Now that the weather has turned, it can be rather tempting to stay inside where it is warm and dry and avoid the garden and outdoor spaces. However, regular maintenance of your patio will ensure that it stays a usable space all year round. Neglecting your patio, especially if it is made from natural stone paving, could lead to both stains and damage. Here we outline some top tips to maintain your patio during the autumn and winter months to keep it looking and functioning at its best.
Start by moving any plant pots and containers off of the patio. Fallen leaves and debris can often collect around the bottoms of them and pots that have been in place for a long period of time can cause stains on the patio stones.
Put furniture away to keep it protected from the weather or, if space is an issue, cover it with waterproof covers. The final point here is to clear any other debris, twigs, moss etc from your paving by sweeping it and collecting it up. Once it is clear then you can go ahead and perform a basic clean. A stiff bristled broom and some hot soapy water will do the trick. Rinse with some clean water from a bucket or hose but take care not to dislodge the patio jointing.
Unfortunately weeds are likely to grow no matter what type of patio you have. The seeds are often carried by the wind, birds or on the bottoms of your shoes and can land in between the paving slabs. It’s best to get a handle on weeds as soon as possible before they cause any serious issues. Regular brushing of your patio will dislodge any seeds from settling whilst a weedkiller suitable for patios and paving will stop them in their tracks, won’t cause discolouration to your paving and won’t affect any surrounding plants that you want to keep.
Algae and lichen look terrible but are usually easy to deal with using just diluted household bleach, a stiff bristled broom and a bit of elbow grease. Moss can be removed by sweeping and scraping regularly to prevent it from growing. Whilst moss killers do work they can discolour patio stones and paving.
Natural stone patios are at high risk of staining from the fallen autumn leaves. Sweeping regularly will reduce the risk of leaves accumulating and therefore reduce the risk of stains and damage. It’s probably worthwhile to hose your patio every now and then but be mindful that a pressure washer could worsen any small cracks so using it just on stubborn stains is best. If it is a cold winter, snow and ice can make your patio very slippery. Brush away any water and snow that may fall to stop it from freezing over. This way, you’ll save any further damage and you’ll be able to enjoy your winter garden too.
If you notice some gaps in the jointing on your patio, it’s a good idea to refill them. This will give it a little more protection from elements and prevent any damage from being caused. You can use polymeric sand - a mixture of fine and cement, or a jointing compound or loose sand, most of which can simply be brushed into the joints to bring them up level with the paving stones.
Many types of patios will need to be resealed every few years, especially those made using natural stone paving. If you haven’t done this before or your patio is a couple of years old, doing this before the winter sets in will ensure it stays in great condition. Patio sealants are widely available and usually easy to use. A sealant will soak into the patio and offer protection against excess water and freezing temperatures.
Spending just a few hours at the beginning of autumn to prepare your patio for the months ahead can save you both time and money later on. By following our top tips your patio will receive the protection that it needs so that by next year, your patio will be looking great and ready for use once again.