As soon as the rain stops and the sun pokes its eager yet elusive head through the gap in the clouds, it is time to get your patio in tip top shape. Your husband or wife might throw an impromptu BBQ or your friends might invite themselves over for a bit of back garden swingball, and there is nothing more embarrassing than having a scummy and dirty patio on show. Therefore, the sooner you get it shimmering and clean, the better.
So, here is our guide on how to clean your patio, covering all aspects from deweeding to seasonal care:
Step one: Declutter your patio
Before you start the cleaning process, you will want to ensure that your patio is completely clear of all clutter. You will want to remove all garden furniture as well as bikes, tools, broken plant pots and anything else that is sat on top.
Step two: De-weed the Patio
Weeds are a real pain when it comes to cleaning anything, and it’s no different when deweeding the patio. Not only are weeds ugly, but they also get in the way and make the cleaning process that little bit more difficult. Whether you have small dirty weeds or larger bushes making their way through your patio they all have to go. You should scrape them out by their roots with a kitchen knife – this method is very simple, yet it is also very effective. If you decide to try and strim the weeds down, then you should be warned, this is only a short term fix and they will resurface afterwards. Another good way to get rid of the weeds is to use weed killer, however, you should always use it sparingly and on a day when the wind is very minimal as it can blow onto and kill other plants.
Step three: Get scrubbing or get a pressure washer
Once you have cleared the patio of all furniture and weeds it is time to get down the actual cleaning. If you don’t own a pressure washer then you will want to get down to it with a stiff broom and some lukewarm soapy water. If the dirt is more persistent and your patio hasn’t been cleaned for years, then there will most probably be plenty of algae present and you will need to use a patio cleaner, preferably an eco-friendly one.
When using a patio cleaner you will want to hose clean any excess dirt and apply the substance according to its instructions before gently scrubbing to remove stubborn dirt. You should then hose down your patio and give it a final sweep with a broom to finish off.
If you have a pressure washer then this process can be far easier and less painstaking. You will want to ensure that any electrical points are taped up and you will also want to make sure that any overhanging foliage is tied back with string. When using the pressure washer you should also ensure that you don’t go over the top. Excessive pressure can damage the paving and also lift up some mortar which will end up covering your patio in dirt.
After the cleaning is complete
Once you have cleaned your patio and it is looking spick and span, you will want to carry out some much needed maintenance. Inspect the slabs and replace any broken ones, this will prevent any future weeds from making their way through the cracks. Once you have your patio looking nice and clean you will want to make sure that the surrounding area is just as nice. You should always ensure that any windows looking out onto the patio are kept clean and that any flowerbeds are constantly watered.
Seasonal Patio Care
Patios do require some regular maintenance and there are also a few things you need to do each spring to make sure its ready for the year. When you know how to do this maintenance, your patio will not only be more comfortable, but will also last much longer.
Protect Against Snow and Ice
Even though you aren’t using your patio during the winter, you still need to maintain and protect it. Cold temperatures, snow, ice and moisture can cause a lot of damage to your furniture, decor and your patio itself.
First, remove anything from your patio that won’t be able to withstand the elements. Things like plants, canopies, decorations, rugs and other items should be brought inside or stored in your garage or shed.
If you have the space, store your patio furniture, barbecue grill and other large items in your garage too. If this isn’t possible, invest in some furniture covers that cover your things completely and protect them from snow and moisture.
Protecting your concrete patio itself is a little harder. It’s not necessary to protect it from winter forces, but it is necessary to make sure small damages don’t turn into massive problems that weaken and ruin your patio.
As soon as the snow and ice begin to thaw, check for cracks and damage. The problem with damaged concrete is that it allows water to seep into cracks and holes, which then expands as it freezes, causing even more damage. If you can repair cracks and holes before this happens, you’ll prevent a lot of damage and keep your patio in excellent condition.
Do some Spring Cleaning
Before summer hits, do some spring cleaning. If you need to, make repairs to the concrete and make sure everything is dry before you start cleaning and working with it again.
Then, start by taking everything, including furniture, off the patio. Use a push broom to clear away dirt, leaves, sticks and other debris that has collected over the fall and winter. Then, hire a power washer to give the concrete a deep clean.
Use the pressure washer according to the manufacturer’s directions to avoid accidents and ensure that you don’t accidentally damage your concrete. Remember that the high-pressure water stream has the power to damage siding, wood and windows, so be careful as you use it near your home.
Start at a far corner of your patio and then continue washing so that you are pushing all the dirt and grime off of your patio, not into a corner. When your patio dries, it will be spick and span and you’ll be amazed at what a difference the high-pressure wash will make.
Stage things Perfectly
Once your patio is repaired where needed and has been cleaned, you can start setting it up for the summer. Start by arranging the furniture in a way that makes it easy for people to get comfortable and use the patio for relaxing, meals, playing games and spending time together.
Then, start complementing the furniture arrangement with decor. Go with potted plants, outdoor decorations, trellises, awnings, screens and even smaller things like artwork, vases, knick-knacks, candles, lanterns and other accessories.
As you set up your patio, think of it like another space in your home. Make it comfortable, inviting and pleasing to the eye. Remember though that the things on your patio will require a little extra protection so sun, wind and rain won’t damage them. Use umbrellas, awnings and other things to keep things safe and in top condition.
Fight the Summer Heat
Just like snow and ice can damage concrete, sun can damage your concrete patio too. Prolonged exposure to sun can actually cause the concrete to fade, which over time, will take away from the way your patio looks.
Using an awning or outdoor rugs is an easy way to make sure the sun doesn’t get the best of your concrete and will add some shade and comfort to your patio. Look for an awning that looks as good as it works and that matches the decor of your home and patio.
You can actually purchase outdoor carpeting that is designed to cover large portions of concrete, or even the entire patio, to make it softer and more comfortable. This can be easily rolled up in the fall and stored during the winter.
Besides adding comfort to your patio, rugs also add a sense of luxury and design. They allow you to cover spots that would otherwise look ordinary and dull. They also make it very easy to define spaces and make your patio a little homier.
For example, you can use one large area rug underneath your chairs, bench and table to make it a conversation or dining area. Then, add a separate rug near the barbecue or outdoor kitchen to define that space and another, long rug near the door as an entryway.
You can purchase rugs in all shapes, sizes, colours and patterns so you can find styles that will match your decor or allow you to give the space a major makeover. Rugs also make it very simple to change the style and feeling of your patio every few seasons. Simply change the rug style or placement and you’ve completely changed the way your patio looks.
When summer is here, you’ll want a comfortable and beautiful patio for spending time with family, entertaining friends or just sitting back with a good book and glass of lemonade. The best way to make sure this happens is to protect your patio during the winter to keep the concrete in excellent condition. Then, do some spring cleaning, set up your patio and be sure to protect it from the sun.
So, there you have it, you now know exactly how to clean your patio and ensure that it is well maintained for years to come.
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