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Patio Care 

Is yours ready for a summer of entertaining?
 
Perfect patio?:
the ideal place to enjoy
the summer
Having a few friends round and enjoying an evening of great food, drink and conversation is many people's idea of the perfect way to enjoy the good old outdoors.
 
So with the warmer weather now here (and your lawn starting to look like the centre court at Wimbledon thanks to our lawn care tips) now is the time to prepare your patio area for the party season.
 
Summer entertaining
 
Say 'goodbye' to the weeds, moss, dirty grouting and cracked paving slabs that make your patio looking tired and unwelcoming, and say 'hello' to a neat and functional landscaped area that will provide the ideal place to relax and entertain.
 
Stage 1 - Give it a clean
 
All patios become weathered during the winter (especially if yours is north facing) and the damp conditions mean that weeds and algae flourish. Giving the whole area a good scrubbing with a specialist acidic patio cleaner will do wonders for the look of the patio, and, if you have one, a blast with a pressure washer is also very effective.

There are plenty of cleaners on the market, but nearly all are extremely caustic so be careful. Follow the instructions properly and remember to use gloves, goggles and wellies as well as some old clothes. And before you start, don't forget to clear the whole area of pots plants, garden furniture and any other obstacles.
 
And for patios that need a real deep clean...
 
 
Stage 2 - Removing weeds
 
Nothing makes a patio look tatty than a few weeds growing up through the gaps between the slabs. If your patio has been laid on sand then this will always be a problem, but unless you want to relay the whole thing on a mortar base rather than sand (recommended, but time consuming) the only alternative is to remove the weeds with a trowel and chisel. To keep your paved area looking tip-top throughout the summer it probably also pays to keep an eye out for any weeds and remove them as soon as they appear.
 
Stage 3 - Removing cracked paving slabs
 
At this point it is probably a good time to replace any cracked paving slabs that are, at best, spoiling the look of the patio and, at worst, an accident waiting to happen - especially if granny is coming to visit, because she is sure to trip on the one slab that needs replacing, with obvious results.
 
Replacement is actually a lot easier than it seems, with the two biggest problems being:
 
- matching up the colour of the slabs
- not cracking the surrounding stones when leavering out the cracked one

This is why is was important to clean the patio in the first instance because at least then you can match up the colour as effectively as possible. This can be done by measuring the old slab first to gauge the size needed before removing it and breaking off a piece to take to your local garden centre or building supplier to match up.
 
Removing the slab is easiest with a crowbar and a piece of wood to act as a base to lever from (which also protects the neighbouring slab as you do it).
 
After lowering the replacement stone into place as smoothly as possible (watch your fingers! - and with help if you have a bad back) the stones can then be levelled using a rubber mallet to gently tap them into place.

Stage 4 - Patio plants
 
Now that your patio is beautifully clean and weed free, you can now make it finish the job by making the whole area as inviting as possible.
A visit to your local garden centre to pick up some new pot plants and, for those without green fingers, ones which require very little attention is your first step. Garden centres these days always have people on hand to advice on which plant grows best where, how much water they require and which might suit your outdoor space. But don't go over the top - just a few nicely positioned pieces of foliage will set off your patio nicely.
 
Stage 5 - Garden Furniture
 
And finally, the best bit - the furniture.
 
Patio furniture Swindon
Once again, your local garden centre will have a fantastic array on offer, with various table sizes and styles. Our advice is to go for the best you can afford because you'll want the furniture to last for years to come and not become tired looking after just one season and a winter outside.
 
An umbrella is a must, and if you can stretch the budget buy one of those patio heaters that are now so popular and much more affordable. They really do pay for themselves when it starts to get colder during the evening - just as the party is getting going!
 
Don't have a patio?
 
The why not consider one as part of a proper garden design?
 
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