As part of our ‘Winter’s On The Way’ blog series, this blog tells you all about how to care for your patio through the rainy and cold British winter.
Winter is a tough time for any garden, many plants struggle to grow in the tough conditions, the wind can uproot trees and your paths and patios can crack or become mossy. There are a few things you can do to protect a patio over the winter in order to guard it against the elements.
Algae and moss growth:
Algae can grow on your paths and patios all year round, it isn’t usually an issue, but if it gets wet it can be slippery, and the green colouring can make your hard surfaces look old and uncared for. Algae and moss growth happens in shaded areas, normally under the cover of plants. They need damp conditions in order to grow so their growth can be caused by a lack of drainage or high humidity.
If you already have algae or moss on your patio then there are a few relatively simple fixes. Moss can easily be dislodged with a knife, whereas algae can be removed with intense brushing or with a pressure washer. You should be careful if you’re using a pressure washer in an area with poor drainage as the extra water could contribute to damper conditions and therefore, more unwanted growth.
In order to stop growths returning, make sure to prune overhanging plants, this will improve air circulation and ensure the sun can dry out the area.
If you studied science back in school then you might remember ‘onion skin weathering’. This is when water gets underneath something, freezes (increasing in size) and cracks whatever is above it, in this case paving stones. This can affect patios over the winter when the climate is wet and freezing. Unfortunately, theres not a huge amount that can be done to protect against this apart from improving drainage in the area.
If you’re a fan of the organic, green look then you can embrace these cracks and add ground up limestone to the holes. This will encourage greenery to grow within the cracks – this definitely makes the patio more interesting to look at.
Alternatively, if you do not want growth between your patio slabs then you can fill them in with sand, simply brush the sand across your patio until all the holes are filled.
We hope that this quick guide will help you prepare your patio for the winter and will have given you some ideas of what you can do about cracked paving slabs. Keep a look out for the rest of our ‘Winter’s On The Way’ blog series for more winter tips.