Just as you would regularly vacuum the floor and dust your furniture inside your house, you should keep your patio clean so it's ready at a moments notice to entertain. Start in early spring with a complete cleaning.
Remove all the furniture, the grill, container plants and accessories. Give the patio a good sweeping and washing. Wash cushions and furniture frames with mild soap and clean water. Let cushions dry completely before replacing them on the furniture to prevent mildew from growing.
Remove and discard any old potting soil from planters and clean the insides of pots with a bleach and water solution to kill any insects or bacteria that may have over wintered in the pots. Fill with fresh potting soil and put in new plants.
Spring is the perfect time to get moving on your patio maintenance and enlisted help to do it may end up being festive. "When the weather starts to warm, it's a good idea to make a list of all things you need to do get your patio ready," says Claudia. "Make it fun and get your children, spouse, friends and family involved, and reward them with a nice kick-off party or barbecue to celebrate all their hard work."
Simply sweep off the patio and hose it down with a garden hose equipped with a nozzle that provides a strong stream of water. Use a natural or synthetic bristle scrub brush to tackle tough stains and a degreaser to remove oily spots near the grill. Never use a wire brush as it can leave rust stains and scratch the concrete surface.
If you neglected cleaning your concrete patio for some time, use a detergent such as Dawn or Ajax dishwashing liquid mixed with water to help brighten the surface. If your patio is heavily discolored, you should call in a professional. They will apply a solution of muriatic acid on the patio to bring it back to life. If you choose to do the work yourself, you can purchase the product at a home supply store but be sure to wear long pants, closed shoes, gloves and goggles and follow the directions on the container to the letter.
Natural Stone or Flagstone Patio
Hose off the patio and scrub stains using a detergent such as Dawn or Ajax dishwashing liquid. To remove dark brown or black spots on patios in shady or damp areas, scrub them with a solution of bleach and water. This method will also help remove moss, mold and mildew.
Flush the surface with plain water and repeat if necessary. Use the treatment on patios that show signs of moss, mold or mildew. "For a stone terrace or paver terrace, power wash with a solution of 10 percent bleach in water to help break up moss or bacteria and keep it clean," says Robert Welsch, landscape designer, Westover Landscape Design
Manufactured Paving Stones
Simply use a garden hose with an attached nozzle and blast off surface debris. Low maintenance is one of the best reasons to install a patio made of manufactured paving stones. "We do not seal anything with pavers," says Joanne Kostecky, president of Garden Design Inc. "The only product that you really need to seal to keep it looking decent is patterned concrete and that is one of the reasons we try to steer people away from it."
Once you've built your patio, make sure you keep it as good as new by learning how to make repairs.
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