With the warmer weather beginning to show face at last, households across the UK are looking to rejuvenate their garden spaces for a summer of hosting friends and family alike.
But while de-weeding flowerbeds and pruning trees can be fun ways to spruce up your garden, you might be dreading tackling your patio area. How best can you sort your patio out, and keep it maintained in the long run?
Oftentimes, a patio that seems to be in dire need of TLC simply needs a good clean before it’s looking its best once again.
Dirt and grime accumulate slowly and steadily, dulling the surface of your slabs or stones; algae and lichen can also creep in, giving edges and mortar a dirty, patchy look.
Patio cleaning needn’t be a complicated process, and more often than not you can achieve strong results simply by using a deck scrub and some hot soapy water. However, nothing quite beats a stint with a pressure washer to blow out any grime.
Older patios can start to show their age, in other ways, though; patio mortar can erode and dissolve over time, leaving loose slabs that pose a health and safety risk as well as an aesthetic issue.
Other slabs may have cracked or broken entirely, whether due to an accident or simple weathering processes. Repairing these slabs is a thankfully simple process, though.
First, you remove the offending slabs and use a chisel to chip away at the pre-existing mortar. After mixing a bucket of mortar, you can re-fit the loose slabs, or replace the broken slabs entirely.
The main cause for patio disrepair is the weather, as rainfall and fluctuating temperatures serve to weaken and erode the mortar supporting any paving.
Older slabs that have already cracked can crack further as a result of freeze-thaw weathering over time.
After repairing any cracked or loose tiling, you should apply a coat of patio seal to mitigate the effects of water damage and to preserve your patio for much longer.
Weeds are an evergreen pest in any garden, and patio spaces are no safer, whether between slabs or in beds and furrows beside the patio itself.
If your patio has been in relatively poor shape for some time, it is not uncommon for weeds to take root in larger cracks or gaps – especially where old mortar may have failed or eroded over time.
Weeds are particularly important to address, as the roots can force their way under your patio and weaken it yet further.
Weed ingress can be difficult to prevent at the best of times but is easy enough to treat when it does occur. As with any weeding exercise, the trick is to pull the weeds up with roots intact; leaving roots behind will simply encourage further growth.
If pulling them up by hand proves too inconsistent, regular doses of weedkiller can help keep your patio weed-free for good.