garden get-togethers, to rust stains caused by metallic patio furniture – you will likely need something more substantial, especially if the stains have been left untouched for a long period of time.
Pressure washingA pressure washer can give a much needed deep clean to your patio, and can help remove even the most rugged stains. Work carefully when using a pressure washer, avoid direct contact with joints so as to avoid removing large portions of paving sand and make sure not to damage the surface of your patio by focusing for too long on one spot.
LichensOne of the most stubborn and unsightly problems that affects many patios is the growth of lichens, which create familiar black or white spots over your slabs. Your best bet for removing lichen is by applying bleach to the patio. You will likely need to do this regularly, repeating the process consistently over an extended period of time to see the effects – lichens are incredibly stubborn, so one application of bleach won’t have a particularly great effect on its own.
Apply diluted bleach to the area, working methodically over the surface and leave it to stand for about an hour before washing it off with hot, soapy water.
Lichen left for too long might prove impossible to remove, and you may need to look into replacing slabs and treating them with a sealant upon installation, to prevent growth in the future.