At last, spring is here. The days are longer, spring bulbs are emerging, and we’ve even seen some blue skies. But as we get ready to use our outdoor space again, the chances are it might need a little TLC before it’s guest-ready.
So let’s take a look at the best tools to clean patios, block paving and decking, as well as how to spruce up areas of gravel and other aggregate finishes.
These tools we highlight here have been designed especially for targeted cleaning of particular surfaces, for extremely effective cleaning. They’re so effective in fact, that they’ll help you to go chemical-free, making your garden a safer place for children, pets and wildlife.
One of the easier surfaces to make presentable, as a good sweep with a stiff brush will often get rid of all the debris and a good deal of the grime, making a patio presentable again.
Our Miracle Patio Surface Cleaning Brush cleans as it sweeps for a fast spruce-up. It has plenty of galvanized spring steel bristles, interspersed throughout the brush head. These gently clean the surface of the paving, while tough polypropylene bristles gather all loose leaves and debris removed by the wire.
Of course, your patio may be discoloured by black spots. These are a form of lichen which takes hold, the spores of which arrive on your patio as windborne dust-like particles. These thrive especially well on damp surfaces, and it easily takes hold on porous stone such as sandstone. Jet washing can help remove the marks, but this may damage the surface of the stone, and especially the grout between the pavers. A better approach is to use one the specialist products readily available in garden centres to tackle patio black spot – but be careful to select the right one for your stone surface, and also to select one which is biodegradable to avoid any risk to plants, pets, children and wildlife.
Your patio might also have a few weeds coming up in the gap and cracks between the slabs. It’s astonishing how little space they need to get established. A patio weeding knife like the one in our National Trust range can work wonders. With two sharpened blades and a fine hook, it’s a versatile weeding tool, however you want to use it. It's ideal for excavating weeds, moss and other debris from the fine gaps between paving and from any other nooks and crannies.
Commonly used for patios and driveways, the appealing herringbone finish of block paving can be tricky to keep looking smart. Debris collects in the many small joints, giving weeds a toehold and providing a perfect home for moss.
Our Miracle Block Paving Brush has been created specifically to solve this problem. The design consists of three rows of converging, tough wire bristles, for targeted cleaning power. Simply run the bristles along the joins; the strength of the wire is such that any lurking debris is instantly dislodged, ready to be either swept or washed away.
This brush is available as a long-handed version and also as a short-handled version with an attached weeding blade – perfect for tackling smaller areas of paving, such as steps. The attached weeding blade makes it easy to prise out more established weeds, without having to constantly swap between tools.
Decking can be a challenge to keep looking pristine. Those grooves in the wood just seems to attract grime and debris. What’s more, algae can quickly build up on wood, a natural material. Not only does algae make the surface slippery to walk on, but it can accelerate rot, if the wood isn’t properly treated. In a nutshell, keeping decking nice and clean will do wonders for its safety, longevity and aesthetic appeal.
Designed specifically to take the hard work out of cleaning decking, our Miracle Decking Brush is constructed with alternating rows of contoured wire bristles and tough polypropylene bristles. Simply running it along each decking board gives maximum cleaning power, even down to the bottom of the grooves, to leave any decked area looking ship shape in no time.
Used for driveways, around planting in gravel gardens, and for pathways, gravel is fairly low-maintenance, but does benefit from a little TLC from time to time to keep it looking smart. After the rains and winds of winter, spring is a good time to give it a refresh.
You probably have a weed control membrane laid underneath your gravel surface to stop weeds becoming established, but weeds will always find a way! They’ll probably still be able to get established in the tiny gaps between the stone chips. A weeding tool which is used horizontally, such as our Weed Slice, will quickly cut these shallow-rooted weeds down to size. Most beneficially, it won’t damage weed control membrane, as it doesn’t stab down into the ground, but rather skims along just below the surface.
If your gravel or other aggregate needs a bit of a refresh, a ground rake is the prefect tool for levelling it to get an appealing flat finish. Use it with the tines (prongs) uppermost to spread the gravel, then flip it over so the tines are pointing down to rake the surface to a perfect finish.
What to look for in a cleaning brush
It stands to reason that the stiffer a brush's bristles, the greater its cleaning power. The most effective brushes are those with bristles rigid enough to dislodge grime and debris, not simply bend around it. Look for strong bristles which spring back to shape after bending - and the more bristles, the better.
So let’s power through the spring clean and look forward to the welcome return of friends and family to our gardens.