As the first rays of sunshine begin to puncture the clouds, thoughts will turn to al fresco living and sunny nights spent on the patio.
However, before you fire up the barbie and the drinks start flowing, you’ll want to prepare your patio for summer, especially after a winter of neglect.
Put the hard work in now with these top tips for a pristine patio and thank yourself later – glass in hand.
Pressure wash your paving
No matter how proactive a cleaner you are, it’s likely a good deal of grime has accumulated over the colder months. Get to work straight away by clearing away any plant pots or furniture and removing leaves or debris, before blasting down the area with a pressure washer.
This should help to wash away any dirt or stains and should work on stone, brick-paved or wooden-deck patios. Take care to check the power of your pressure washer. For wooden decking, use anything up to 130 bars while for stone or brick, use anything up to 140 bars. If you want to improve the appearance of your asphalt paving, you may consider having sealcoating and asphalt services.
Refresh outdoor furniture
Before you think about summer entertaining, you’ll want to check your outdoor furniture is suitable for action. Diligent homeowners will have covered furniture in tarpaulin or have moved them inside from the elements. Even then, you’ll still want to wipe down or brush away and dust, mould or stains.
Make sure to machine wash any outdoor pillow covers or blankets and keep glass sparkling with bespoke glass cleaner or white vinegar.
Metal furniture can be particularly problematic with the risk of oxidisation, however, combat this with a metal polishing paste or a 1:1 mix of white vinegar and water. Avoid using alkaline solutions such as ammonia which can cause further rust.
Finally, for dull or dirty wood furniture, rescue with a DIY mix of ammonia solution, two tablespoons of white vinegar and a litre of warm water.
Check your patio heater
With ‘unprecedented heatwaves’ forecast for across the UK in summer 2023, patio heaters may only be needed for when the evenings start drawing in. However, it’s still good to check yours is in top working order.
Wipe down with a mild soap to make the surfaces shine like new.
If your patio heater is gas-powered, make sure your gas bottles are ready for use. Check any wheels or feet are stable and the patio heater is sturdy. Inspect the hose and rubber seals for any signs of damage – if these are dirty, clean them down so they’re ready to go!
Touch up your decking
A well-maintained decking area can really elicit that “WOW factor” to your guests on arrival. Because decking is prone to the effects of the elements, when wet, it can be notorious for collecting moss which can even lead to a slippery layer of slime. Make sure to banish this by scrubbing, treating, or painting your decking to really give things a lift.
Treat and protect your decking with dedicated decking oil and decking stain. Oils come in natural colours and can really brighten the natural appearance of your wood by soaking deeply into the grain and providing protection from inside-out.
Decking stain, meanwhile, effectively seals the timber and guards against rot and the sun’s UV rays. Make sure to also use waterproof paint that is suitable for outdoor use.
Spring clean your BBQ
One of the highlights of the summer can be flame-cooked favourites around the barbie.
If there’s visible food residue from last summer, fire up the BBQ to top temperature to singe off any stubborn remnants before letting the grill cool completely. Next, brush away any old charcoal briquettes alongside dust and debris.
After soaking any grates, knobs and racks in hot, soapy water, attack the grill with a long-handled wire brush to remove any food particles and bacteria.
If this doesn’t shift the dirt, consider a household cleaner or a homemade solution such as white vinegar or baking soda. This should leave all surfaces sparkling and ready for al fresco action.
Show your lawn some love
A manicured, sun-dappled lawn can really be the centrepiece of a garden well-maintained. Naturally, this may not be in the best shape following winter and may require a little TLC.
Get stuck in by mowing little and often to really keep your lawn healthy and encourage growth. Improve aeration where growth or drainage is poor by pushing a pitchfork into the turf and keep in lush green condition by applying a slow-release fertiliser.
Keep on top of perimeters with edges and shears for that real showstopping look this summer.