Tips For Cleaning Your PatioTips For Cleaning Your Patio

The once beautiful stone is covered under dust, dirt, leaves, moss. It's been a while since this patio has received a thorough cleaning. Does this sound familiar? Years go by and we hardly notice the change and then one spring day we step out on the patio on the first warm day, look around and realize that the patio needs attention. This might be a huge task, and it does not have to be done in one day. Do it one step at a time, as outlined below.

Move all your furniture off the patio. As you do this, you might want to sort the furniture out into those pieces that are still in good shape and those that have reached the end of their useful life. Be aware that solid hardwood patio furniture can be refinished and restored. So don't be too quick about disposing of it. Maybe it is time for a complete make over and all new patio furniture.

A good sweeping with a strong broom, one that is especially made for sweeping outdoor patios, driveways, etc, is next. You can find a good broom at your local hardware store. While you are there, you might want to pick up some heavy duty-garden trash bags, and any tools you don't already have that can help you pull weeds. Thoroughly sweep the patio, including any dirt and leaves that have accumulated in corners or around planters. You don't want to leave any dirt for weeds to get started in.

Next, it's time to get down on your hands and knees and weed. If you have a couple of teenagers hanging around being bored, hire them! It is important to remove all weeds from cracks and crevices. As weeds grow and spread, they can cause heaving of your patio tiles, which in turn can cause additional damage when water gets under the tiles and starts eroding the sandy soil which supports the patio tiles.

Take stock of your plants and planters. Pull out last year's annuals, trim the perennials. Do you want to eliminate some plants that are not doing well, or that did not look as nice as you wanted them to? Pull out those you don't want on your patio anymore. Maybe they can be replanted elsewhere in your garden, or given to a friend.

The patio has been swept, weeded and the furniture moved off the patio. How do the stones look? Could they use a good scrubbing to remove built-up grime and to bring back the beauty of the stone work? Maybe this patio is 20 years old, has many broken plates and is uneven. Is it time to tear it up and put down new stones?

Ok, looks like a good cleaning is in order. What now? You can either hire professionals or do it yourself. If you hire someone, get 2-3 estimates and ask for references. You might want to go to your local hardware store and see if they have a bulletin board with a patio cleaning company's business card. Or check with a landscaping business. Maybe they do that type of work or they can recommend someone.

If you want to do it yourself, you can rent a power hose or power scrubber at a hardware store. Be careful with what chemicals, if any, you use. Some will kill off plants, so any run-off into your yard will damage your lawn. Some might bleach your stones more than you want. The folks at the local hardware store might be able to help you find the appropriate soap.

You now have a clean patio, ready for the season.

by Christiane Perrin
References and Bibliography

Ch. Perrin enjoys creating beautiful spaces in and around her home. At this time of year, the outdoors calls. She also likes to pass on tips and tricks she has learned.

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