How to prolong the life of your garden patio
A patio provides a wonderful outdoor space, particularly in the summer months. It can be a place to eat, enjoy an evening tipple or relax in the sun. But even though it might look like an impenetrably solid construction, it can start to crack, separate and fall apart surprisingly quickly if not properly looked after. There are warning signs to look for, and things you should do to keep your patio in good shape and prolong its life. One of the main jobs is preventing weeds from making their way through the paving.
By regularly brushing your patio you’ll be removing any dirt from which weeds could grow. It’ll also break off any small sprouts that have started to grow. As well as brushing, use water and washing up liquid to give the patio a good clean. Brush the soapy water onto the paving, and dirt and grime should loosen. A power wash might also be a good idea every now and then to give your patio a deep clean.
If your weeds are already growing this is a necessary, if tedious, job. You’ll have to get on your hands and knees and pull as much of the plant out of the ground as possible. It’s best to do this when the soil is wet, so if it hasn’t been raining, water it yourself first. Try to get the root out too, to prevent it from re-sprouting – a tool might help with shimmying the root out of the soil.
Pouring boiling water liberally can kill weeds and prevent germination. You might need to do it several times to see the right results, but it’s effective, and you can use water you’ve just been cooking with.
White vinegar is also a good natural weed killer, as is salt – if you mix three parts water to one part salt, then this is a good mixture to pour onto your weeds. You can attack the worst bits again with dry salt if you need to. You might also want to try baking soda – pour it over your patio, brush into the cracks then hose your patio down with water.
Other patio problems
Over time patios can start to sink in places. This suggests there might be a drainage problem underneath, or the base wasn’t prepared properly. Either way, the slabs will need to be dug up and re-laid. You may also find some of the pavers are uneven, and as well as looking unsightly, this can cause a trip hazard. Also look at the edge of your patio – if the slabs are separating and leaning you’ll need to put some edging around it to keep everything in place.
There are always solutions to your patio problems. As well as the gritty job of weeding, there are a variety of landscaping products that can help extend the lifespan of a patio, and ensure you can enjoy this outside space for years to come.