It’s the time of year where you finally get to spend more time in your garden, but as the weather starts to improve you may realise that your outdoor space could do with a freshen up before you’re able to relax and entertain friends and family. It’s important that you take the right steps to maintaining your garden paving and the rest of the space, so that you can enjoy it properly for years to come.

With that in mind, we have some helpful tips and advice on how to keep your paving in great condition.

Maintaining your paving

When your paving is installed, you might begin to notice white marks on the surface over time. This is completely normal, and is known as efflorescence. It is a natural accumulation of Lime Bloom on the surface, which looks and behaves similar to salt, typically on concrete or brick paving, although it can sometimes occur on natural stone paving too.

Efflorescence is only a temporary effect and it usually wears away on its own as you use your patio area, as well as natural weathering. If its appearance bothers you or it’s not wearing away, you can use warm, soapy water to remove it. If after 12 months the efflorescence has not washed away you may wish to use a proprietary efflorescence cleaner.  If you do choose this option please follow the cleaner manufacturer’s instructions and perhaps test in a small inconspicuous area first.

If you’re hoping to protect your paving against permanent staining, you can seal your paving which can also make it easier to clean. You should wait around 12-18 months before sealing, to wait for any efflorescence to disappear. It’s important to note that sealers can sometimes change the aesthetic of your paving, so keep this in mind.

For concrete block paving, it’s key that you refill any lost or compacted jointing sand. After installation, check the jointing sand levels and top it up if necessary. This helps to maintain the integrity of the paving installation.

How to remove dirt and debris

If you spill something on your paving, knowing the best way to clean it can help to restore its appearance perfectly. Beverages can be easily removed with warm, soapy water. If the mark or stain is stubborn, you can use a household bleach but make sure it is diluted with water to a 1:10 solution.

Should you happen to drop chewing gum on your patio, don’t panic. Use some ice from the freezer to freeze the gum, and then you should be able to scrape off the chewing gum with no marks left behind.

If oil ends up on your paving, remember not to wipe it. Use a paper towel to soak up the excess oil, and then cover the area with a dry, absorbent powder and leave for 24 hours.

After a long winter, you may emerge back out into your garden and notice moss or algae covering your patio. Remove this simply by using a weed killer. This can be most effective when it’s applied during the warm weather, and you should be able to then scrub away the dead moss.

Top garden jobs for the summer

Keeping up with your gardening is a great excuse to spend some time outdoors. If it hasn’t rained in a while, consider watering your lawn and using an aerator to help maintain its appearance. Remember to deadhead plants that need it, as this can help them to continue blooming and coming back time and time again.

Take note of any bare areas in your flowerbeds or on your patio that could do with a little life and colour. You could look for the right plants to sow now, ready for them to burst into life next spring.

Following these cleaning and gardening tips can help you to really get the most out of your outdoor space, giving you and the family the perfect place to relax and enjoy the sun.

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